Senior goalie relieves starter, delivers in net for Rutgers
In the third game of the Rutgers men's lacrosse team's 2016 campaign, it was leading Fairfield 9-5 towards the end of the third quarter.
With the final seconds of the quarter ticking away, Jake Knostman got a clean look at the Scarlet Knights' net from the top-right side of the attack area and fired a shot on goal.
As time expired, sophomore goalie Max Edelmann went to his knees and made the save. But as the rest of the Knights jogged to the sidelines, Edelmann remained on the ground, and after spending a few minutes on the field with a trainer attending to him, left the game with an injury.
When the fourth quarter began, senior Kris Alleyne was in goal, and the first shot he wound up facing this season got by him into the back of the net with 12:35 on the clock, cutting Fairfield's deficit to three as the Stags appeared to be gaining real momentum after three straight scores.
But Alleyne buckled down for the remainder of the game — fighting off all three shots on goal he would face the rest of the way, and even pushing the ball up field on a delayed penalty call after making one of his saves — and the Knights collected a 12-6 victory.
Alleyne was key in Rutgers' efforts to move to 3-0 on the season, and in doing so, he gave off the impression he had played in tight games before.
And it's because he has.
Kris Alleyne had compiled 36 starts as the No. 1 netminder in his first three seasons on the Banks. As a freshman, the New City, New York, native put together an impressive debut season, stopping 59.6 percent of the 525 shots he faced while allowing 10.36 goals per game.
In that 2013 season, he also made a career-high 25 saves and scooped a career-high 5 groundballs in a game against Providence.
In the next two seasons, Alleyne made 22 starts, but his save percentage dipped to 50.4 percent in 2014 and 46.6 percent in 2015.
Entering this season, he was edged out by Edelmann, who transferred to Rutgers from the Community College of Baltimore County, for the starting goalie spot. In his first two-plus games of action, Edelmann showcased how he was able to win the job by stopping 50 percent of the shots he faced and only letting by 9.82 goals per game.
“Obviously, give all the credit in the world to Max, he’s a great goalie, great competition all throughout the year," Alleyne said. "Coach always stresses the next man up so my opportunity came and I just had to capitalize when I could.”
Edelmann has remained out with the same injury since the Fairfield game Feb. 27, but the Knights haven't skipped a beat with Alleyne in net.
The senior is putting up numbers that align with his strong freshman season, as he's stopped 54.3 percent of the shots he's faced and has only given up an astonishingly low 8.41 goals per game. He's made at least nine saves in 5 of his 6 starts and Rutgers has gone 4-2 since he's been in net.
It would have been easy for Alleyne to get down after losing the starting spot he held for three seasons, but the senior continued to work hard and practice and prepare as if he was the starter.
“Give credit to Max, to come in here and earn that job, but also give credit, and a lot of credit, to Kris to stay focused, to stay hungry, to compete in every drill each day in practice," said head coach Brian Brecht. "When injuries happen, you hear the cliché 'next guy up.' Well, Kris put himself in a position to be not only the next guy up, but he was prepared ... so that when it was his number called and we needed him, he was ready to step in and pick up where he left off as a starting goalie."
With the Knights set to enter Big Ten play — in which 3 of their 5 opponents will be top-20 teams— they will have a strong goaltender in net, regardless of if Edelmann returns to the lineup from injury. In his four starts in conference contests last season, Alleyne allowed just 9.75 goals per game.
But even if he's played his final game as a Knight, Kris Alleyne has made his mark on what has been a strong season for the Rutgers men's lacrosse team.
And if he's in net come this Saturday night when Rutgers plays host to No. 9 Johns Hopkins, then he's going to continue to do everything he can to contribute to his team's success.
"Senior year, last chance to really strap on the 'R' on my jersey, so it’s just trying to do everything everyday in practice and the field to just get this team in the right position to win games.”
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