The Rutgers men’s lacrosse team will finish off its regular season on the road in a rematch against Michigan tomorrow.
The No. 6 Scarlet Knights (7-2, 7-2) enter this game having won three straight in Big Ten play, most recently a 17-11 win over Johns Hopkins on Senior Day. Rutgers has already swept the Blue Jays (2-7, 2-7), Ohio State and Penn State this season and enters this game having clinched second place in the Big Ten.
Offensively, the Knights have been efficient, averaging 15.56 goals per game — good for fourth in the country — and scoring more than 20 goals three times this year.
Much of their scoring production has come from the experienced trio of graduate student attacker Adam Charalambides (35 goals, 12 assists), fifth-year senior attacker Kieran Mullins (21 goals, 18 assists) and graduate student attacker Connor Kirst (25 goals, 14 assists).
Charalambides is coming off a 6 goal outing in last week’s win over Johns Hopkins, which tied a career-high. He is also fourth in the country with 3.89 goals per game.
This offense will pose a challenge for the Wolverines (2-7, 2-7), who are dead last in the Big Ten in goals allowed, with 137 total. John Kiracofe has allowed 14.86 goals per game, saving just 42.2 percent of his shots faced all season.
Michigan has struggled to get a footing in conference play this season, having lost 3 of its last 4 entering this matchup. Rutgers beat them 22-12 in Piscataway in its first matchup back in March.
The Knights have also seen some strong performances defensively this season. Rutgers leads the conference in several defensive categories, including 8.22 caused turnovers per game and 13.11 saves per game. The Knights have also been efficient at clearing the ball, with their 89.2 clear percentage being ranked eighth in the nation.
Graduate student goalkeeper Colin Kirst has started every game in net this season, having 11.19 goals against average and a save percentage of 54.2, which is good for second in the Big Ten. Colin Kirst also leads the conference in saves with 12.78 per game.
The Wolverines, on the other hand, have struggled to score all season, finding the back of the net just 93 times all year for an average of 13.29 goals per game. Josh Zawada and Bryce Clay are the two primary goalscorers, each leading with 16 and 20 goals, respectively.
The one area Michigan has an advantage over Rutgers statistically is the faceoff spot: Knights sophomore faceoff specialist Jonathan Dugenio has taken the bulk of the draws this season, winning them at a 40 percent clip. The Wolverines' primary faceoff specialist Nick Rowlett has won 54.4 percent of his draws this season.
Finishing off the regular season with a sweep over Michigan would give Rutgers an 8-2 record in this year's conference-only season. This would be the third season since 2015 that the Knights would finish six games over .500 and the fewest losses Rutgers has finished a regular season with since 1982.
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