The Rutgers men’s lacrosse team picked up a nice bounce back win over Michigan in the Big House, dominating the action in a 14-7 victory over the weekend. After starting the season winning their first nine games, Rutgers climbed to the #1 ranking in the country. The Scarlet Knights early season success was predicated on a balanced offense and stifling defense. Unfortunately, they hit a two game bump in the road after being stunned at Delaware and losing to ranked B1G foe Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
As the calendar turned to April, the Rutgers offense returned in a big way against Michigan, led by super freshman Kieran Mullins. He scored eight goals in the game, four in each half. It was a career high for Mullins and the most scored by a Rutgers player this season. It was the ninth time in program history that a player scored eight goals in a game. Mullins impressively outscored the entire Michigan team in the game.
The performance earned Mullins two conference weekly honors, both offensive player and freshman of the week! He leads the Big Ten this season with 47 points with 32 goals and 15 assists. Mullins leads Rutgers in goals scored and is second in assists.
Also honored for their performance in the Michigan game is junior Joe Francisco, who won 19 of 22 faceoffs and gathered nine ground balls.
Other notable performances versus Michigan were a hat trick by senior Conor Murphy, as well as one goal and five assists from junior Jules Heningburg. On the season, Murphy is second on the team behind Mullins with 19 goals, while Heningburg leads the team with 20 assists and is second behind Mullins with 37 points.
With the win, Rutgers (9-2) moved up to #11 in both the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll and Coaches Poll. In the RPI rankings, Rutgers is currently 10th in the country. The road gets much harder, as they prepare to take on three top ten B1G foes in their final regular season contests. This Sunday, Rutgers hosts #3 Maryland (7-2) at 7 p.m. at High Point Solutions Stadium. The game will be aired live on BTN.
The following Sunday, Rutgers travels to Happy Valley to take on #7 Penn State (10-1) in a game that will also be aired on BTN. They will then return home for their last regular season contest, a Saturday afternoon affair against #9 Ohio State (10-2). The conference is simply loaded this season.
The Big Ten Tournament takes place the first weekend of May in Columbus, Ohio. Hopefully the Scarlet Knights can build some momentum ahead of postseason play. They can start by making a huge statement this weekend versus #3 Maryland.