No. 16 Rutgers men’s lacrosse earned a 12-6 win in an in-state battle Saturday afternoon at Monmouth. With the victory, Rutgers improves to 5-0 on the season.
“The team was hungry today,” head coach Brian Brecht said. “They were focused in practice the last two days and this game meant a lot to them. I felt it was sloppy at times, but they certainly played hard for 60 minutes.”
Christian Mazzone and Scott Bieda each scored three goals, while Bieda added two assists for a game-best five points. Fellow starting attackers Jules Heningburg and Adam Charalambides each had three points with two goals and an assist apiece. The Scarlet Knights were also 18-of-21 in the faceoff circle.
“Alex Schoen stepped up and was huge going 17-of-20 facing off,” Brecht continued. “Scott Bieda plays so hard, riding and leading the offense as the QB, and had a big day with five points.”
Kris Alleyne made seven saves to earn the win, improving to 2-0. Rutgers outshot Monmouth 41-27 and held a dramatic 39-12 advantage in ground balls. RU was 16-of-18 on clears. The loss was the first of the season for the Hawks (2-1).
RU named its entire rope unit as gameday captains, and the unit proved its mettle. The group of Mazzone, Zack Sikora, Christian Scarpello, Austin Divitcos, Zackary Franckowiak, and Kyle Pless combined for four goals, two assists and 18 ground balls.
“The rope unit continues to impress me,” Brecht explained. “It was great to see Christian Mazzone follow up being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and lead the team in goals (three), ground balls (six) and caused turnovers (two).”
Rutgers jumped out to a big lead, taking a 5-1 advantage after one quarter. Monmouth answered back with the next two goals for a 5-3 halftime lead for the visitors. Monmouth cut as close as 5-4, but Rutgers responded to take a 7-4 lead.
The Hawks again cut the margin to two at 7-5. However, Mazzone scored his third goal of the day with just three seconds remaining in the third quarter. That sparked a run of five straight Rutgers goals, capped by a Chad Toliver tally that gave Rutgers its largest lead at 12-5. The Scarlet Knights would finish off the victory from there at 12-6.
“It was also an honor to have Dr. Charles Zakuakus join us, who is celebrating his 75-year anniversary of earning his first varsity letteras a Scarlet Knight,” Brecht said.
Next up for No. 16 Rutgers is a matchup on Friday night at No. 18 Stony Brook, with a start time of 6 p.m.
Rutgers is 5-0 for the first time since the 2003 season. That team started 7-0 en route to a NCAA Tournament appearance.
Christian Mazzone’s three goals were a career-high, and his first ever multi-goal game.
Redshirt freshman Adam Charalambides (two goals, one assist) has had at least three points in every career game.
Scott Bieda had his third game of the year with at least five points.
Jules Heningburg had his fourth consecutive multi-goal game.
Christian Scarpello scored his first goal of the season, and second of his career.
Two freshmen, Mark Christiano and Zackary Franckowiak each had one assist.
Alex Schoen finished 17-of-20 on faceoffs and shared the team-high with six ground balls.