Senior ends home slate with productive outing
Senior attackman Kevin Hover’s final season had been a quiet one before his final time putting on the white home jersey for the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team.
Hover tallied only five goals in 13 games — a slow year, considering one year ago as a junior, he finished third on the team with 15 goals.
But against Michigan last Saturday, Hover recorded his first hat trick of the season to make his final home game at Yurcak Field one to remember.
“We were all really ready to go to start the last game at Yurcak, and it was the last night putting on those jerseys,” Hover said. “We always want to go out and do everything we possibly can to win, no matter if it is going to be an exciting game — which it was. We wanted to put out a good one for the fans and everyone that came out.”
True to his word, he put on a show for the fans. Not only were Hover’s three goals impressive, but they were also pivotal in the Scarlet Knights’ 13-9 victory against the Wolverines.
In the second half of the contest, Michigan went on a roll, surpassing the Knights for the first and only time. Hover’s first goal early in the third frame evened the game back up, and his second returned the lead to the Knights.
His third occurred in a series of back-and-forth action that secured Rutgers’ lead.
“The hat trick was kind of because of the play of the game. They were leaving us pretty open on the attack side,” Hover said. “The first goal was just momentum. They got on kind of a roll in the second, and we wanted to come out with some fire.”
For Hover, the Michigan game was indicative of his senior season. In a year filled with adversity that saw the Knights not make the Big East Tournament, Rutgers still wants to finish the end of its schedule strong.
The Michigan game was a prime example of that attitude, Hover said.
“This season has had some ups and downs. Some things haven’t really gone our way. But we had those kids who are working day in and day out, and no one really quit,” he said. “You could see after we were down after the half [against Michigan], we kept grinding it out and we kept our foot down.”
The season has been one of ups and downs for Hover, as well, he said. His determination to leave his mark on the Banks has led to his increased productivity as the year comes to a close.
“I’ve definitely had games that had been great and some that have not been up to what I like,” Hover said. “It is the last year and you want to leave your mark, and these last few games going out have definitely been better for me.”
The attackman cites his teammates — especially the younger ones — as inspiration for carrying on in a year that saw more than enough reasons to become discouraged.
“It is also based on all the people around me working so hard — you can’t really stop,” Hover said. “Everyone relies on you as a senior to keep on going.”