Frontline players re-emerge
With the arrival of head coach Brian Brecht to the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team came a new approach to how the Scarlet Knights run their offense.
For this season, the Knights offense primarily depends on the play of their midfielders. And to their credit, the midfield has responded.
Time and time again, senior starters Mike Diehl and Will Mangan, along with freshman support Brian Goss, have been the backbone of Rutgers’ offense.
But anyone who saw the Knights play last season under former head coach Jim Stagnitta knows there is a marked change from the attack-driven offense.
In the Knights’ last game — a win on the road against Big East opponent Providence — the Rutgers attack finally stepped to the forefront and surpassed its midfield, contributing six of the Knights’ eight goals.
“I have always said our midfield has been dominant and has been a force for us and has kept us in the games we have been in close,” Brecht said. “I thought this was the first time that our attack really complemented our midfield play on the offensive end.”
Sophomore attackman Scott Klimchak, who consistently led the Knights in scoring in his rookie campaign, has adapted to the attack’s supporting role. The Clark, N.J., native planned to step up when the opportunity presented itself.
He did so against Providence, notching a team-leading four goals, including the game-winner in overtime.
“[The attack is] taking whatever they give us,” Klimchak said. “The in-crowd was opening up [at Providence], so Mangan was able to find me. [Junior attackman] Duncan Clancy was able to find me. It all depends on how the other team is playing us.”
Before the Providence matchup, the attack consisted of a banged-up group. The preseason was not kind to Klimchak or Clancy, who traded the top scoring spot with Klimchak throughout last season.
“Duncan was injured. I was injured for a little bit,” Klimchak said. “We have been playing through a little bit of adversity, but now we seem to be clicking real well and we’re working real well with the midfielders. We are starting to put it together.”
The future is uncertain for Klimchak and the attack group. What they know for sure is the offense will continue to focus around the midfield.
But with a fully functioning attack finally in sync with the midfield, the Knights offense has entered a new phase, Klimchak said.
“Now it is going to be a little different because the attack seems to be playing really well together. Other teams will be scouting us differently,” Klimchak said. “Who knows what is going to happen these next games? But I think we are starting to put it all together now.”