Led by redshirt sophomore forward’s Ryan Wittenbrink’s two goals, No. 9 IU defeated Rutgers 3-0 Friday afternoon in Piscataway, New Jersey. It is the Hoosiers’ third consecutive victory after dropping one to Northwestern.
After tallying Monday’s game-winning goal in the 88th minute, the Hoosiers left no room for doubt.
IU struck first in the sixth minute when sophomore forward Victor Bezerra ripped a top-right rocket into the net past Scarlet Knight’s goalkeeper Oren Asher. In his first start this season, freshman forward Nate Ward set Bezerra up right outside the box after Rutgers had trouble clearing the ball.
The score was Bezerra’s sixth this year,leading the Big Ten in goals.
With the early advantage, IU continued to put the pressure on Rutgers in the first half. In the 18th minute, Bezerra and Ward worked a two-man attack again. This time, Bezerra set up the freshman for a distanced shot that just sailed over the top of the crossbar and out.
Then in the 43rd minute, redshirt sophomore defender Daniel Munie snuck through on the attack and threatened the Scarlet Knight defense. Although no shot was registered, IU provided pressure and showed another aspect of its diverse attack.
Rutgers attempted four shots in the first half – one more than IU’s three – but none came easy. Most were either weak distanced shots or attempted crosses intercepted by last week’s Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week sophomore goalkeeper Roman Celentano.
In the 63rd minute, Wittenbrink fired a bullet past Asher’s outstretched left hand to give IU the 2-0 advantage. It was the first career goal for the Libertyville, Illinois, native.
Wittenbrink wasn’t done yet. Assisted by a smooth touch pass by Ward, Wittenbrink buried his second goal of the day in the 80th minute to put the game away.
The Hoosiers improve to 5-1-0 on the season and are in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with 15 points. They have scored three goals in four out of their six contests.
IU’s next match is 7 p.m. Tuesday against Northwestern in Bloomington.