With new head coach Brian Brecht at the helm, Rutgers University Men's Lacrosse is looking to start the season with a 5-2 record as they travel to meet the Black Knights of Army.
Coming off of a 9-6 victory over Lafayette, Rutgers has been seeing solid contributions on the offensive end of the field. With senior midfielder Will Mangan demanding attention from opposing defenses, his 15 goals and three assists have opened things up for others to succeed.
Sophomore Nicholas DePaolera has nine goals and nine assists on attack, while classmate Scott Klimchak has added 11 goals and two assists.
With six players in double-digit point totals, the Scarlet Knights have spread out the offense, contrary to the philosophy of former coach Jim Stagnitta. Stagnitta tended to lean on superstars to dominate the scoring, leaving lop-sided point totals and poor results.
After sharing time with Joseph Donnelly in his first two years at Rutgers, junior Rudy Butler has added stability to the goalie position. His 48% save percentage needs to improve, but having a go-to guy in net is always nice for a first-year head coach.
With bad losses to Duke and UMBC, Rutgers now faces a Scarlet Knights team that is trying to improve with every game as they near Big East play.
For Army, a 2-3 record after facing three Top-10 teams thus far has been quite the test.
With Junior attacker Garrett Thul leading the way (16g, 1a), Army has been able to score the ball well. In their two wins over Wagner and VMI, the Black Knights totaled 38 goals. Although not top competition, these goal totals are promising as the season moves along.
Against Syracuse, Army was able to hold the Orange to 10 goals, losing only by one. Also, when facing No. 5 Massachussetts, Army was competitive. They hung in but lost 12-9.
Coming off of a lopsided loss to No. 2 Cornell, Army is looking forward to playing a team that is beatable.
The Black Knights lean on senior goaltender Zach Palmieri, who has a 48% save rate thus far.
With goalies that can be beaten and two scoring offenses, this game should be a high-scoring affair.
Both teams have to believe that they can win this game. The winner of this game will certainly have their season on track, while the loser will be looking for answers as we near the halfway point of the 2012 season.