A 9-goal first half and a defensive showdown in the second half paved the way for the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team to earn its 10th win of the season last night, defeating Johns Hopkins 12-7 at SHI Stadium on Busch campus. The No. 3 Scarlet Knights (10-1, 2-0) improved to No. 3 in the USILA poll after the win.
Most of the scoring came in the first half, as an early 3-0 run sparked an offensive barrage that saw Rutgers open a 9-4 lead by halftime.
Sophomore attacker Shane Knobloch led the attack production-wise, finishing the game with 3 goals and two assists for a team-high five points on the evening.
“(Knobloch) was someone that can dodge and win a matchup,” said head coach Brian Brecht after the game. “And he can certainly shoot the ball very well and create offensive opportunities when they slide to him.”
The Blue Jays (5-6, 1-1) adjusted in the second half, limiting the number of shots that the Knights were able to take while creating more chances on the other end.
The pace of play translated on the box score. While Rutgers outshot Johns Hopkins 24-12 in the first half, the Blue Jays got a 17-11 advantage in the second half.
Johns Hopkins couldn’t translate that advantage into goals, only scoring 3 in the second half as the lead never got below 4 goals.
“When the game slowed down, we knew we had to adjust to that defensive end, not get over-excited and try to go press out, play the ball, sit down, play good (defense), and it worked out in the end,” said senior defender Bobby Russo after the game.
Defensively, the Knights were able to hold the Blue Jays to just 7 goals, their lowest scoring output in the past 28 games. Rutgers controlled the ground ball matchup 39-30 while senior goalkeeper Colin Kirst made seven saves in the win.
Russo’s six ground balls were a career-high.
“I think we're really coming into our own, two straight games under 10 (goals allowed),” Russo said. “So we're just really meshing well together now on the defensive end.”
The win marks the fastest run to 10 wins for the program in 40 years, besting the 10-2 start the Knights had in 1982. It also sets up a matchup with No. 1 Maryland on Sunday night in College Park, Maryland. A win would be the first since 1980 over the Terrapins (9-0, 2-0).
“Offensively, we do a good job spreading the ball around. We had a lot of people cashing in and chipping in that effort,” Brecht said.
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