August 17, 2019 | 80° F

New player, coach follow path to RU

Freshman midfielder Brian Goss has emerged in his rookie season as the perfect support for senior midfielders Mike Diehl and Will Mangan.

But only a couple of years ago, the thought of wearing the scarlet and white jerseys of the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team was not on Goss’ mind at all. He was all set to bring his talents to Siena College in New York.

All of that changed when former Scarlet Knights head coach Jim Stagnitta resigned last year after 10 seasons with the program. His replacement, Brian Brecht, was the man who recruited Goss at Siena.

It was during the recruiting process that Brecht and Goss established a rapport that eventually led to Goss’ decision to come to the Banks.

“I got to know Brian over two years ago when I recruited him when I was at Siena College,” Brecht said. “Although it is hard to step away from a relationship with a recruit and move on, I was trying to tackle a head duty.”

When Brecht took the job at Rutgers, he was well aware of the effect it would have on the recruiting class he worked to build at Siena. Still, he would not ask anyone to join him to Piscataway — that was a choice they would have to make for themselves.

“I knew some guys might entertain the option of following me and coming to Rutgers,” Brecht said. “The one thing I did not want to do was make that decision for them. I wanted them to make that decision themselves.”

Goss, upon hearing of Brecht’s departure, was the first player to jump on board to Rutgers with the former Siena head coach. His parents required a brief conference, but Goss had already made the decision to follow suit with the coach that recruited him.

“I made the decision because Rutgers it’s such a good school — it’s bigger and it has better academics,” Goss said. “I really liked the way that Coach Brecht recruited me. We established a good relationship right away.”

Goss’ decision to work with Brecht turned out to be beneficial for the first-year head coach in the early portion of the Knights’ season. The Arlington Heights, Ill., native has started every game of the season in the midfield, already notching 13 points on seven goals and six assists.

Watching his recruit in his rookie season, Brecht likens Goss an important puzzle piece in building the program moving forward.

“He is a talented player and as starter for us in the midfield,” Brecht said “He is someone that will continue with us and that we can build a program around over the next four years.”

Playing as a unit with co-captains Diehl and Mangan is one of the biggest benefits Goss enjoys at Rutgers.

The two seniors are two of the Knights’ most consistent offensive sparks.

Along with the rookie Goss, the duo has been one of the most solid units of the Rutgers offense this season, Brecht said.

“[Diehl and Mangan] have been able to protect him a little bit and maybe draw some attention away from him,” Brecht said. “That group has been very good and very strong, and has complimented each other very well this year.”

By Vinnie Mancuso

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