Maryland men’s lacrosse took a quick break from conference play in a midweek win over No. 5 Albany, but the Terps return to Big Ten competition against Rutgers for their third game in eight days.
The Scarlet Knights are in the midst of a breakout season, being ranked as high as No. 1 by Inside lacrosse at one point in the season. After an 11-5 finish last year, the Big Ten team out of New Jersey is slowly redefining the college lacrosse landscape. At the beginning of March, they beat three straight ranked opponents in Brown, Stony Brook and Princeton.
While this is certainly a dangerous Rutgers team, it’s catching Maryland at the wrong time. The Terps sit alone atop the Big Ten standings at 2-0 after beating Michigan and former No. 1 Penn State, and have won four straight against ranked opponents.
When and where: Sunday April 16th, 7 p.m. ET, Piscataway, N.J.
How to watch: Big Ten Network
No. 11 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-2, 1-1)
Head coach Brian Brecht: The sixth year head coach has quickly turned Rutgers into a powerhouse for the foreseeable future. Named the 2016 Big Ten Coach of the Year, the Scarlet Knights tied a program high with 11 wins last year, including three against ranked opponents. An 8-0 start to the season marks the program’s best start since 1955, and Brecht looks like he’s established a winning culture with continually improving recruiting classes.
Players to Know
No. 4 Kieran Mullins, freshman, attack. It seems like a weekly endeavor that Maryland has to face a talented goal-scoring freshman, and Mullins is no different. The Islip, N.Y. native has a team-high 47 points on the season behind 32 goals, and good for No. 8 in the country.
No. 10 Maxx Edelmann, junior, goalie. Edelmann only played in three games as a junior, but has seen tremendous success in the cage as the new starting goalie this year. With a save percentage of .536, Edelmann has 103 saves compared to just 89 goals allowed.
Overwhelming opponents with shots. The Scarlet Knights have taken 464 shots on the season, first in the Big Ten and second in the country. They’ve shot exactly 100 more times than the Terps, who rank fifth in the Big Ten.
The ‘hustle’ stats. One thing in particular the Terps will have difficulties with is Rutgers’ ability to strip the ball. The Scarlet Knights rank first in the country with 10.64 caused turnovers per game. The team has also scooped 371 ground balls, ranking sixth in the country and first in the Big Ten. Senior Chris Groel has been the anchor of the defense, leading the team with 49 scooped ground balls and eight caused turnovers.
Offensive efficiency. The Scarlet Knights can shoot the ball all day long, but they’re not particularly efficient at converting shots into goals. While an abundance of shots adheres to the “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take” mantra, the Scarlet Knights convert at a lowly .297 percentage. In comparison, Maryland converts more than 37 percent of its shots, ranking second in the country.