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Spring Lacrosse Check-In

The men and women enter the preseason nationally ranked and with lofty goals

Rutgers men’s lacrosse at spring practice | January 20th, 2023 Piscataway, NJ
Rutgers Athletics

Both the men’s and women’s squads enter the 2023 preseason with high expectations, the Men ranked No. 10 and the Women No. 7 nationally by USA Lacrosse Magazine.

Head coach Brian Brecht’s men’s squad appeared in their first Final Four in the program’s history this past May, losing to Cornell, after completing a stellar 15-4 regular season, 7-0 at home, and going 4-1 in the Big Ten Conference with the only loss coming at the hands of the undefeated eventual national champion Maryland Terrapins.

Head coach Melissa Lehman’s women’s squad was ranked No. 7 by USA Lacrosse Magazine, the highest preseason ranking in program history. They join No. 2 Maryland and No. 5 Northwestern as the three Big Ten teams in the top ten preseason rankings heading into the 2023 campaign. The Knights compiled a program-best 16-5 record, 4-2 in conference, advancing to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament before bowing out to Stony Brook.

All-Americans Aplenty

Each Squad enters the season with three preseason All-Americans.

For the women, Senior Cassidy Spilis was named First Team All-American by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association (IWLCA). The Big Ten 2022 Midfielder of the year and Tabernacle native scored 69 goals, scooped 46 ground balls, and forced 22 turnovers in 21 games last season.

Senior Meghan Ball was named a Second Team All-American by the IWLCA. A defensive stalwart, the Raritan native led the team in draw controls (114), ground balls (64) and caused turnovers (54) last season. Her 2.57 caused turnovers per game led the Big Ten and was sixth nationally. Ball caused multiple turnovers in 15 games and three or more turnovers 10 times.

An honorable mention All-American, senior Ashley Campo started all 21 games last season and finished with 37 points on 20 goals and 17 assists while also adding 36 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers. Campo, who resides from Haddonfield, had 12 multi-point games, including five matches with multiple goals. (player stats courtesy Rutgers Athletics).

On the Men’s side, Ethan Rall was named First Team, Shane Knobloch Second Team, and Ross Scott Third Team All-American.

A long-stick midfielder that has been instrumental in helping Rutgers run a fast transition “Nascar” offense, Rall enters year five on the banks this season. He was selected as a First Team All-American last season by USA Lacrosse Magazine, Scholar All-American and First Team All-Big Ten. The Islip, Long Island native led the Big Ten with a program record 31 caused turnovers in 2022. Off the field, he is a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. Rall was ranked No. 39 on Inside Lacrosse’s Top 50 Preseason Players list.

Knobloch excelled as a sophomore in 2022, following up his Big Ten Freshman of the Year campaign with a career best 32 goals, 17 assists, and 48 points. The Moorestown native also scooped 22 ground balls and forced six turnovers. Knobloch helped lead Team USA to a gold medal this summer at the 2022 World Lacrosse Men’s U-21 World Championship over Ross Scott’s Team Canada squad.

Scott, the fourth-year senior from West Linn, Ore. scored 50 Goals in 2022, tied for most in a single-season in RU program history with Tom Sweeney (1978), and added 25 assists for 75 points total, the second most in a single-season in RU program history. Scott scored eight goals in the 2022 NCAA Tournament win over Harvard, the second most goals in a single NCAA Tournament game in history and was recently ranked No. 15 on Inside Lacrosse’s Top 50 Preseason Players list (player stats courtesy Rutgers Athletics).

Men’s Key Additions

Men’s coach Brian Brecht continues to work the transfer portal, welcoming 9 transfers in addition to 11 freshmen. The transfers included 5th-year senior keeper Kyle Mullin, who spent his prior four years at Harvard in the rugged, ultra-competitive Ivy League conference. The Westchester, PA native looks to start immediately and help ease the departure of Colin Kirst. Mullin was named one of Inside Lacrosse’s top transfers to watch this season.

Another key incoming Ivy League transfer is face-off specialist Joe Neuman, who spent his prior three years at Yale and played in the 2019 national championship game. Neuman won 62% of face-offs in 2022 and looks to provide competition to a unit that performed very poorly in the back half of the 2022 season.

Women’s Key Returning Players

Melissa Lehman’s squad welcomes back 5th year seniors Marin Hartshorn and Caroline Perry.

Allentown, NJ native Hartshorn has started 61 games at attack, tallying 152 points on 87 goals and 65 assists. She was named a 2022 Inside Lacrosse Women’s All-American and is also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection (2020-22)

Watching Rutgers women’s lacrosse grow since I was freshman has been such a surreal experience. I feel so close to this program and could not pass up the opportunity to add a fifth year to my career (courtesy Rutgers Athletics).

Marin Hartshorn, Attack

Perry enters her fifth season having made 28 starts in 34 career games at both midfield and defense. She earned the squad’s 2022 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and was also named an Academic All-Big Ten selection in both 2021 and 2022 (courtesy Rutgers Athletics).

Early Season Outlook: Men

It’s Maryland as the clear favorite once again in the Big Ten conference and then everyone else. Both Johns Hopkins and Rutgers look to close the gap in conference between the second-tier teams and the dominant Terrapins. Ohio State and Penn State should continue to improve while Michigan looks to make strides after a disappointing 2022.

The Scarlet Knights’s goal is clear: A 3rd consecutive trip to the NCCA tournament. That means taking care of business against out of conference opponents and every conference foe not named Maryland. The men kick off 2023 February 4th at home versus Marist.

Early Season Outlook: Women

The women begin play February 12th on the road at Jacksonville. Ranked as high as No. 7 this preseason, the women look to validate that ranking with another strong campaign in 2023 and, like the men, make a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Preseason No. 2 Maryland and perennial powerhouse, No. 5 Northwestern, both visit the banks this season. Rutgers will have a prime opportunity to win statement games at home and challenge for the conference championship.

It should be an exciting spring ahead for lacrosse and all spring athletics on the banks.