Rutgers holds off St. John’s in fourth quarter for vital Big East win
When two teams are evenly matched, the team with the greatest desire to win often comes out on top.
Trailing by one entering the fourth quarter of its Big East clash against St. John’s, underneath the lights of High Point Solutions Stadium, the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team showed that desire, willing its way to a 16-13 victory.
The win was the Scarlet Knights’ (7-4, 2-2) first victory versus the Red Storm (6-4, 2-1) by their senior class.
For senior midfielder Anthony Terranova, the win was a long time coming.
Terranova said the victory exacted some revenge and should help the team’s confidence moving forward into the final stretches of the season.
The seniors certainly played their part in the victory.
Terranova scored three goals while attacker Scott Klimchak and midfielder Nick DePaolera added two each.
But the win would not have been possible without some help from the underclassmen.
Sophomore attacker Scott Bieda was crucial for the Knights, scoring three goals and adding three assists to lead the team in points.
Freshman attacker Christian Trasolini also contributed with a team-high four goals, none of which were more vital than his two goals in the fourth quarter to give Rutgers a 13-12 lead.
But sophomore goalkeeper Jake Anderson’s contributions may have had the largest impact.
With starting sophomore goalkeeper Kris Alleyne injured, Anderson got his first career start and performed well, making seven saves.
The Flemington, N.J., native was bombarded by his teammates following the final whistle as the team celebrated its important victory.
“Give [Anderson] a lot of credit,” said head coach Brian Brecht. “We always felt that as a coaching staff … that we have two very good goalies that are competing every day and making the rest of the guys better and injuries are a part of the game. You don’t want injuries to happen, but it is a contact sport and when Kris [Alleyne] couldn’t go tonight, Jake certainly stepped up.”
Following Trasolini’s two goals, a goal from Terranova put the Knights up 14-12 in the fourth.
Thanks to some strong defense, which included a stop on a penalty kill, Rutgers saw out the game.
Rutgers jumped out to an early 9-6 lead in the third quarter.
But St. John’s high-powered offense quickly countered with a 3-1 run of its own, making it 10-9, Knights with 8:46 remaining.
The Red Storm then tied it up and exchanged goals with the Knights before a shot through a clutter of Rutgers players slipped into the net, giving St. John’s their first lead since 10:38 in the first quarter.
The action in the second quarter started quickly, with St John’s scoring two fast goals before Trasolini responded with a goal six seconds later on an assist from junior faceoff specialist Joe Nardella, all happening exactly one minute into the quarter.
The Red Storm responded, though, outscoring Rutgers, 5-2 in the quarter.
The Knights started the game full of intensity, eager to put St. John’s on their back foot early on. But Rutgers was perhaps a bit too energized, with midfielder Rich Rambo being called for a penalty less than five seconds in.
St. John’s scored on the ensuing man advantage, but the Knights soon settled into the match.
Behind some strong defensive plays, which included two hard hits from sophomore defender Branford Rogers, the Knights scored five unanswered goals to lead 5-1 at the end of the first.
Rutgers ended its two-game slump in conference play while effectively terminating St. John’s four-game winning streak.
Entering the game, Brecht said he had full confidence that his senior class would pull out the victory and was not disappointed.
“St. John’s is a talented team and their attack is very talented so we’re not going to stop them from getting theirs,” Brecht said. “… But we did a great job containing and getting a great win tonight.”
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