PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers men’s lacrosse freshman goalie Greg Havalchak (Corning, NY) has been named the top freshman in the country by Inside Lacrosse magazine. In addition, Rutgers’ thrilling, 12-11, overtime victory over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome was ranked sixth on the magazine’s list for the Top 10 games of the season. Head Coach Jim Stagnitta was also given the “Overachiever Award” for guiding Rutgers, who was unranked to start the season, to a 10-5 record and a final ranking of seventh in the final USILA Poll (May 5).
Havalchak, who was named ECAC Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, was one of the main reasons Rutgers progressed from 2-12 last season to 10-5 this season, the biggest improvement in Division I lacrosse. He was ranked among the best in the nation for both goals-against average and save percentage all season. He finished the year ranked fourth in save percentage (.627) and 12th with a goals-against average of 7.55. Havalchak also accumulated as many or more saves than his opponent in every game of the 2003 season.
Rutgers’ 12-11 overtime victory over Syracuse on April 12 was Rutgers’ first win at Syracuse since the 1955 season. In that game, senior Jeff Duca (Fair Lawn, NJ) scored just 57 seconds into overtime to clinch the victory, while Havalchak posted 14 saves, including several spectacular stops in the final minutes to force the overtime session.