No. 20 Rutgers takes down Hofstra to conclude non-conference schedule
The Rutgers men's lacrosse team defeated Hofstra at home on Saturday afternoon, earning a much-needed home victory to close out its non-conference schedule. The win ended a two-game losing streak and was a confidence booster heading into conference play.
The No. 20 Scarlet Knights (5-4) took control of this game early, ending the first quarter up 3-1 with an opener from sophomore attack Adam Charalambides and 2 goals from freshman attack Ryan Gallagher.
The Pride (10-7, 3-6) had the game briefly tied 3 minutes into the second, courtesy of 2 goals from Riley Forte and Ryan Tierney, but goals from Charalambides and junior attack Kieran Mullins ensured that Rutgers would go into the half up 5-4.
The game would turn into a standoff in the third period, as junior attack Mark Schachte got the only goal of the period for the Knights on an assist from Mullins.
Defensively, Rutgers faced a barrage of shots from Hofstra, as fifth-year senior goalie Max Edelmann had to make eight saves in the third period alone to preserve a 2-goal lead at the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the Knights expand their lead with 3 more unanswered goals from Charalambides, Schachte and true freshman midfielder David Sprock, giving Rutgers a 9-4 lead with 8.5 minutes to play. That run provided a much-needed cushion, as Hofstra would rally to score 3 of the last 4 goals of the game.
Offense was heavily reliant on the star duo of Charalambides and Mullins, who combined to score or assist on 9 of 10 goals against the Pride. Charalambides was the leading scorer with 4 goals, while Mullins led the team with four assists and a goal of his own.
Defensively, the Knights were able to retain the lead despite getting outshot by a margin of 27 to 14 in the second half. Edelmann finished with 18 saves for the third game this season, maintaining the high level of play that currently has him at third in the nation with 16 saves per game.
Rutgers’ defensemen also did a great job of disrupting the flow of the Hofstra attack, posting a 10-5 caused turnover margin. Senior defenseman Kyle Pless led the way with four caused turnovers.
“I thought Kyle Pless and (sophomore defenseman) Garrett Bullett did a great job on the defensive end,” Brecht said. “Having (senior midfielder) Mark Christiano back in the lineup was a huge shot in the arm for us.”
The faceoff unit had to operate shorthanded, as the Knights were missing both faceoff specialists true freshman Michael Ott and fifth-year senior Connor Harryman to lower body injuries.
Harryman is day-to-day and could play against Ohio State this weekend, while Ott is out indefinitely. The unit struggled heavily in their absence, going 5 for 21 in the game and just 1 of 10 in the second half. Fifth-year senior faceoff specialist Alex Schoen was the only regular in the rotation, going 3 of 10.
Freshman long-stick midfielder Ethan Rall went 1 of 7 and junior Sam Oltmans went 1 of 3.
Following last weekend, Rutgers will now look forward to a challenging five-game Big Ten slate to end the regular season, starting with No. 5 Buckeyes (7-0) on the road this weekend.
The Big Ten is known as a lacrosse powerhouse, with 3 of the top 5 teams in the country on the slate for the Knights in Ohio State, No. 1 Penn State and No. 4 Maryland.
Rutgers has an 0-4 record against ranked opposition this season, and will need to turn the tables in order to finish in the top four of the conference and qualify for the Big Ten Tournament.
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