RU defense shuts down Manhattan attack
Not even the blistering cold conditions the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team endured Saturday for more than an hour could tame the team’s excitement following its 13-5 home victory against Manhattan.
The frigid weather seemed to affect Scarlet Knights (1-0), who fell behind by two goals early on in the contest.
But thanks to junior faceoff specialist Joe Nardella winning 18-of-20 faceoff’s and collecting a career-high 17 ground balls, the comeback did not take long.
Nardella’s face-off wins turned into quick transitions forward, which the Knights attack was happy to capitalize on.
“We caught a couple unlucky breaks in the beginning, but all it takes is one goal to get everything started,” said senior attacker Scott Klimchak. “We got that and we just started rolling from there. … Joe was getting us the ball and good things happen when we get the ball.”
The Knights led 10-5 in the fourth quarter and relied on time management to withstand any late Manhattan comeback attempts.
Rutgers also tallied three more goals in the quarter, with one coming from sophomore midfielder Zack Sikora, the first of his career.
Freshman midfielder Christian Trasolini tallied a goal just 15 seconds into the third quarter for Rutgers, but the Jaspers finished stronger in the frame, outscoring the Knights, 3-2.
Klimchak and Trasolini were both key to the Knights’ 5-0 run in the second quarter, scoring three and two goals, respectively.
The team finished with nine players recording at least one point, while seven scored at least one goal.
Klimchak led the way, tying his career high with five goals and extending his goal-scoring streak to 18 games.
Trasolini, senior midfielder Nick DePaolera and sophomore attacker Scott Bieda each led the team with two assists.
“We moved the ball fast and we scored a lot of goals in transition,” Klimchak said. “So just moving the ball in transition and finding the open guys worked out very well.”
While the offense was efficient, the most impressive contributions came from the defensive end. The Knights held the Jaspers to five goals, their least amount allowed since Rutgers defeated Wagner, 9-5, in 2012.
“I thought defensively [sophomore goalkeeper] Kris [Alleyne] made some good saves,” said head coach Brian Brecht. “We did a good job getting out and playing in gloves. … So I thought the defense did a good job in pushing the ball from the defensive end to the offensive end.”
Alleyne was crucial to the Knights’ defensive success. The reigning Big East Goalkeeper of the Year made 12 saves, with some coming from point blank range.
Despite the strong performance, the New City, N.Y., native feels he was not at his best.
“There could have been a couple ones that I wish I could have gotten back,” Alleyne said. “But a win’s a win at the end of the day.”
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