No. 9 Rutgers men’s lacrosse delivered a second statement victory in as many weeks with a dominating 22-12 defeat of no. 6 Ohio State on the road on Saturday. It was a record breaking performance as the Scarlet Knights scored the most goals the program ever has in a Big Ten game and produced back to back wins over top ten teams for the first time ever.
After the game was tied 3-3 in the first quarter, Rutgers went on a 6-0 run to take a commanding lead that they would never relent the rest of the day. The closest the Buckeyes ever got was heading to halftime trailing by four goals with the Scarlet Knights leading 11-7. Out of the break, RU put its foot on the gas even more with an 8-1 run to extend the lead over OSU to 19-8 early in the fourth quarter. It was a 12 goal margin late in the game before Ohio State scored the last two goals before the final whistle blew.
“Our guys have been very focused, there has been great energy,” said head coach Brian Brecht. “They do the work in the week and that makes Saturdays pretty fun, even on the road against ranked teams. I was very happy with our offense. That’s a very seasoned attack group out there. Half the goals were assisted, there was good flow. The defense did a great job, starting in goal, the close defense. Our rope unit has matured, they were really good in this game. The energy has really been raised with the additions of some transfers, our senior class is really a great group from top to bottom that has done a great job and helped us.”
It was a historic offensive performance as the 22 goals that Rutgers scored was the most ever in a Big Ten game and against a ranked foe in program history. It was the most scored since RU beat Wagner 24-4 in 2010. The fact that it came against Ohio State makes it even more impressive after they were the top scoring defense in the Big Ten last season and only allowed 8 games in a win over Johns Hopkins.
The Scarlet Knights outshot Ohio State 58-31, including 33-23 in shots on goal, held a 38-28 advantage in ground balls, had a +6 turnover margin and held a 20-18 edge in faceoffs.
There were many standout performances in the victory. Adam Charalambides scored 5 goals and had 1 assist, while Connor Kirst and Shane Knobloch each had 4 goals. David Sprock had 3 goals and 2 assists, while Kieran Mullins had 2 goals and 4 assists.
“The vibe around the team has been, we can keep getting better,” said Adam Charalambides. “That energy is contagious. There is a lot of character and leadership with this group. Everyone is playing for one another. The work we put in during the week helps us click on Saturdays.”
Jonathan Dugenio has been the unsung hero of the team through two games due to his ability to win faceoffs. He won 17 on Saturday while also scoring twice and picking up 5 ground balls.
“It feels great. In practice our guys have been really bought in,” said Dugenio. “Every guy does their job, and when you do that, you can piece together something really special. The energy is there day in and day out. Everyone knows our goals, is really bought in, and that is infectious. I have to give credit to our whole faceoff unit for all the work they put in as well.”
Defensively, goalkeeper Colin Kirst made 10 saves, while Ethan Rall had six ground balls and four caused turnovers, Bobby Russo had four ground balls and two caused turnovers and Jaryd Jean-Felix had two ground balls and two caused turnovers.
Rutgers holds a 10-3 lead over Ohio State in the all-time series. They have now beaten the Buckeyes four times as Big Ten foes, who were ranked in the top ten nationally for each meeting.
The Scarlet Knights (2-0) host Michigan (0-2) at noon on Saturday, March 6.