CAMDEN, N.J.- After a month of playing challenging non-conference opponents, the JU men’s lacrosse team will have a final tune-up before starting league play when it travels to Rutgers to play the Scarlet Knights on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at RU Turf Field.
The Dolphins (2-4) will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak and start Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play with momentum. But Rutgers (4-1) has been strong defensively, holding opponents to a paltry five goals per game.
“It’s important we are playing our best lacrosse before league play begins,” JU head coach Matt Kerwick said. “Rutgers is another talented team and we need to be sharp and get back to fundamentals to have a chance to win.”Â Â
JU will try and bounce back from consecutive losses to Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary’s. The Dolphins will try and even its record on the current three-game road swing that culminates with its first-ever MAAC game at Canisius on Saturday.
The Dolphins offense has four players with double-digit points through the first six games. Leading the way is junior attackman Max Gurowski, who continues to have a breakout season with 12 assists and four goals for a team-leading 16 points.
Gurowski tallied five assists and one goal in 12 games as a reserve last year. The Webster, N.Y. native is now a fixture on the offensive side of the restraining line and is coming off a career-best five-point game against the Mount in which he netted four assists, scored a goal and also caused two turnovers.Â Â “Max has been our most consistent player since the start of the season,” Kerwick said. “His approach of making the simple plays is what our team needs to emulate.”Â
Cameron Mann (15 points) and TJ Kenary (12 points) also have been bedrocks on the offensive side. The duo combined for three goals against the Mount and will need to be sharp to combat a Rutgers unit that is averaging 11.4 goals per game and is out-shooting opponents by nearly 100 (195-98).
Defensemen Tanner Gard, Jake Ziegler and Corey Lovrich have started every game for JU this year and will be entrusted to curtail the Scarlet Knights from firing indiscriminately at freshman goalie Peter DeLuca.Â Â
Scott Klimchak has been one of Rutgers’ top playmaker, scoring eight goals and compiling eight assists. Duncan Clancy continues to facilitate big play for the Scarlet Knights, registering five goals and 14 assists for a team-leading 19 points.
In the goaltender matchup, DeLuca has made nine saves in his previous outing but allowed 12 goals through the first three quarters. Overall, the first-year netminder has posted 75 saves and a .528 save percentage in starting every contest. He will likely oppose Rutgers’ Joseph Donnelly, who has used good defensive support to boast a goals-against average of .486 but a save percentage of .452.