Knights attack explodes in win
The Rutgers men’s lacrosse team wasted little time imposing themselves yesterday in Staten Island, N.Y., overwhelming Wagner with four unanswered goals less than five minutes into the game for the eventual 20-5 win.
The Scarlet Knights (2-0) once again relied on strong faceoff play from junior faceoff specialist Joe Nardella, who finished 17-of-20 in face-offs.
Nardella also had three assists, all in the first quarter, as the Knights attack took full advantage of the quick transitions he created, much like they did Feb. 8 against Manhattan.
The win is Rutgers’ first road victory since an 8-7 overtime win versus Providence in 2012, as the Knights improve to 6-0 all-time against the Seahawks (0-1).
Head coach Brian Brecht is off to his best start in his third season with Rutgers and has already matched the team’s win total from last year.
“It was a good road win,” Brecht said. “I thought a lot of guys played well and we had some guys get their first goals and points so … it was a good team effort.”
Rutgers thwarted any chance of a comeback during the fourth quarter, shutting out the Seahawks while adding three more goals to see out the game.
Rutgers outscored Wagner, 3-2, during the third quarter with three different Knights contributing goals.
The Knights dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Seahawks, 8-2, in the frame.
Freshman attacker Connor Murphy scored two of his three goals during the quarter, with six other players adding one goal.
Senior attacker Scott Klimchak scored three goals during the first quarter, helping Rutgers to a 6-1 lead and extending his scoring streak to 19 games.
Klimchak finished with four goals to lead the Knights attack followed by three from Murphy, freshman attacker Christian Trasolini and junior midfielder Brian Goss.
Nardella led the team in assists, with senior midfielder Anthony Terranova and sophomore attacker Scott Bieda adding two each.
“The offense has been playing well. They’re starting to really work well with each other,” Brecht said. “I think the two freshmen [Trasolini and Murphy] were good and Scott Klimchak has been a big part of the offense.”
In total, Rutgers outshot Wagner, 46-40, winning 22-of-29 face-offs.
Ten Knights scored at least one goal in the game, which serves as a promising statistic for a team looking for more contributions in the attack.
Defensively, Rutgers conceded just five goals for the second straight game.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kris Alleyne made 12 saves for a 70.6 save percentage before being pulled late for sophomore Jake Andersen with the game firmly in hand.
“We subbed our starters out at halftime so if you look at the third and fourth quarter, with [sophomore goalie] Jake Anderson to come into the fourth quarter and go 15 minutes without giving up a goal … and still having that level of defense where we weren’t giving any up I think is a credit to our depth,” Brecht said.
One thing the Knights failed to improve from their last outing was the amount of turnovers conceded.
Rutgers had 23 in the game to Wagner’s 16, a stat trend that could have dire consequences against a much stronger Virginia team on Saturday.
“That’s a lot of turnovers,” Brecht said. “We won every stat to get the win but we’re not going to be able to turn the ball over 23 times and expect to have success the rest of the season.”
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