Knights aim to limit mistakes at Seawolves
Drenched in sweat following a team workout inside the Hale Center, senior defender Andrew Parrilla reported to the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team’s coaching lounge to look over film from its last game.
Aside from the lack of communication and missed defensive rotations brought to Parrilla’s attention by assistant coach Craig McDonald during the session, one glaring statistic stood out among the rest.
The Scarlet Knights (2-1) had seven failed clearances against No. 4 Virginia last Saturday — one of the many mistakes head coach Brian Brecht believed to be costly.
“We were 15-of-22 clearing the ball. So seven times we had possession off of a save or off a groundball that we came up with in the defensive end, and seven times we failed to clear it to have an offensive possession,” Brecht said. “… So 13 out of [Virginia’s] 19 goals were failed clears, turning the ball over and then at the end of quarters in dead ball situations. I’m not saying if we didn’t do that then all of a sudden we win, 12-6, but they did a good job of making us pay for our mistakes.”
Junior faceoff specialist Joe Nardella’s injury late in the first half may have exposed the flaws the Knights’ possess without the preseason All-Big East player on the field.
In Nardella’s absence, Rutgers was out ground-balled, 27-12, and outshot, 27-10, in the second half, failing to register a shot on target during the third quarter.
With or without Nardella tomorrow, the Knights must limit the amount of self-inflicted mistakes if they are to win on the road against Stony Brook in New York.
The Seawolves (1-2) like to have long possessions, control the tempo and supply their Canadian left-handed attacker Brody Eastwood — who is tied with Rutgers senior attacker Scott Klimchak for second in the nation in goals per game — as often as possible.
Rutgers lost, 9-8, following three overtime periods to Stony Brook last year at the RU Turf Complex.
With a chance to enact some revenge, Brecht is confident the Knights will have no problems finding motivation.
“Everyone knows we dropped a three overtime one-goal game against them at home last year, so we can remind them,” Brecht said. “But as a coach, you don’t forget and as a player you don’t forget.”
While the Knights enter the matchup coming off a tough road loss against Virginia, Klimchak — the reigning Big East Offensive Player of the Week — feels there are positives to build on.
“It was a tough loss but at halftime we were only down 9-8,” Klimchak said. “… We were leading the entire half basically, until the last 30 seconds or so when they got a cheap one at the end of the half, but it just shows we can play with anybody.”
Though the Knights’ attack has faced little adversity in their first three games, the defense is starting to show cracks.
Against the Cavaliers, Rutgers conceded 19 goals after holding Manhattan and Wagner to five goals each in its previous two games.
The Knights’ goals conceded were the most since a 20-13 loss to St. John’s on Mar. 16 last year.
Despite the poor showing against Virginia, sophomore goalkeeper Kris Alleyne — who earned recognition on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll this week — believes the defense will not be discouraged.
“I have all the confidence in the world in our defense and our defensive midfielders,” Alleyne said. “I just know after a hard week of practice following a tough game on the road, we’ll bounce back.”