PISCATAWAY, NJ—Rutgers lacrosse fans will be treated to a double dose of action this weekend, as both the men's and women's teams will play at High Point Solutions Stadium on February 27.
The men's team has been the most pleasant surprise among Rutgers' spring sports. The Scarlet Knights come into the weekend contest at 2-0.
It is a small sample size, but the team has impressed in those two games, and have even received votes in the most recent Inside Lacrosse poll.
A dominant win over Fairfield could be enough to propel the Scarlet Knights into next week's rankings.
Rutgers began its season with a 19-11 win over St. John's. The Scarlet Knights were unphased by the freezing temperatures that day, as the offense came out hot. Senior captain Scott Bieda scored five goals and four assists, earning him Big Ten and NCAA Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Redshirt freshman attacker Adam Charalambides began his Scarlet Knights career with a bang against the Red Storm, scoring a team-high six goals and was recognized as the Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
Last Saturday, Rutgers went on the road for a much tougher test, taking on Army in West Point. It was a revenge game of sorts for the Scarlet Knights, who dropped a close 9-7 game to #11 Army in Piscataway last season.
In last week's matchup, fans were treated to an exhilarating, back-and-forth matchup. Army held an 11-10 lead in the fourth quarter, but with just over five minutes left in the contest, Rutgers went on a 3-0 run to secure the 13-11 victory.
Six of Rutgers' 13 goals came from Charalambides, who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for a second week in a row.
Fairfield heads to Piscataway with an 0-2 record. The Stags dropped a pair of home contests to Richmond (11-10) and Bucknell (13-8).
For what it's worth, Richmond received votes in the latest Inside Lacrosse poll, and Bucknell is listed at #20, so Fairfield has a couple of quality losses on their schedule.
Before the men take the field at approximately 3:30pm, the women will look to even up their record at 2-2 when they host Delaware at noon.
The women's team will attempt to rebound from a 14-2 blowout loss to #15 Johns Hopkins last Sunday in front of the home crowd.
While the Scarlet Knights took it on the chin in their last contest and sit at just 1-2 on the season, there is still a lot of optimism about this team. They opened the season with an impressive road victory, downing Villanova 14-8 on February 12.
They concluded a brief two-game road trip in Long Branch when they faced interstate foe Monmouth. Unfortunately, Monmouth jumped out an early 7-0 lead, and the Scarlet Knights never recovered. Despite the 12-10 loss, Rutgers' ladies showed a lot of fight, going on a 10-5 run to finish the game.
The loss to Johns Hopkins did not have many positives to point out, but there rarely are when going against a perrenial lacrosse powerhouse like the Blue Jays.
Delaware presents another challenge for Rutgers, as the Blue Hens come into Saturday's contest at 3-1. While they have wins over Georgetown, George Washington, and La Salle, perhaps Delaware's most impressive showing came in their one loss.
The Blue Hens went to Philadelphia to visit UPenn, then ranked 13th in the nation. Delaware was unable to pull off the upset, but went to toe-to-toe with one of the country's best teams, losing a close 12-10 contest.
A win over Delaware on Saturday would be big for the Scarlet Knights, who look to put last year's 2-16 record in the rearview mirror.