No. 13 Rutgers cruises past Michigan for first Big Ten win of season
The Rutgers men's lacrosse team needed a bounce-back performance on Saturday against Michigan in order to secure its first Big Ten win of the season.
The No. 13 Scarlet Knights did that — and some — as they took the Wolverines behind the woodshed in a 14-7 victory in Ann Arbor.
The story of the day was super-freshman Kieran Mullins, who scored a career-high 8 goals and also added an assist for good measure, outscoring the entire Michigan team by himself with a goal to spare.
After two straight losses, there were many questions surrounding this Rutgers team — falling 12 spots in the national rankings after holding the top spot for the first time in school history — including consistency in faceoffs, getting shots off and clearing the ball efficienctly.
Junior Joe Francisco was having his way at the "X," going over 86 percent in 22 opportunities. This led to 52 shots for the Knights, who were able to work past a strong position from Wolverine goalie Tommy Heidt, who made several athletic saves in the first half.
Michigan failed to find any rhythm in that respect, as five different players took multiple faceoffs and none won more than two.
Heidt was key in keeping the game close, as his efforts kept the Wolverines in the game after the first quarter, where Rutgers held a slim 2-1 advantage.
But the shots continued to rain down from the red jerseys and the Knights were able to put in 5 goals in the second quarter. The Rutgers defense was back in form, as the unit pitched a second quarter shutout and propelled the Knights to a 9-2 halftime lead.
From that point, Mullins took the game over, finding the back of the net four times in the third quarter to give him 8 goals for the game. He helped give Rutgers a 13-3 lead going into the final period.
Despite letting in a few goals in garbage time, the Knights took home the comfortable 7-goal win.
The Scarlet Knight attacking unit was much more than Mullins, though, as senior Connor Murphy scored his second straight hat trick and added an assist for a 4-point effort. Junior Jules Heningburg continued to display how he has improved his game as a passer, dishing out 5 assists and scoring once as well.
And after going just 15-21 on clears last week against Johns Hopkins, Rutgers was 19-20 in that area against the Wolverines.
After four straight road games, the Knights return to High Point Solutions Stadium next Sunday for a Big Ten Network primetime matchup with No. 6 Maryland.