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Rutgers struggles with faceoffs, drops matchup to Loyola

 – Photo by Benjamin Chelnitsky

The Rutgers men’s lacrosse team suffered its second loss of the season by a slim margin of 11-10 at the hands of Loyola.

The road loss is the second in as many games for the Scarlet Knights (2-2). Rutgers has yet to win on the road this season. 

The Knights took the field against the No.11 Greyhounds (2-1) a week after losing to Army.

Unlike the matchup with the No. 13 Black Nights (3-1) that ended with a score of 15-4, the Saturday matinee game was full of back-and-forth action. 

In the opening frame, Rutgers mustered only three shots and failed to win a faceoff. Junior goalkeeper Stephen Russo came up big with five saves en route to a season high of 16 saves. Russo only let 2 balls sneak into the goal in the opening 15 minutes.

Early in the second quarter, after Loyola scored another goal, the Knights began to respond. Their first score came from junior midfielder Tommy Coyne. Rutgers then found the back of the net 2 more times before halftime thanks to senior attackman Kieran Mullins and sophomore midfielder David Sprock. The teams went into their locker rooms with the score reading 7-3 in favor of the Greyhounds. 

The Knights dominated in the third quarter, not letting up a single goal and holding Loyola to only 6 shots. On the offensive side, Sprock secured his second hat trick of the season with his second goal of the quarter. Senior midfielder Owen Mead and junior attackman Ryan Gallagher both added goals. The teams went into the final quarter tied at 7. 

Sprock wasn’t finished scoring and added another goal 2.5 minutes into play. His 4 goals were a career high, and he added two assists in an impressive display of offense. He now sits atop the team with 13 points. Junior attackman Adam Charalambides, Gallagher and Sprock all have 9 goals, the highest on the team. 

Over the next 9 minutes, the teams traded goals. Mullins scored his second of the game to tie it at 9 points. Junior midfielder Brennan Kamish gave Rutgers its final lead of the game at the 5:27 mark. Approximately 2 minutes later, the Greyhounds scored and with just less than 2 minutes left to play, Joey Kamish put a ball past Russo for the game-winning goal. 

When it came to scooping up ground balls, the Knights struggled compared to Loyola. Rutgers finished the game with 20 compared to the Greyhounds' 39. Three of the ground balls for the Knights came from junior defenseman Zach Masessa. Masessa and sophomore midfielder Joe Peterson both forced two turnovers.

Rutgers struggled when it came to winning faceoffs. Out of the 25 draws, the Knights only won two.

On offense, Rutgers was the more efficient team, converting on 38 percent of its 26 shots, compared to Loyola only succeeding on 22 percent of its 48 shots. 

True freshman attackman Ross Scott picked up his first start and was able to produce two shots and scoop a ground ball. He was the only freshman that was a part of the starting 10 for the Knights. 

Rutgers will be back in action on Saturday as Stony Brook comes to battle at SHI Stadium. The Seawolves (2-1) take on Hofstra on before coming to the Banks. In a replica situation to the Knights, Stony Brook has yet to win on the road. Rutgers will need to score early and keep the lead if it wants to remain undefeated on the Banks. 

For updates on the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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