PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 21, 2012) – Led by a career-high five goals and six total points by redshirt sophomore A Scott Klimchak (Clark, N.J.), the Rutgers men’s lacrosse team bested Michigan, 13-9, Saturday at Yurcak Field. Senior A Kevin Hover (Belle Mead, N.J.) added his first hat trick of the season with three goals and one assist, as the Scarlet Knights (6-8) earned the win on Senior Night.
First-year head coach Brian Brecht’s squad found itself tied with the Wolverines (1-12) at 9-9 with 8:25 to go in the evening contest. The RU-UM matchup featured five ties and two lead changes. Rutgers found its offensive groove in the fourth period, pouring in four unanswered goals to close out the victory.
Freshman A Brian Goss (Arlington Heights, Ill.) scored his second point of the game with 7:29 left after an earlier assist. Klimchak netted his fourth and fifth goals off feeds from sophomore A Nick DePaolera (Kinnelon, N.J.), who finished with four points from four assists. Senior A Jonathan Lefferts (Moorsestown, N.J.) scored his first goal of the season on Hover’s assist to set the final score of 13-9.
“A great night for Rutgers Lacrosse,” Brecht said. “Our seniors have been great all year and they finished their careers in our white jerseys on Yurcak Field with a big win. It was exciting to see so many fans, youth players and alumni at the game. Our program has a rich tradition because of our proud and very supportive alumni. It was great having them on the sidelines for tonight’s game.
“Klimchak had a great second half shooting. I thought our first midfield of (Will) Mangan, (Michael) Deihl, and (Brian) Goss did a great job as they have been all year drawing slides and finding the opening inside. Give a lot of credit to (Nick) DePaolera and Blake Burkhart. Blake had a great second half, allowing us to have so many more extra possessions that led to more shooting opportunities for Klimchak and Hover.”
Rutgers’ Senior Night ceremony recognized M Michael Diehl (Flemington, N.J.), co-captain D Jacob Fradkin (Owings Mills, Md.), Hover, A Jonathan Lefferts (Moorsestown, N.J.), co-captain M Will Mangan (Maplewood, N.J), A Michael Stagnitta (Brewerton, N.Y.), D Ryan Warnick (Boonton Twp., N.J.), co-captain M Zach Zenda (Monmouth Junction, N.J.) and co-captain M Nick Zerrillo (Brewerton, N.Y.). The nine Scarlet Knights played in the final home game of their Rutgers careers.
Mangan, currently on the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, scored his team-leading 27th goal of the season at 9:53 in the first period. Rutgers held a 4-1 lead to start the game, with Klimchak’s first two goals and the opening score of the contest by Diehl at 13:01.
Mangan’s goal in the first period was the last score of the first half for Rutgers, setting the stage for the Scarlet Knights’ big second half. The night at Yurcak Field was additionally highlighted by Alumni Appreciation Day. Rutgers’ 1972 squad, the first NCAA tournament team in school history, was honored at halftime.
Klimchak scored his third goal of his career game to start RU’s third period, drawing RU within one goal of Michigan at 6-5 at 13:40. Hover notched his hat trick inside the third period with goals at 12:39, 11:53 and 5:30 to set the score at 8-7 in favor of Rutgers. Michigan tied the game twice before the Scarlet Knights assumed control in the final period.
The second half was impacted by freshman M Blake Burkhart (Newport Beach, Calif.), who won 12-of-14 faceoffs in the third and fourth periods. Burkhart helped Rutgers keep possession by scooping six ground balls, which tied for the team-lead with Hover. Mangan and freshman M Joseph Nardella (Cazenovia, N,Y.) both hauled in five ground balls.
Sophomore D Nick Contino (Branchburg, N.J.), Hover and Klimchak each caused three turnovers against the Wolverines. Junior G Joseph Donnelly (Newtown Sq., Pa.) manned the goal for RU, making six saves while allowing nine goals to earn the win (1-1). Rutgers outshot Michigan by a 50-26 margin.
The Scarlet Knights finish their regular season with a trip to BIG EAST opponent Georgetown. The Friday, April 27 game is set to begin at 7 p.m.
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