It was a difficult weekend for Rutgers lacrosse. Both the men’s and women’s teams suffered disappointing losses to Johns Hopkins on the road. With Big Ten play in full swing, both programs are surprisingly winless in league play into April. The good news is both programs return home for several contests this month after extended road trips in March.
While the No. 9 men’s team was off to promising 7-1 start to the season, Rutgers has now suffered back to back losses. After losing at then No. 19 Ohio State 11-7 last weekend, RU dropped a 16-12 contest to the No. 7 Blue Jays on Saturday. The game was tied 8-8 at the half and reserve Justin Kim scored twice to give the Scarlet Knights a two goal lead early in the third quarter. However, Johns Hopkins outscored the visitors 8-2 the rest of the way.
Justin Kim had the best game of his career with three goals and an assist, while Shane Knobloch had a hat trick and two assists. Noah Daniels added a pair of goals as well.
It was a second straight game that Rutgers outshot its opponent and won more faceoffs as well. Both losses have come down to a lack of execution near the net. In addition, the loss to the Blue Jays saw starting goalkeeper Kyle Mullin surrender seven goals on seven shots to begin the game. He was pulled for backup Anthony Palma, who made nine saves while allowing nine goals in the final three quarters of action.
“There were a lot of little moments throughout the course of a sixty-minute game that we needed to be a little sharper on,” head coach Brian Brecht explained. “Justin Kim stepped up big for us, Shane Knobloch was a threat in the middle of the field. We just needed some other guys to step up and seize the moment for us.”
Rutgers men’s lacrosse is now 0-2 in Big Ten play and will host Michigan on Friday, April 7. The Wolverines just stunned No. 2 Maryland this past weekend 16-11 on the road. The league matchup begins at 6:00 p.m. and will air live on ESPNU. It’s obviously a critical opportunity for RU to get back on track not only for conference purposes, but for NCAA Tournament hopes as well. Maryland visits in April as well so the chance to notch a signature win will be there.
As for the women’s team, it was another tough loss in a season that has unpredictably been full of difficult defeats. The Scarlet Knights led Johns Hopkins 10-4 at the half and were leading 11-5 with just over four minutes remaining in the third period. However, the Blue Jays stormed back to score the final seven goals of the game to secure a 12-11 victory. All-American Cassidy Spilis scored four goals, Janey Galski had a hat trick and Marin Hartshorn had two goals and two assists. Even so, RU was outshot 34-16. They were unable to generate offense down the stretch to fend off the furious comeback by JHU.
Rutgers women’s lacrosse is now just 4-6 this season and 0-4 in Big Ten play. It doesn’t get any easier for the Scarlet Knights. They are now set to face three teams ranked in the top six nationally over its last five regular season games. They host No. 2 Northwestern on Thursday, April 6 at 7:00 p.m. The contest airs live on BTN.
Head coach Melissa Lehman’s team has an uphill climb to play in a third straight NCAA Tournament. However, there are several big opportunities to earn signature wins at home the rest of this month.
Hopefully, both programs can turn things around by notching big wins in April.
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