PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Jan. 28, 2014) by athletic communications student assistant John Granda –The Rutgers men’s lacrosse team looks to get back to its winning ways. A new season brings excitement to the entire team as it enters its final year of BIG EAST play and first year playing at High Point Solutions Stadium.
Reigning BIG EAST goalkeeper of the year Kris Alleyne (New City, N.Y.) looks forward to getting a fresh start in 2014.
“We are really just trying to keep pushing forward with everything we do, whether it is in the classroom, on the field or in the weight room,” said Alleyne. “We’re just trying to get better every day.”
The sophomore had a stellar first year playing for the Scarlet Knights, helping anchor a Rutgers defense by finishing first in the BIG EAST in saves per game and save percentage.
Alleyne ranked first in the BIG EAST in total saves with 196, averaging 14.00 per game in his 14 games played.
“I’m really looking past that,” added the sophomore, who was recently named a 2014 Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook DI Preseason Honorable Mention All-American. “I’d rather put wins in that category than have personal success. Obviously, it’s an honor getting everything last year, but I’m really looking to use that to push my teammates, push our defense, holding everything in and becoming a successful unit.”
The squad will also begin playing its first full season at High Point Solutions Stadium, the same facility used for the Rutgers football team, after having played at Yurcak Field and the RU Turf Field at the Stadium Complex.
“We’re all excited to play in a big venue,” said senior attackman Scott Klimchak (Clark, N.J.). “There are not really any bigger venues than playing at High Point Solutions. It’s going to be awesome and everyone’s pretty excited. It’s just going to be a really good experience for all of our home games.”
Klimchak proved to be one of the Scarlet Knights’ best offensive weapons in 2013. He ranked fifth in the BIG EAST in goals per game, averaging 2.13 per contest. His 32 goals and 39 points led the team, and he hopes to continue with his great form entering his final season.
“I want to just keep doing what I’ve been doing, and having fun out there with all the guys,” said the fifth-year senior. “Our team chemistry this year is really good, so I feel like that will help us stay consistent and score.”
Klimchak managed to score in every game for the Scarlet Knights last season, and he looks to maintain that with an offense that is returning 98 percent of its scoring from a year ago.
When asked about their last year playing in the BIG EAST, both Klimchak and Alleyne are eager to get back onto the field, hoping to finish Rutgers’ tenure in the BIG EAST with a title and a spot in the NCAA tournament.
“I can only really say that we want to go out with a title,” said Alleyne. “We’re working hard in the offseason, working hard in the weight room, on the field. We just want to end in the best way possible, with a ring on it.”
Rutgers will play in the Big Ten Conference beginning in 2015.
Klimchak had the same feeling about ending the season with a championship, adding that the only way to get it done is with a total team effort.
“I feel like we’re going to be underestimated by a lot of teams and I feel like we’re going to surprise a lot of people this year. We’re returning 10 of our starters (including the faceoff specialist), an All-American goalie and all of our defense is basically back. It’s looking good and we’re really excited to get it going.”
Klimchak is one of 14 returning seniors on the Scarlet Knights’ roster, hoping to make this last year a memorable one.
The Scarlet Knights open up the regular season hosting Manhattan on Feb. 8 at 1 p.m.
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