Rutgers men's lacrosse falls to Maryland in Big Ten Tournament
The Rutgers men's lacrosse team was eliminated from the first round of the Big Ten Tournament with a 14-11 loss against Maryland last night. This matchup for the Scarlet Knights (8-6, 1-4) was vital for their hopes of making the NCAA Tournament, but the team could not pull off the win.
This game was the second matchup in two weeks between the Terrapins (9-4, 3-2) and No. 14 Rutgers. No. 7 Maryland was able to get the better of the Knights in both contests, achieving victory by a margin of 3 goals in both games.
The game began with a goal for the Terrapins with 12:49 to go in the opening period before Rutgers responded with a goal from junior midfielder Jack Aimone approximately 2 minutes later. Maryland then scored the next 3 goals and finished the first period leading 4-1.
Slow starts have been a problem for the Knights recently. In the April 16 game against the Terrapins, Rutgers opened up the game trailing 5-0. In the next game against Penn State, it was the same 5-0 deficit early on.
Now needing to claw their way back into the game, the Knights struck first in the second period with another goal from Aimone. The goal did not spark much of a rally, though, as Maryland quickly responded with a goal of its own.
The teams went back and forth in the second period. Aimone remained lethal in front of the net, scoring his 3rd goal of the game before any of his teammates had scored. The period ended with both teams scoring 4 goals. The Terrapins took an 8-5 lead heading into halftime.
Maryland was the main aggressor in the first half as the Terrapins took six more shots on goal than Rutgers, and senior goalkeeper Kyle Mullin made three more saves than Maryland's Brian Ruppel.
The offenses slowed down for both teams in the third period, as there were only 2 goals scored in total. The Terrapins scored both of those goals to extend their lead to 10-5 heading into the final period of play.
Both teams' offenses came back alive in the fourth period, as 10 total goals were scored. With 7:08 left to play, the Knights needed a big comeback attempt as they faced a 7-goal deficit. Rutgers was able to put forth one final push, scoring 4 goals in a row, but the comeback attempt was too little too late.
With the loss, the Knights must hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. There may not be much hope for Rutgers, though, as Lacrosse Reference's bracketology gives the team a 0 percent chance of receiving a bid.
Assuming the Knights do not make the NCAA Tournament, they finish the season losing 5 of their last 6 games. With a strong 7-1 out-of-conference record, Rutgers most likely did not perform well enough in Big Ten play to receive a bid, as it won just one game against conference opponents.
The NCAA Tournament selection show will be held on May 7.
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