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Rutgers men's lacrosse wins against Penn State

The Rutgers men's lacrosse team began their 2021 campaign with an opening day victory over Penn State. – Photo by

When graduate student midfielder Connor Kirst and graduate student goalie Colin Kirst transferred to the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team this offseason, they knew they would be carrying on a family legacy — their father Kyle Kirst played goalie from 1988 to 1990 for the Scarlet Knights (1-0, 1-0).

Connor Kirst led Rutgers offensively with 3 goals and four assists, and Colin Kirst made 15 saves in an 11-9 win over Penn State.

“Seeing my brother in the locker room, knowing how much we love this place. It was emotional,” said Connor Kirst, according to Rutgers Athletics. “Just a great day, a special experience that I'll never forget.”

The Knights' offense was strong, with hat tricks from both Connor Kirst and graduate student attacker Adam Charalambides. It wasn’t just the veterans contributing, either, as freshman midfielder Shane Knobloch tacked on two goals right behind them.

For Rutgers' coaching staff, adding Connor Kirst to an offense that already returns some great options in attack was a golden opportunity.

“(Kirst has) won some big games on his own before this year, so he was a great addition to our offense and helps to complement (fifth-year senior attacker) Kieran Mullins and ... Charalambides,” said head men’s lacrosse coach Brian Brecht in a postgame interview. “The experience he has, the personality he has and just all the intangibles.”

Sophomore faceoff specialist Jonathan Dugenio went 6 for 7 in faceoffs in the fourth quarter, giving the team a chance to control the run of play and close out the game.

“I thought (Dugenio) did a great job,” said Brecht. “He battled 50-50 against an All-American, (and) give a little credit to our (long-stick midfielders) and our rope guys on the wings — it’s a unit that works together.”

The Knights' defensive performance was also strong. Rutgers caused 12 turnovers, was 20-21 on clears and outshot the Nittany Lions (0-1, 0-1) 40-39.

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

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