Despite a 13-9 defeat to no. 3 Maryland (6-0) this past Sunday, no. 8 Rutgers is still having a strong season this spring. At 4-2 in Big Ten play, the Scarlet Knights are in second place and the four remaining games are against conference foes they have already beaten. RU outscored league opponent by a combined 29 goals in those four victories and are second in the Big Ten in averaging 15.2 goals per game.
The attacking trio of Adam Charalambides, Connor Kirst and Kieran Mullins has been the driving force for the success RU has had this season. Charalambides has scored 21 goals, which is tied for second in the Big Ten and tied for 14th nationally, as well as 9 assists. His 30 points is third in the Big Ten and 30th nationally. Mullins is second in the Big Ten and 17th nationally with 15 assists. His 28 points is fourth in the Big Ten. Kirst is second on the team with 15 goals and eighth in the Big Ten with 23 points.
Aside from the veteran group up front, it has been a key addition to the midfield that has made a big impact this season as well.
Newcomer Shane Knobloch earned his league best fourth Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors on Tuesday after tying for a team high 2 goals in the loss to Maryland. He also collected one ground ball. Knobloch is third on the team with 14 goals and leads all midfielders on the roster. He has five multi-goal games and is tied with David Sprock (10 goals, 6 assists) for fourth in points with 16.
Knobloch is the front runner for Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Inside Lacrosse ranked him the no. 4 freshman in the national last week. The balance of a veteran core being complimented with a top newcomer behind them has been a key difference for RU this season.
Goalie Connor Kirst leads the Big Ten with a 12.2 saves per game average and is third with a .510 save percentage.
Rutgers will face no. 16 Ohio State (3-3) this Saturday, April 3 at SHI Stadium at 5 p.m. ET. The Scarlet Knights stunned the then no. 6 Buckeyes 22-12 on February 27. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network and limited tickets can be purchased here.