Wagner vs. Rutgers
February 21, 2012
The Game Story:
Staten Island, NY – The Wagner College men’s lacrosse team, under the direction of first-year head coach Matt Poskay, was a handful for BIG EAST member Rutgers, battling the Scarlet Knights tooth and nail before coming up on the short end of a 9-5 decision at bone-chilled and wind-swept Wager College Stadium.

This was a tight, competitive game throughout, a departure from Wagner’s recent history with Rutgers. In the three previous matchups vs. the Scarlet Knights, the Seahawks were out-scored by a combing 58-10, losing by scores of 17-1 in 2009, 24-4 in 2010, and 17-5 in 2011.

With the win, Rutgers improves to 2-1 while the Seahawks fall to 0-2 on the young season.

Rutgers quickly realized it was in for a tussle when Seahawk sophomore goalie Nicholas Gibaldi (Rocky Point, NY) came up with several key saves, several of the acrobatic variety. Despite being out-shot 10-3 in the opening quarter, the Scarlet Knights held just a 3-1 lead, a lead the would quickly shrink to 3-2 just 48 seconds into the second frame when junior midfielder Nick DePhillips (Glen Ridge, NJ/ Glen Ridge) sent home an unassisted rocket past Rutgers goalie Rudy Butler.

Will Mangan and Scott Klimchak combined on a Rutgers tally as Klimchak found the back of the cage off at the 10:50 mark off a Mangan feed, a bang-bang play that put Rutgers on top 4-2. Undaunted, the feisty Seahawks scrapped right back 31 seconds later with another DePhilips unassisted score to make it a 4-3 game. In the waning minutes of the opening half, Rutgers put together a dangerous, well-executed possession that ended with Mangan notching another assist, finding Michael Diehl for what appeared to be a momentum-building 5-3 lead at 1:06, a lead that Knights would take into the locker room at halftime.

Following intermission, the teams engaged in more than half a quarter of closely contested, scoreless lacrosse until senior midfielder William Hedges (Shoreham, NY/ Shoreham) broke free for an unassisted goal with 7:10 left in the third quarter drew Wagner within 5-4 as the Seahawk bench and Green & White faithful in the stands erupted in unison.

Rutgers, however, countered with a pair of goals, by Diehl and Mangan, respectively, to open its widest lead of the game at 7-4, with the Mangan goal coming at 13:51 of the fourth. The Seahawks still had fight, though, as junior midfielder Colin O’Rourke (Worcester, MA/ St. John’s Shrewsbury) shook loose for an unassisted goal with 11:16 to go which again made it a two-goal game at 7-5.

The Scarlet Knights then put the game away with two late fourth quarter goals, by Mangan at 6:20, and by Nick DePaolera with 1:00 remaining to fashion the final score at 9-5.

Mangan was the game’s to offensive player, amassing five points on three goals and two assists for the Scarlet Knights while Brian Goss had three points on two early goals and one assist. Diehl wound up with two goals while Klimchak and DePaolera had one each.

For Wagner, DePhillips and O’Rourke, a talented midfield tandem that Wagner fans will hear a lot from this season, had two goals apiece while Hedges had one goal. Defenseman Dustin Doty (Sherman Oaks, CA/ Crespi Carmelite) was active throughout the contest, collecting team-highs in ground balls (5) and caused turnovers (3).

Statistically, Rutgers held a 42-14 edge in shots, led in ground balls 26-18 while winning 12-of-18 faceoffs. While Rutgers’ advantage in total shots was one-sided, only 22 of the 42 shots were on goal.

Both teams’ extra-man down units had solid afternoons as Wagner was just 1-of-5 on EMOs while the Scarlet Knights were 0-of-2. The Seahawks were guilty of 18 turnovers while Rutgers turned the ball over 12 times.

Wagner is back at it on Saturday, February 25 when the Seahawks travel to former MAAC rival Providence for a 1:00 pm faceoff.