Rutgers earns Senior Day win over Michigan
The Rutgers men's lacrosse team came into Saturday’s Senior Day clash against Michigan in a difficult position. While it had shown flashes of greatness in its previous two matchups against Maryland and Johns Hopkins, it couldn’t figure out a way to put together a complete game and get a second win.
The Scarlet Knights (7-6, 2-2) came up clutch in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Wolverines (3-9, 0-4) to get an 11-9 victory in their home finale.
They needed big days from key contributors to close out the game, and they got them from sophomore attack Adam Charalambides, who provided for Rutgers offensively with a 6-goal performance that tied a career-high set against St. John's in his college debut in February 2016.
"I thought our guys were really focused,” said head coach Brian Brecht. “We've been getting better over the last month, (and) I'm very proud of the team's effort and how hard they played to get the win today.”
Charalambides would open the scoring for the Knights 23 seconds into the first quarter, but Michigan quickly retook the lead off goals from Decker Curran and Brent Noseworthy. Rutgers would end the half tied 4-4, with two goals each from Charalambides and sophomore midfielder Ryan Gallagher.
The second period saw the pace slow significantly, with each side only scoring 1 goal from Noseworthy and junior midfielder Owen Mead to send the game into the half in a 5-5 stalemate.
In the third, the Knights took control of the game with a 4-1 run, led by 2 goals and an assist from Charalambides and goals from sophomore attack Tommy Coyne and true freshman midfielder Cole Daninger.
Rutgers played lockdown defense on the other end, allowing just four Wolverine shots in the entire quarter.
Michigan would make the Knights sweat it out in the fourth, getting two quick scores from Avery Myers and Kevin Mack to make it a 1-goal game with 10 minutes to play. Rutgers would get 2 insurance goals from Charalambides to close out the 11-9 victory.
One of the few weaknesses of the Knights all season has been the ability to win possessions off the face-off, entering this game winning just 41 percent of their face-offs. A big part of this win was a career day from fifth-year senior face-off specialist Alex Schoen, who finished 15 of 19 from the X and established himself as the go-to specialist in crunch time.
The postseason implications of Saturday’s game was enough to make this the most important win of the season. With a 2-2 Big Ten record, Rutgers moves into fourth place and owns the head-to-head and goal differential tiebreakers over No. 5 Ohio State.
Although the Knights face an uphill battle in their road finale against No. 1 Penn State, they’ve set themselves up in prime position to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament on home turf.
But this was also Senior Day, and Rutgers honored the class of 2019 in a postgame ceremony on the field at HighPoint.com Stadium. This year’s senior class includes several key contributors, graduating staters like fifth-year seniors goalie Max Edelmann, midfielder Casey Rose and senior defensemen Garrett Michaeli and Kyle Pless.
Getting a vital win was the perfect sendoff for a class that has already given so much to the Knights team in their time on the Banks.
"Getting this win in front of all our family, alumni and fans was great,” Edelmann said. “These guys on the team are my best friends, so winning with them on a day like this is incredible."
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