The roster transition for Rutgers men’s lacrosse continues to be focused on the transfer portal. After having the program’s most successful season in 31 years in large part due to major contributions from a 16 member senior class, head coach Brian Brecht is adding several experienced players to the roster for next season.
Last week, we covered three transfers joining the program led by Penn’s Mitch Bartolo. The experienced midfielder and former captain of the Quakers was one of the most sought after transfers on the market. In addition, In addition, a pair of Division III All-Americans in Wesleyan star Ronan Jacoby and Salisbury’s Brad Apgar will play their final seasons on the banks as well.
This week, Rutgers has reportedly added three more transfers that can make a big impact for the team next season.
Lacrosse Bucket’s Tanner Demling reported that Providence goalie Toby Burgdorf is joining the program. The Second Team All-Big East netminder averaged 12.54 saves per game with a .509 save percentage and 12.36 goals against average last season. He made 15 or more saves in five games including a season high 20 saves against Georgetown, which made the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals. The Westfield, New Jersey native will play his final season in his home state and brings two years of starting experience with him. Whether he ultimately starts remains to be seen, but adding a player of his caliber to the mix is a big positive after the program looks to replace All-American Colin Kirst for next season.
Also this week it was reported that Sam Stephan was transferring from Mount St. Mary’s to Rutgers. The Millstone, New Jersey native won 56.3% of face off attempts and led his team with 63 ground balls last season. He has won at least 52% of face off attempts in all four seasons of his college career.
Stephan will compete with Jonathan Dugenio for playing time next season after the St. John’s transfer was the primary face off man this past spring. The Scarlet Knights struggled with face offs last season, but to Dugenio’s credit he played really well in the NCAA Tournament. He went head to head against the nation’s best in Mike Sisselberger and won two late face offs which led to assisting on two goals from Connor Kirst in a seven second span to clinch the victory over Lehigh. Dugenio also won 15 of 27 face offs in the Quarterfinals against no. 1 North Carolina. The competition between Dugenio and Stephan next season will be fun to watch. Expect both players to have opportunities to make an impact.
Additionally, it was reported by Kyle Devitte of New England Lacrosse Journal on Thursday night that North Carolina attackman Brian Cameron is now the sixth transfer to join Rutgers this offseason. He was seventh on UNC with 16 goals behind 7 starts las the Tarheels ended RU’s season en route to the program’s 14th Final Four appearance. Cameron is graduating from Carolina but has two years of eligibility remaining. This is an intriguing addition to the front line for the Scarlet Knights.
For Rutgers to maintain the level of success that they had this past season, improving the talent level and depth of the roster is the key. Credit Brecht for being so active in adding experienced players that have the potential to be big factors next season. Improving the competition among their respective position groups will go a long way towards pushing Rutgers forward as they attempt to make the NCAA Tournament in back to back seasons for the first time since 2003 and 2004.