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Rutgers men's lacrosse to close out regular season against No. 10 Penn State

Senior midfielder Jack Aimone, who has scored 20 goals this season, will look to be an offensive threat when the Rutgers men's lacrosse team takes on Penn State on Friday night. – Photo by Christian Sanchez

The Rutgers men's lacrosse team will finish its regular season against Penn State on Friday night. The Scarlet Knights (7-5, 1-3) will host the Nittany Lions (8-3, 2-2) on Senior Day and Alumni Appreciation Day at SHI Stadium on Busch campus.

Rutgers is coming off a tough 11-6 road loss to Maryland. The Knights made it a 1-goal game in the final quarter, but the Terrapins (8-3, 3-1) went on a 4-0 scoring run to seal the win.

Despite losing three Big Ten games, Rutgers has put up a fight in all its conference losses. The Knights trailed Johns Hopkins 8-7 heading into the fourth quarter and were only down 5-3 against Ohio State at halftime.

"We've been seeing some progress and growth and development from the individual players that we're putting on the field, offensively and defensively," said head coach Brian Brecht. "It's just about putting it all together … Right now, just gotta do a better job of putting the ball in the back of the cage, scoring the ball."

No. 10 Penn State comes to Piscataway after a 14-8 win against Michigan. TJ Malone scored a team-leading 5 goals, and Kyle Lehman had a hat trick to earn the team's second conference win.

Matt Traynor leads the Nittany Lions with 32 goals, the third-most in the Big Ten. Malone has a team-high 56 points off 28 goals and 28 assists. Malone averages the most assists per game in the Big Ten and has the fourth-most goals in the conference.

Jack Fracyon is one of the best goalkeepers in the nation, boasting a .587 save percentage and 9.51 goals against average, which are the sixth-highest and ninth-best in NCAA Division I men's lacrosse, respectively.

Rutgers will look to its attack to build on its strong record against Penn State. Despite losing 14-5 last season, the Knights are 46-25 all-time against the Nittany Lions and are 5-1 against the latter in their previous six home games since 2010.

Rutgers will need senior midfielders Shane Knobloch and Jack Aimone, graduate student attacker Ross Scott and freshman midfielder Colin Kurdyla to make a difference against Penn State. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Cardin Stoller, sophomore long-stick midfielder Ryan Splaine and junior defender Tommy Mendyke will be key defensively.

If other scenarios go their way, a win against the Nittany Lions could give the Knights as high as a No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. If Rutgers loses, it would have to play the Buckeyes (6-7, 1-3) or Penn State on the road.

"Right now, we're just focused on Rutgers and taking care of our seniors on Friday night in a big game," Brecht said. "We're just taking care of ourselves (which has) basically been a theme each week. We gotta just take care of Rutgers, we gotta make sure we're doing what we do to the best of our ability, executing, delivering on the performance and we'll take the Big Ten Tournament when it comes."

Friday's game will begin at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network and 88.7 WRSU-FM.

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

To view more of Matthew Mangam's work, follow @matthewmangam on X.

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