No. 9 Rutgers boasts one of the best home field advantages in the country
To say that the Rutgers men’s lacrosse loves to play at home would be quite the understatement.
Dating back to 2015, the Scarlet Knights are 19-1 at High Point Solutions Stadium with nine of those wins coming against ranked opponents and six of them coming against Big Ten competition.
The only loss? A triple-overtime heartbreaker last season against eventual National Champion Maryland.
This season, Rutgers has already defeated one ranked opponent in current No. 10 ranked Syracuse and will host its highest-ranked opponent on Sunday night in No. 6 Johns Hopkins.
With the only other home games remaining against No. 15 Michigan and unranked Penn State, the Blue Jays could very well represent the highest-ranked team to come to Piscataway in 2018.
“We just have a different energy when we play here,” said senior midfielder and captain Christian Mazzone. “... We got the crowd behind us, we play in a great stadium and you can just feel the electricity in the air. It’s a great feeling.”
Two weeks ago, the Knight faithful helped demolish a program-record for attendance, with the 5,048 fans blowing away the previous high of 3,653 set in 2016, the last time that Rutgers hosted Johns Hopkins.
With the Blue Jays being ranked at No. 6 and Rutgers at No. 9, Sunday will be the best college lacrosse game ranking-wise over the weekend and is the only contest being played on Sunday. The program will be on display for the nation to see on the Big Ten Network, and it represents a great opportunity for the Knights to show how great of a lacrosse school it can be.
Part of head coach Brian Brecht’s rebuild of the program has been re-energizing a proud lacrosse team and generating interest in the sport at Rutgers.
It’s clear that both Knight fans and casual lacrosse fans in central New Jersey have taken notice, as the attendance numbers are among the best in the country, and Sunday should only continue to show that central New Jersey has a program that it can be proud of.
“It’s a great home field atmosphere,” Brecht said. “I’m excited that our alumni, the fans in central Jersey, the youth and the high school players can come out and see big-time lacrosse right here in New Jersey.”
But no matter the opponent, Rutgers comes out for every game with an insanely high level of intensity. Regardless of the score of the game, it always seems that the Knights are in control with the comfort and familiarity of High Point Solutions Stadium.
Rutgers was undefeated at home in 2016 and is currently 5-0 with three games left — all Big Ten contests that should draw well.
“We love having our home field and our fans there. We had a lot of support (against Syracuse), a lot of alumni on the field,” said senior goalie Max Edelmann. “Having all those guys there and having our backs the entire game (is huge). When you get the crowd into the game, it can help you get some swings going your way. If we just stick to our principles and have the crowd support, it’s a good look.”