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Rutgers men’s lacrosse hot stove report

And an early look at the 2022 slate plus more news on the Scarlet Knights.

COLLEGE LACROSSE: MAR 28 Maryland at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Grab a hot beverage and gather around the stove as we take a look at some notable preseason awards watch lists and a peak at the 2022 schedule .

Current preseason awards watch list

Colin Kirst was named Preseason All-American 3rd Team by USA Lacrosse magazine. The Bernardsville, NJ native and Big Ten 2021 specialist of the year returns to the banks after being granted a Medical Hardship Waiver, allowing him to play one final season at RU.

Any fan who has followed the program, knows the impact net-minder Kirst brings to this unit. Colin racked up multiple awards in 2021, including:

  • 2021 Third Team All-American (USILA)
  • 2021 Honorable Mention All-American (Media)
  • 2021 First Team All-Big Ten
  • 2021 Big Ten Specialist of the Year
  • 2021 Werblin Award
  • 2021 USILA Senior All-Star Game Selection
  • Big Ten Specialist of the week (Feb. 23, April 13)
  • Big Ten Co-Specialist of the week (April 6, April 27)

Kirst finished 2021 13th in the nation in save percentage and there is no reason to think he can’t improve upon that in 2022 as RU pushes for their first conference championship.

Ethan Rall was also named Preseason All-American 3rd Team by USA Lacrosse magazine. The Islip, Long Island native had a big 2021, nabbing multiple awards:

  • Academic All Big Ten selection.
  • 2021 Honorable Mention All-American (USILA)
  • 2021 Second Team All-Big Ten
  • 2021 Werblin Award
  • 2021 Named to the USILA National Team of the Week (March 2)

The long-stick midfielder led the team with 14 forced turnovers and scooped up 26 ground balls, 3rd best on the team. Rall will be a huge part of RU’s high-speed transition offense and integral in helping clear balls.

Captains named

Head coach Brian Brecht has named Ryan Gallagher and Colin Kirst team captains.

Kirst takes on the role of captain for the first time, joining Ryan Gallagher. This is Gallagher’s 2nd straight season receiving the honor. The Atlanta, GA native and midfielder has started every game the last two seasons, racking up some impressive awards in 2021:

  • 2021 Scholar All-American
  • 2021 USILA Senior All-Star Game Selection
  • 2021 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award
  • Three-time Academic All-Big Ten Selection (2019, 2020, 2021)

The 2022 full schedule released

I’ve listed out the schedule below, with final RPIs of RU’s opponents. A return to non-conference play includes a couple of back-to-back challenges against Army and Loyola. RU looks to improve upon it’s 8-3 conference record, 9-4 overall, and notch enough top-tier victories to make the NCAA tourney for the second straight season.

Jan 22nd Monmouth (scrimmage)

Jan 29th UMass ( scrimmage)

Feb 5th LIU

2021: 6-5 record, final RP1 of 53 (RU’s final RPI was 15)

Feb 9th Marist

2021: 3-1, final RPI of 11

I’m not sure how Marist wound up playing just 4 games, yet was 4 placed higher than RU in RPI, one of the great mysteries of ranking systems. With quality wins over Detroit Mercy, Quinnipiac, and Manhattan, Marist poses an early-season test for the Knights.

Feb 12th St. Johns (Queens, NY)

2021: 1-10, final RPI of 57

Feb 19th Army

2021: 7-1, final RPI of 9

The first of a tough two-game stretch. Army had multiple big wins last season, including blowouts over Syracuse, St. Joes, and Loyola.

Feb 26th Loyola (Baltimore, MD)

2021: 10-6, final RPI of 10

Loyola had wins against 5 ranked teams last season, including the rematch game against #11 Army. We should have a sense of the potential of RU after completing this tough 2-game stretch.

Mar 5th Stony Brook (Stony Brook, LI)

2021: 8-6, final RPI of 33

So who is joining me for an RU tailgate out on the Island? The Seawolves have historically played RU tough and had a big win against a ranked Albany team last season.

Match 12th Princeton (Princeton, NJ)

2021: The Ivy League season was postponed so it’s hard to gauge the Tigers but no self-respecting RU fan wants their season derailed in Princeton.

March 15th Lafayette

2021: 0-12, final RPI of 65

March 19th Hofstra (Hempstead, LI)

2021: 8-6, final RPI of 36

B1G Schedule:

March 27th OSU

2021: 4-7, final RPI of 45

RU defeated OSU 22-12 on the road and 10-9 at home.

April 3rd Johns Hopkins

2021: 4-9, final RPI of 40

RU defeated Hopkins handily in two regular season games but dropped a 12-10 decision to them in the 2nd round of the B1G tourney.

April 10th Maryland (College Park, MD)

2021: 15-1 overall, 12-0 in conference play, final RPI of 5

Lost 17-16 to UVA in the championship game.

It goes without saying that if RU wants an automatic bid and doesn’t want to sweat selection Sunday, they need to find a way to finally defeat the reigning conference champions. The B1G championship runs thru College Park, literally, this season.

April 17th UM (Ann Arbor, MI)

2021: 3-9, final RPI of 48

RU blew out the Wolverines at home and escaped Ann Arbor with a one-goal win in the rematch.

April 24th PSU

2021: 3-8, final RPI of 43

RU edged PSU in the home opener last season and blew them out in the rematch in State College.

Early thoughts on the non-conference schedule:

Non-conference lacrosse is always challenging when you are playing rivals in the northeast and the mid-Atlantic. Army and Loyola pose huge challenges but also provide opportunity to build the resume, should RU find themselves on the bubble during selection Sunday.

Stony Brook, Princeton, and Hofstra are no gimmes and provide solid competition and a chance for RU to improve their RPI.

COLLEGE LACROSSE: MAR 28 Maryland at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The B1G schedule:

The championship is in College Park in 2022. Realistically, RU should be competing with Hopkins and MD for a trophy and the automatic bid to the NCAA tourney. That means RU will need to hold serve against PSU, OSU, and UM. Can RU finally top the Terps? Time will tell but hope is high on the banks heading into 2022.