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No. 7 Rutgers men's lacrosse looks to get back in win column against Michigan

Junior attacker Ross Scott will try to add to his team-leading 31 goals this season as the Rutgers men's lacrosse team travels to Michigan tomorrow. – Photo by Ben Solomon / Scarletknights

After suffering its first loss in Big Ten play last Sunday, the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team looks to get back in the win column with a road game against Michigan tomorrow.

The No. 7 Scarlet Knights (10-2, 2-1) lost 17-9 to top-ranked Maryland in College Park, Maryland, last weekend, suffering their worst margin of defeat of the season. The program has lost 2 out of 4 games against top-10 teams.

Rutgers also fell from No. 3 to No. 7 in the Coaches Poll after the defeat, maintaining its spot as the second highest-ranked Big Ten team.

The Knights are riding a high-powered offense this season. Their attack is third in the country with an average of 15.67 goals per game. Five players have also scored 22 or more goals on the year, spearheaded by junior attacker Ross Scott’s 31 goals and senior attacker Mitch Bartolo’s 28 goals. 

Those five goalscorers make up 68.6 percent of the program’s total offensive production.

For the Wolverines (7-5, 0-3), it has been a tale of two seasons. Michigan, which has struggled to get a foothold in the Big Ten in recent years, won seven straight to start the season, earning a ranking of No. 13 in the nation.

Since the program's win over then-No. 17 Delaware on March 5, its season entered a free-fall. The Wolverines have lost their last five straight, including all three Big Ten games, placing last in the conference as the only winless team. 

Michigan came close to snapping the streak against Penn State last week, losing 9-8 in overtime.

It has been a one-sided series between the two programs, as Rutgers has won six consecutive games against the Wolverines, including a two-game sweep in the Big Ten-only schedule last season. 

Despite its recent struggles, Michigan still has several playmakers that can make a difference.

Josh Zawada is sixth in the country in points with 5.58 per game on 37 goals and 29 assists. On faceoffs, the Knights will have another tough matchup this week. Justin Wietfeldt has averaged 61.6 percent on the year in the department, good for sixth in the nation. 

He shares the workload with Nick Rowlett, who has won 57 percent of his faceoffs. Rutgers struggled at the faceoff spot in Sunday’s loss to the No. 1 Terrapins (10-0, 3-0), winning just 8 of 30 draws on the day.

The game will start at noon and will be broadcasted on ESPNU. A win tomorrow would also be a milestone for head coach Brian Brecht, who would earn his 80th win with the Knights.

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

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