The hottest program in Rutgers athletics made another statement Wednesday night in a clash of New Jersey undefeated. After a day delay because of winter storms, Rutgers lacrosse took the field with confidence against No. 15 Princeton, and sent a message.
The message? No. 5 may not be high enough in the rankings for Rutgers, which won its first game over the Tigers in 12 years.
“It’s a great, great win for our program,” head coach Brian Brecht said after the 16-11 victory. “We’ve played Princeton for 95 years and that’s the thirtieth win that Rutgers has had. Player make plays, and I’m so proud of how we handled the quick turnaround and three days prep to be able beat a ranked team, a crosstown rival.”
After a brutal snub in last year's NCAA tournament, Rutgers and Brecht know every game on the schedule matters. Rutgers plays at NJIT tomorrow with another rivalry game against Delaware and Big Ten play coming soon.
“(We're) going on the road with a rival the next state over in Delaware,” Brecht told Scarlet Report earlier in the season. “Then it's Big Ten play and we need to keep on getting better. I hope this opportunity (against Wagner) gave us a chance to get better and grow some depth but also understand how important it is to come with a lot of energy and take care of their responsibilities on game day. There's a lot of good teams out there. I think we're one of them but I want to keep on growing and getting better as the season goes on.”
While Rutgers has one first-place vote and could get more after the decisive Princeton victory, two Big Ten teams sit ahead of the Scarlet Knights in Penn State and Maryland. Rutgers gets them both in mid-April and likely sees one again in the conference tournament.