Rutgers had beaten them earlier in the season. Beaten them pretty soundly. At home. But this was the conference tournament, on the Blue Jays' home field, and Johns Hopkins was still ranked ahead of Rutgers.
In a stunning victory, No. 18 Rutgers topped No. 10 JHU in the semifinals of the Big Ten Men's Lacrosse Tournament, setting up a championship mach against top-seeded and No. 1 Maryland on Saturday night.
Pushing its record to 11-4, the team tied the record for most wins in a season, a record that goes back to 1986. Rutgers, who entered the season with only four lifetime wins over JHU and none since 1990, beat them twice in a season for the first time ever.
In an amazing performance on a big stage, ten of Rutgers' 14 goals were scored by freshmen. Continuing his outstanding rookie campaign, Big Ten Freshman of the Year Adam Charalambides hit the back of the net five times. Redshirt freshman Casey Rose scored his first ever hat trick and freshman Zackary Franckowiak recorded his first career multi-goal game with two tallies.
A lot of people got into this game, including some folks at ESPN.
"I'm proud of the guys in the locker room tonight," head coach Brian Brecht said. "We had a great year of preparation to be able to play in these games at the end of the year. They've earned it. I'm excited to keep this group together and get ready for another game here Saturday."
Kris Alleyne made 14 saves, including eight in the second half. The key, though, was after Hopkins tied the game at 12 just 33 seconds into the fourth quarter, Alleyne and the defense shut the door. It allowed the RU offense to go to work with Charalambides scoring the game winner at the 8:48 mark.
It sets up the final game against Maryland (13-2). UMd got to the finals topping Penn State 16-9 in the other semifinal game. Maryland was led by Connor Kelly (4 goals) and Matt Rambo (3 goals). The Terps outshot the Nitts 36-32 in the contest.
There are lots of things making this final significant for Rutgers. First, a win gives the squad the school record for wins in a season. Second, it gives Rutgers its first Big Ten title in any sport. Third, it eliminates the worry over an at-large bid to the NCAA Lacrosse Tournament, although there are some who think we still get in.
@1987Sucks Hahahahaha. There's a chance but I think Rutgers gets the nod. Playing a 2nd MD game & 2 Ws vs Hop will carry them over.— College Crosse (@SexyTimeLax) May 6, 2016
Men's Lacrosse vs. Maryland
And don't forget the ladies.....
There's another RU squad with a date against Maryland.
The women have topped a ranked OSU twice in overtime to get to the B1G semifinals. They dropped an 18-3 decision to the No. 1 Terps at home on April 9.