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Rutgers men’s lacrosse earns No. 6 Seed in NCAA Tournament, hosts Harvard in First Round

Rutgers looks to advance for a second straight season.

Rutgers Lacrosse Vs. Johns Hopkins | Shi Stadium Piscataway, NJ April 03, 2022
Rutgers Athletics

This article updated May 09th.

Game time announced:

Sunday, May 15th, 5:00 PM Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ

Streaming / TV: Nationally televised on ESPNU

Rutgers men’s lacrosse (13-3) earned its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and earned the No. 6 seed. They’ll host Harvard (8-4) this coming weekend at the friendly confines of Yurcak field since Shi Stadium will be hosting graduation ceremonies.

No. 6 seed Rutgers vs. Harvard

Rutgers’s resume is a strong one. While the Knights do not have a top 5 win, their three top 6-20 wins and 0 bad losses (nobody outside the top 20) safely puts them in the field of 16 without any merited gripes from bubble teams. By earning one of the top eight seeds, Rutgers gets to host a first round game, unlike last season in which they had to travel to Lehigh for the opening round.

Key Resume Stats (from Insidelacrosse.com):

RPI: 5


Top 5 Wins: 0


Top 6-20 Wins: 3


Non Top-20 Losses: 0

A look at the bracket

The Ivy, after sitting out 2021, is back and better than ever - landing six teams in the 18-team bracket. The Big Ten lands three (Maryland, Rutgers and Ohio State).

The snub appears to be Notre Dame, whom the studio crew on the ESPNU selection show suggest are the fourth best team in the country. Notre Dame and Duke are the only top-12 RPI teams that did not make the tournament. It should be noted Ohio State was battling Notre Dame for a final tourney spot and the Buckeyes beat the Irish in a head-to-head matchup earlier in the season.

Automatic Qualifiers (10 Total)

  • America East: Vermont (Play-in game)
  • ASUN: Robert Morris
  • Big East: Georgetown (No. 2 seed)
  • Big Ten: Maryland (No. 1 seed)
  • CAA: Delaware
  • Ivy: Penn (No. 3 seed)
  • MAAC: Manhattan (Play-in game)
  • NEC: Saint Joseph’s
  • Patriot: Boston U
  • SoCon: Richmond

At Large Bids:

ACC: Virginia

Big Ten: Rutgers (No. 6 seed), Ohio State

Ivy: Brown (No. 8 seed), Cornell (No. 7 seed), Harvard, Princeton (No. 5 seed), Yale (No. 4 seed)

Big Ten Championship Game Recap

No. 4 Rutgers squared off against No. 1 Maryland in the Big Ten championship game on a damp, cold night that felt more like February than May. Unfortunately, the Knights’s offense went ice-cold while the Terrapins continued their torrid red-hot pace and cruised to a 17-7 victory.

After a competitive first six minutes where each team traded two goals apiece, the Terrapins would score the next six goals to put the match out of reach 8-2 and cruise to a 17-7 victory. The Knights drop to 13-3 while the Terrapins improve to a perfect 14-0.

Maryland dominated face-offs 21-7, winning a whopping 75%. The Terrapins also dominated shots on goal, 29-18, and ground balls, 42-26. Coach Brecht has preached winning at least 50% of face-offs and against No. 1 Maryland, you can’t expect to remain in the game winning only 25%. Like the first matchup, I’m not surprised Rutgers lost but I am surprised at the lack of competitiveness. The coaching staff has figured out the rest of the Big Ten but will need to solve Maryland to truly take the next step.

One bright spot was the play of sensational long-stick midfielder Ethan Rall. Enjoy this coast-to-coast beauty when Maryland was still pressing.

Next Up:

Rutgers hosts Harvard, Sunday, May 15th, 5:00 PM Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ

Streaming / TV: Nationally televised on ESPNU

With six Ivys making the field, the odds were high that Rutgers would be matching up against one of them in the first round. I’m actually elated with this matchup as I enjoy games vs. the Ivy League and was hoping to avoid an ACC team with a chip on their shoulders.

Harvard owns quality wins this season over Brown, Boston University, and Princeton. Rutgers and Harvard have three common opponents: Michigan, Ohio State, and Princeton, with each team going 2-1:

Vs. UM (RU win / Harvard win)

Vs. OSU (RU win / Harvard loss)

Vs. Princeton (RU loss / Harvard win)

Both teams performed poorly at the face-off circle in 2022:

Harvard FO% .405 (135-198)

Rutgers FO% .468 (222-252)

Harvard finished the season 8-4 and 3-3 in the Ivy League. Rutgers is 14-4 in the all-time series against the Crimson. The teams have not met since 1983.

Quotable

“This is what the guys strive for throughout their career, to be able to participate in the NCAA Tournament,” head coach Brian Brecht said. “This year what we accomplished, with a program record for wins, allowed us to be seeded and have a program. Another step forward for our program, for our guys to be able to play in the NCAA Tournament for two straight seasons and now host a home game, I’m very proud of them and excited for this opportunity.”

Coach Brian Brecht

A Little History about Yurcak Field

Yurcak Field is a soccer-specific facility for the Rutgers men’s and women’s programs. Sitting in the shadows of Shi Stadium, the facility has a capacity of 5,000 fans. Fully acknowledged as The Soccer Stadium at Yurcak Field, it is named in honor of Ronald N. Yurcak, a 1965 All-American Rutgers Lacrosse player. The stadium opened in 1994.

In March 2019, Yurcak Field underwent a surface renovation, as the pitch was replaced with Kentucky Bluegrass, cut at 7/8 inch and placed on a sand base surface. The grass was provided by Tuckahoe Turf Farm in New Jersey.

The lacrosse programs played at Yurcak Field from 1999 through 2013, at which time they moved to High Point (now Shi) Stadium.

Courtesy of Rutgers University

I personally am elated that the match will be at Yurcak as it allows for an exciting atmosphere that plays well on TV. If mother nature is generous and provides some warm, dry weather, the stands should be packed with a boisterous crowd that is close to the field.