No 15 Rutgers loses at home to No. 16 Lehigh
The Rutgers men's lacrosse team fell to No. 16 Lehigh at HighPoint.com Stadium 13-10 last night. This defeat puts the No. 15 Scarlet Knights (4-3) in a difficult position, as they have yet to defeat a ranked team halfway through the season.
The first half was the sophomore midfielder Ryan Gallagher show, as he got 3 goals and an assist in the first half. Rutgers and the Mountain Hawks (4-3) went back and forth early, trading a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes.
Sophomore attacker Adam Charalambides got the other goal for the Knights in the first, and Ryan Klose and Mickey Fitzpatrick scored for Lehigh. Alex Tuminello got the third of the game to end the quarter up 3-2.
Coming out of the second, Rutgers went on a 4-2 tear to take the lead heading into the break. Two quick goals from Gallagher and junior attacker Kieran Mullins gave the Knights the lead. Gallagher and sophomore attacker Tommy Coyne would pad on two more to end the half up 6-5.
Rutgers would open up the lead to three in the third quarter, as Charalambides would get his second and Gallagher would get his fourth. But, the tide would turn for the Knights with 3 minutes to go in the third when a shot from Craig Chick rolled off the stick of fifth-year senior goalie Max Edelmann and into the net.
Lehigh would use that error as a momentum shifter, going on an 8-2 run to end the game.
“I just feel that we got a bit impatient,” Gallagher said. “We just gotta keep working in practice and focus on not just getting the first shot but the best shot.”
A major asset for Rutgers this year has been the attacking unit. The offense has been spearheaded by two players that were named to the Teewaraton Award watchlist in Mullins and Charalambides. The duo has been dynamic for the Knights, combining to produce 28 goals and 13 assists through the first six games of the season.
But, they took a backseat as Gallagher made the most of his start for Rutgers, finishing with 4 goals and two assists and offering a bright spot for the future.
“We had a good week in practice and I thought my line-mates (Mullins and Charalambides) did a good job of setting me up,” Gallagher said.
One challenge the Knights faced heading into this one was the Lehigh faceoff unit. The Mountain Hawks’ leading faceoff specialist, Conor Gaffney, won 70.6 percent of his faceoffs through his first six games. But, Gaffney found his match in fifth-year senior faceoff specialist Alex Schoen, who had his way with Schoen in the first half by winning 10 of 18 of his faceoffs.
A turning point in the game came in the third, when Gaffney was pulled in place of Joel Trucksess. Trucksess would have his way with the Rutgers, going 8 of 10 and winning critical possessions in the closing minutes of the game.
“We were a little sloppy handling the ball and in the transition game,” said junior defenseman Jack Thompson. “So we just have to get a bit better there.”
The Knights will have only three days of rest before hitting the road again to take on Syracuse on Saturday. The Orange (3-2) are coming off a 14-10 win against No. 17 Johns Hopkins, and mark the next team in a gauntlet of a schedule. Only 2 of the remaining 7 opponents are ranked outside the top 20.
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