Rutgers lacrosse captains bring wealth of experience
With fall ball now behind them, the Rutgers men's lacrosse team is now less than three months away from the start of its 2020 season.
Despite losing several key starters (most notably goalkeeper Max Edelmann and defender Kyle Pless), the Scarlet Knights still look to ride a high-powered offense and contend in a loaded Big Ten.
At the end of October, the team announced the three captains that would lead the team this season: senior attacker Kieran Mullins and juniors attacker Adam Charalambides and defender Garrett Bullett.
Mullins is the only senior out of the captains’ group and he’s a critical component of Rutgers’ attack. In 2019, Mullins led the team with 37 assists and was second with 60 points.
His performance gave him a place among college lacrosse’s elite attackers, finishing sixth in the nation with 2.85 assists per game. That was good enough to earn his First Team All-Big Ten honors, as well as All-ECAC and USILA Honorable Mention All-American selections.
A Islip, New York, native, the 5-foot-10-inch true senior netted 23 goals last season, second on the team behind Charalambides.
Charalambides is the other returning captain from last season and is entering his sixth season on the Banks despite only being a redshirt junior.
He burst onto the scene in 2016, being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year before missing the entirety of 2017 and 2018 due to consecutive ACL injuries.
Coming into 2019, it wasn’t clear if Charalambides would be the same dynamic attacker that he was in 2016. But he didn’t lose a step, leading the team with 47 goals and 61 points.
Even more impressively, Charalambides also led the Big Ten scoring with 18 goals. His 47 goals in 2019 were the third most scored by a Knights attacker.
As the only new addition to the captains group, Bullett will be expected to fill the leadership void on defense that was created by the graduations of Edelmann and Pless.
Bullett joined the program in 2016, but redshirted the first year and missed most of the second to a season-ending injury. He finally broke through in 2018, shifting from long-stick midfield to defenseman and starting 13 games.
With the most forced turnovers on the team coming on the defensive side of the ball, Bullett becomes an essential part of a unit tasked with stopping the best attackers in college lacrosse. How he fills that void could go a long way toward determining how far Rutgers go this year.
Now that the Knights have their captains set, they look forward to a pivotal season on the Banks. While the defensive side of the ball remains a question mark, the scoring talent on the team is up there with the big boys of college lacrosse.
While Rutgers' spring schedule has not been finalized yet, several of its away games have been announced. The Knights will head to Syracuse for a matchup with the former Big East rival on March 14, according to the official Syracuse men's lacrosse Twitter account.
Rutgers brings in several new student-athletes including junior goalkeeper Stephen Russo, who transferred to the Banks from Cleveland State. Russo will not earn a redshirt and is eligible to play this upcoming season.
With the Vikings for the past two seasons, he tallied 208 saves. Russo, a Livingston, New Jersey, native was picked as a first team all-state when he was a senior in high school. Russo also played running back for the Lancers' football team, becoming a captain in his senior year.
But with key players like Mullins now in their senior years and no real top-ranked recruits to step up and fill the roles, some say that the team’s NCAA Tournament window is closing.
For a program that hasn’t gone dancing since 2004 and hasn’t won a tournament game since 1990, getting over the hump and making the postseason is the first priority.
For updates on the Rutgers men's lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.
Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Targum.