The no. 5 Rutgers men’s lacrosse team put on another offensive showcase on Saturday in a 22-12 victory over Michigan at home. It tied a season high in goals, matching last week’s total in the win over then no. 6 Ohio State, which was the highest scoring total for the program since 2010. To do that in back to back weeks after a decade plus since last accomplishing the feat is impressive. The Scarlet Knights improved to 3-0 on the season.
With RU leading 6-5, they finished the first half on a 6-2 run and head to the locker room with a five goal advantage. In the third period, Rutgers opened play with a 7-1 run to hold a commanding 19-8 lead to put the game away.
Six different Rutgers players scored multiple goals for led by Adam Charalambides, who scored 4 goals and had 5 assists. Connor Kirst had 4 goals and an assist, while Kieran Mullins scored twice and had 5 assists. Shane Knobloch and David Sprock (1 assist) each had hat tricks, while Ryan Gallagher added 2 goals.
“Our offense continues to really play well together,” said Rutgers men’s lacrosse head coach Brian Brecht. “Whether it’s transition, six-on-six, zone, they are very mature and they capitalized on the opportunities that they had today.”
Despite the lopsided final score, Michigan actually outshot Rutgers 44-43. However, the defensive play was outstanding. Goalkeeper Colin Kirst made 19 saves, the defense forced 17 turnovers and held Michigan’s top two scorers to one goal apiece. In addition to Kirst in net, Brecht highlighted the play of defenseman Jaryd Jean-Felix for leading the defensive effort after the game.
“I thought our [defense] played great, really all the credit goes to them,” said Colin Kirst. “I thought coach [Jimmy] Ryan had a great game plan in place this week and our [defense] was dedicated to it. I thought it was an all-around great effort and great defensive opportunity for us.”
It wasn’t a perfect performance as Rutgers only won 13 of 36 faceoffs and were just 1 of 3 in extra man opportunities. If the Scarlet Knights want to win the Big Ten title, they need to continue to improve on faceoffs. They’ll have a chance to move one step closer to doing just that if they can beat no. 4 Maryland on the road on Saturday, March 13.
“You don’t need to have losses to learn lessons,” said Brecht. “So hopefully this is a great opportunity for us to learn some lessons from the game and then obviously button things up. We have to go on the road against a very talented Maryland team this coming week.”
Even so, Rutgers is off to a fantastic start this season and have a great opportunity to prove how good they really are against the Terps next weekend.