NCAA Team Reviews: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Photo credit to Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics
Photo credit to Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics

For the better part of four months, many of us watched some exciting college lacrosse, whether it was on TV, online, or in person. There were good games, which included all of Championship Weekend, and there were bad games, such as low scoring affairs and of course, the horrendous winter weather. I take a look back at all 69 Division I teams and how they fared this season and what to look forward to in 2016.

Check out previous recaps: NJIT Highlanders, UMass Lowell River Hawks, VMI Keydets, Manhattan Jaspers, Canisius Golden Griffins, Robert Morris Colonials, St. John’s Red Storm, Wagner Seahawks, Binghamton Bearcats, Bellarmine Knights, Jacksonville Dolphins, Furman Paladins, Lafayette Leopards


2014 Record 8-8
2014 Conference Record 3-3 (4th in Big East)
2014 Scoring Offense 12.13 Goals Per Game (10th in DI)
2014 Scoring Defense 11.19 Goals Against Per Game (48th in DI)
2014 Goals Leaders #29 Scott Klimchak – Senior (38 Gs)
2014 Assists Leader #47 Scott Bieda – Sophomore (24 As)
2014 Points Leader #29 Scott Klimchak – Senior (43 Pts)
2014 Goaltending Leader #4 Kris Alleyne – Sophomore (.504 SV %)
2014 Face-Off Leader #15 Joseph Nardella – Junior (.632 FO %)
2014 Ground Balls Leader #15 Joseph Nardella – Junior (137 GBs)
2014 Caused Turnovers Leader #3 Nick Contino – Senior (19 CTs)
2014 Quality Wins Army (9-8 OT), St. John’s (16-13)
2014 Bad Losses Marquette (14-13), Villanova (15-11)


2015 Record 5-10
2015 Conference Record 1-4 (Last in Big Ten)
2015 Scoring Offense 10.33 Goals Per Game (26th in DI)
2015 Scoring Defense 10.33 Goals Per Game (26th in DI)
2015 Goals Leader #47 Scott Bieda – Senior (30 Gs)
2015 Assists Leader #47 Scott Bieda – Senior (28 As)
2015 Points Leader #47 Scott Bieda – Senior (58 Pts)
2015 Goaltending Leader #4 Kris Alleyne – Junior (.466 SV %)
2015 Face-Off Leader #15 Joe Nardella – Senior (.670 FO %)
2015 Ground Balls Leader #15 Joe Nardella – Senior (125 GBs)
2015 Caused Turnovers Leader #55 Chris Groel – Sophomore (11 CTs)
2015 Quality Wins Delaware (17-12), Ohio State (17-10)
2015 Bad Losses Monmouth (10-9), Michigan (10-8)



Rutgers transitioned to the Big Ten conference in 2015, a much tougher conference than the Big East, and did not win a conference game until the last game of the regular season, a 17-10 upset against Ohio State. But before conference play, the team didn’t fare well either, compared to 2014, with good wins coming against St. John’s and Delaware. Numbers wise, their offense took a dip in 2015, but slightly improved on defense.

The Scarlet Knights started off the season pretty good, going 2-2 in their first four games, bookending with wins against St. John’s and Wagner, but lost against Virginia schools Richmond and UVA. The team then had a three game losing streak, including giving Monmouth their first ever win, before snapping that with a five goal win against Delaware. After alternating a loss against Princeton and a blowout win against NJIT, the team entered Big Ten conference play for the first time. Rutgers played competitively against Hopkins, Michigan, Maryland, and Penn State, but failed to record wins against either team. They lost those four games by a combined 10 goals, five goals against Penn State alone. Then, in what was their brightest spot of the season, the team shockingly upset Ohio State 17-10 in what senior captain Joe Nardella described it as a “fairytale ending,” which saw the Scarlet Knights shut out the Buckeyes 7-0 in the second quarter.

Rutgers looks to improve in 2016 in year two of the Big Ten conference. Knowing that they can compete against powerhouse teams such as Johns Hopkins and national runner-up Maryland, the Scarlet Knights will look to keep hanging in against their Big Ten opponents and learn how to finish against those teams. Graduation to players such as Scott Bieda, Rich Rambo, and Joe Nardella will hurt Rutgers, so Head Coach Brian Brecht and his staff will be challenged to find good replacements to keep the team competitive, including in their non-conference schedule in 2016.


Gage Bradshaw Defense Plano West (TX)
Christian Scarpello Midfield Madison (NJ)
Adam Graham Defense/LSM Clearview Regional (NJ)
Nick Attanasio Midfield Bridgewater-Raritan (NJ)
Griffin Hayes Defense/LSM Wyoming Seminary (PA)
Ben Dodson Midfield Coppell (TX)
Brian Nugyen Goalie Eastern Tech (MD)
Paul Rasimowicz Midfield/FO Immaculata (NJ)
Garrett Bullett LSM Corner Canyon (UT)
Ryan Cunningham Attack/Midfield Watchung Hills (NJ)
Zack Franckowiak Midfield/FO Corner Canyon (UT)
Garrett Michaeli LSM/Defense Corner Canyon (UT)
Max Edelman Goalie Middletown/CCBC Essex (MD)
Jack Ayre Goalie Watchung Hills (NJ)

The Scarlet Knights lose nine seniors next season, and bring in a ton of players on defense and midfield, with eight of the nine departing players coming from those two positions. It’s interesting to see that Rutgers recruited three players from Utah’s Corner Canyon. One possible reason why could be linked to defensive coordinator James Mitchell. Before coming to Rutgers in 2014, Mitchell was the defensive coordinator, goalie coach, and recruiting coordinator at Bellarmine, and helped recruit and coach players such as Bobby Schmitt, who’s from the west coast. Along with the three Utah commits, the Scarlet Knights also recruited two kids from Texas. The recruiting in non-traditional areas could pay off for the Big Ten school in 2016 and in the next few seasons.