Rutgers drops 2nd straight to No. 1 Loyola
Last Saturday, the Rutgers men's lacrosse team fell to No. 1 Loyola at HighPoint.com Stadium by a final score of 13-7. The performance marks the second consecutive defeat for the No. 19 Scarlet Knights (2-2) and will likely result in a loss of their top-20 status in the national lacrosse rankings.
The Greyhounds (3-0) have become the No. 1 team in the country due to a loaded attacking unit, and they demonstrated their abilities against Rutgers. Despite some meaningful saves from fifth-year senior goalie Max Edelmann (12 saves on 25 shots), the Knights struggled to hold off Loyola with long stretches of possessions and shots.
Leading the scoring for the Greyhounds was the dynamic duo of Pat Spencer and Kevin Lindley, who combined for 9 goals and two assists against Rutgers.
“Obviously, if you don’t have the ball, you can’t score. So we need to win some of the 50-50 ground balls and the (face-offs) off the X,” said head coach Brian Brecht. “When you take that 2 for 9 stretch in the first half and throw in 1 or 2 failed clears, that’s 10 possessions that could’ve gone our way.”
The main takeaway from this matchup was the shocking lack of offense for the Knights. They came into this matchup having scored an average of 13.6 goals per game through their first three games, but were held to just 2 goals in the first half and 1 in the fourth quarter.
The biggest storyline coming into this game was the news that junior attack Kieran Mullins would not be playing due to injury. In his place was junior attack Mark Schachte, who made his first career start in the attacking unit and finished with a goal and an assist.
“I think offensively we came out a little bit slow in the first half, and we should’ve hit a few more shots to make it more of a game,” said sophomore attack Tommy Coyne.
Another factor contributing to the slow offense was the outstanding defense and goaltending from Loyola, as Jacob Stover was a rock in goal with 18 saves on 25 shots on goal.
After Rutgers got the game started with an early goal from sophomore attack Adam Charalambides, the Greyhounds responded with a 4-minute hat trick from Spencer. Junior midfield Owen Mead would get the second Knights goal with 9:54 to go in the first period.
Loyola would dominate the remainder of the first half into the third, scoring 5 unanswered goals thanks to a hat trick from Kevin Lindley and individual scores for Spencer and Chase Scanlan. The Greyhounds maintained possessions for long stretches, winning 9 of 11 face-offs and 22 of 34 of ground balls in the first half.
This was reflected in the scoreline, as Rutgers headed into the halftime break in an 7-2 deficit.
The Knights improved on generating offense out of the break, outshooting Loyola 10 to 5 in the third quarter and getting 4 goals, including a last-second shot from Coyne to cut the deficit to four with a period to play.
In the fourth period, Rutgers would play the Greyhounds even in both the face-off (2 of 4) and ground ball (5 of 11) battles. Scanlan got the first goal, which was quickly answered by sophomore midfield Michael Sanguinetti to make it an 11-7 game with 7 minutes to play.
Loyola would put the game away in the closing minutes with two unanswered goals from Scanlan and Lindley, ending any chance of a late Knights comeback.
Rutgers will hit the road on Saturday and look to get back to its winning ways on the road against Fairfield, who got its first win of the season last Saturday against Sacred Heart.
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