No. 11 Rutgers men's lacrosse aims for win in last regular season game against No. 5 Penn State
The Rutgers men's lacrosse team will travel to State College, Pennsylvania, to play Penn State tomorrow for its final regular season game of the year. The Scarlet Knights (8-4, 1-3) are coming off a crushing defeat against Maryland, in which they picked up their first home loss of the last two seasons.
No. 11 Rutgers has struggled in Big Ten play, and this matchup against the Nittany Lions (8-3, 3-1) will be yet another battle for the Knights. No. 5 Penn State is coming into this game with a three-game winning streak, while Rutgers has lost 3 of its last 4 matchups.
Historically, the matchup between these two teams has been a great one as the Knights currently lead the all-time series 8-6, and each team has won 5 out of the last 10 matchups. Rutgers currently holds three consecutive wins against the Nittany Lions, dating back to 2021. A fourth win would mark the longest win streak among these two teams in the all-time head-to-head series.
The Knights may have a chip on their shoulder, though, as they are ranked below Penn State and have been struggling in conference play this season. On the other hand, the Nittany Lions have been beaten by Rutgers in recent years and may find some extra motivation to win.
Coming off a combined 7-18 record across 2021 and 2022, Penn State is a much-improved team this year and will be no slouch of an opponent for the Knights.
The Nittany Lions have battled and beaten high-caliber teams all season long. Of Penn State's 8 wins this season, 5 have come against teams currently ranked in the top 20 of Inside Lacrosse's latest media poll. No. 6 Cornell, No. 7 Johns Hopkins, No. 15 Penn, No. 18 Michigan and No. 19 Yale have all fallen to the Nittany Lions this season.
A big struggle for Rutgers in its recent loss to the Terrapins (8-3, 3-1) was finding the back of the cage on shot attempts. On 36 total shot attempts, the Knights only managed to score 8 goals against No. 3 Maryland, and many of their shots sailed off the mark as only 20 of the 36 shots were marked as shots on goal. In comparison, the Terrapins took 30 total shots, fewer than Rutgers, but 23 were on goal.
The Knights will need to lock in on offense and make the most of their shot attempts in this week's matchup. This will be a tough task against Penn State's goalkeeper Jack Fracyon, as he currently ranks No. 6 in the nation in save percentage, saving 56.7 percent of shots that come his way.
To get some shots past Fracyon, Rutgers will lean heavily on senior attackers Ross Scott and Brian Cameron and sophomore attacker Dante Kulas. The trio of attackers has combined for 75 of the team's 157 goals this season, each player tied with a team-leading 25 goals.
The game is the last of the regular season for both teams before they head into the Big Ten tournament. Faceoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday. The game will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network.
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