Connor Kirst Brings a New Dimension to Rutgers’ Midfield

(Photo Courtesy of Villanova Athletics)

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights laned the services of grad transfers Connor (midfielder) and Colin Kirst (goalie) earlier in the week. The brothers will be following in their late father’s, Kyle, footsteps, who played goalie ar Rutgers from 1988-1990. 

Connor, the eldest of the Kirst boys, comes to Rutgers after a very successful career at Villanova, where he was an All-American selection this past season. Similarly, Colin arrives at Rutgers after being a reserve goalie at Lehigh for the past four seasons. He will likely have a similar role with the Scarlet Knights as he had with the Mountain Hawks. 

Described by many as a workhorse midfielder, Connor is expected to make an immediate impact on Coach Brian Brecht’s squad in 2021. During his time at Villanova, he played in all 52 games and was a regular starter for the past three seasons, tallying a career total of 126 points (84G/42A). He also scooped up 101 ground balls, caused 15 turnovers. He also spent some time at the faceoff dot, especially during his first two seasons, going 44-for-137 overall. 

Before the 2020 season was cut short, Kirst had notched 24 points (17G/7A) through seven games.

At Rutgers, Kirst walks into a midfield room that features a ton of experience and, according to some, has the most potential of any midfield group in the Big Ten next season. Sophomore David Sprock (12G/5A) and juniors Brennan Kamish (5G/1A), and Tommy Coyne (4G/1A) are their top three returners next season. 

Kirst, one of the most versatile players in the country, immediately upgrades that group, bringing somewhat of an “X-Factor” that the Scarlet Knights’ offense, which has been very attack heavy in recent years, has needed at the midfield position. He is, without a doubt, a game-changer for this offense. 

Rutgers was 2-4 at the time the 2020 season was cut short, ending the season on a four-game losing streak that included a 16-11 loss to rival Princeton in their final game. Their two wins came over Quinnipiac and St. John’s in week one and two. 

The Scarlet Knights had the 35th-best scoring offense in the nation, averaging 12.5 goals per game under second-year offensive coordinator Eric Seremet. 

One would think that the addition of the eldest Kirst brother instantly improves the Scarlet Knights’ offense in 2020. Now, how that translates into the win column has yet to be seen, but if reality meets expectations, it should. 

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