Following a dominant performance in Rutgers’ 11-8 victory over Penn State on Sunday night, senior Michael Rexrode was named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday afternoon. It was the second time he received the honor in the past three weeks, as the two time captain continues to prove how valuable he is to the program.
Rexrode shut down Penn State’s then points leader Nick Spillane in the win, holding him scoreless with just two shots on goal, zero assists, and one turnover. It was another dominant performance that has become the trademark of Rexrode’s Rutgers career.
Another highlight this season was his recent addition to the Tewaaraton Trophy watch list, which is given out to the most outstanding men’s and women’s lacrosse player in the country.
Rexrode last season was named a third team All-American by Inside Lacrosse and the same publication named him a preseason first team All-American selection this year. He has been the anchor to the Rutgers defense throughout his career, but has also excelled in the classroom as well.
Civil engineering major and two-time @RUmlax captain Michael Rexrode is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and an All-American after leading #B1GLax in caused turnovers last season. pic.twitter.com/NXfuxugdwl— B1GLacrosse (@B1GLacrosse) April 6, 2018
Last week, three Rutgers players were selected in the Major League Lacrosse Draft. Fellow senior and points leader Jules Heningburg was a first round pick of the Florida Launch. Soon after, Rexrode was also selected by the Launch in the second round and 16th overall.
The organization is getting the best offensive and defensive player from the Rutgers program. A third player, Christian Mazzone, was selected in the third round by the Ohio Machine. Rutgers was one of four college programs to have three players selected overall, which was the most in school history.
Three #RUMLax players were selected in the Major League Lacrosse Draft!— Rutgers Men's LAX (@RUmlax) April 19, 2018
Jules Heningburg (First Round, @Florida_Launch)
Michael Rexrode (Second Round, @Florida_Launch)
Christian Mazzone (Third Round, @MachineMLL)
More: https://t.co/JgfAPQWgtQ #MLL #B1GLax pic.twitter.com/7q8RUxHlQl
All three players have had great careers and hope to end their time with the program on a high note by producing a memorable postseason. Rutgers travels to Ohio State this Saturday at 4 p.m. in the regular season finale. The game will be aired live on BTN and the Scarlet Knights need to win to clinch a berth into the Big Ten Tournament in the first week of May. They’ll likely need to win at least the semifinal round to ultimately advance to NCAA Tournament.
9th ranked Rutgers (9-4; 2-2) has fallen short the previous two seasons and are looking to advance to the NCAA’s for the first time since 2004. Despite having wins over four ranked teams this season, Rutgers should be considered on the bubble yet again, as the current RPI rankings have them sitting at 12th. However, Rutgers and its strong senior class can control their own destiny if they can just keep winning. As important as it is to score goals, Michael Rexrode has been instrumental to the program’s success and his leadership in the back of the defense will be a key to Rutgers’ chances to finally break through to the NCAA Tournament this season.