PISCATAWAY, N.J. (February 27, 2007) – The Rutgers men's lacrosse team (1-0) opened its season with a 17-9 win over Dowling College (0-1) on Tuesday afternoon at the RU Turf Field. Five Scarlet Knight players recorded multiple goals, led by senior tri-captain Matt Gaines' (Abingdon, Md.) four scores. Sophomore captain Jeff Rommel (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Taylor Bottar (Syracuse, N.Y.) each added three goals as eight different Scarlet Knights recorded goals in the game.
The 17 goals were the most scored by the Scarlet Knights in a season-opener since the 1997 season and the most in any game since defeating Quinnipiac 17-4 on March 13, 2004. Head coach Jim Stagnitta was pleased with the results from his team.
"Dowling shoots the ball very well and we knew coming in we'd have to contain them defensively. I thought we could have done a better job on our containment, but some of our young kids stepped up today. We had a lot of young kids out there who got a lot of good experience," he said.
The Scarlet Knights started the game with a four unanswered goals and with just over minutes remaining in the first quarter built a 6-1 lead. Dowling's offense came alive, however, and scored two goals to trail by just two at the end of the first quarter.
Dowling closed the gap to 6-5 two minutes into the second quarter after goals by Timothy Witt and Kyle O'Brien. Rutgers' defense then went on to hold Dowling scoreless for nearly 10 minutes of play as RU's offense scored five unanswered goals. Colin Checcio (Wayne, Pa.), Chris White (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Bottarand Gaines all scored in the second quarter to give RU an 11-6 lead at the half.
The Golden Eagles managed just three goals in the second half of play as the Scarlet Knights' offense continued its solid play. RU had a 15-7 lead after three quarters after goals by Josh Ashcraft (Carthage, N.Y.), Justin Pennington (Flemington, N.J.), Rommel, Bottar and Gaines. Ashcraft finished the game with a team-high two assists. Gaines scored the Scarlet Knights' final goal of the game to give his team a 17-9 lead and the eventual win.
In goal for Rutgers, junior Lyle Farrar (Lexington, Va.) made 14 saves in his first-ever collegiate start. Dowling goalies Frank Melhus and Nick Tracey split time in goal, with Melhus taking the loss for the Golden Eagles.
Dowling was led in scoring by John McClure, who scored a game-high five goals in his collegiate debut. Four other Golden Eagles finished with one goal apiece.