March 2, 2013
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MIAMI, Fla. - Senior attackman Garrett Thul led all players with seven goals en route to breaking Army's all-time goals record in a 12-1 win over Michigan on Saturday night. Playing in the marquee game of the second Orange Bowl Lacrosse Classic at Sun Life Stadium, Thul's effort brought his career total to 141 career goals and broke Scott Finlay's mark, which was set from 1975-78.
In the first meeting between the two programs, Army (3-2) dominated the Wolverines from the start and held an opponent to one goal for the first time since 2011. For his standout efforts, Thul took home the game's Most Valuable Player award and gave all credit to his teammates in a speech following the game.
"The record stood for a very long time and that's a credit to Scott Finlay's play," Thul said. "To break it right now is pretty incredible. It's not just about me; it's about all the guys I've played with through the years. If it hadn't been for them, I wouldn't have half of those goals."
Thul added one assist to lead all players with eight points on the night. Sophomore attackman John Glesener finished with five points (1G, 4A), while sophomore midfielder Alex Newsome added a pair of goals. Freshman attackman Will Mazzone and senior midfielder Andrew Boyd each added single goals in the Black Knights' third victory of the season.
Peter Kraus scored Michigan's (0-4) lone goal of the game with 10:27 left in the second quarter. The Black Knights scored all three goals of the first quarter and rattled off nine unanswered after Kraus' goal to secure the win. During that scoring surge, Thul scored a natural hat trick with a trio of second-quarter goals spanning from 9:21-5:22.
"I'm tremendously proud of Garrett," said eighth-year head coach Joe Alberici following the game. "He has been a pillar in our program from the day he walked onto campus. I have so much respect for the Army tradition and the great players who have come before him. For him to have that goal-scoring record is something very special and says a lot about him. It also says a lot about the great players he's played with."
Army outshot the Wolverines 52-18 and scored three man-up goals. The teams nearly split face-off wins with Michigan holding a slight 9-of-18 edge. The Black Knights picked up 35 ground balls, including a team high four from sophomore defensive midfielder Al DeStefano, to the Wolverines' 32.
"Tonight was a great team effort," Alberici said. "The extra-man unit played very well. Michigan had to support some of our dodgers as well, which allowed Garrett to get free on the back end of some of those plays. There aren't many people in the country who can finish plays at the end like he can, but it certainly was a team effort tonight."
Of those 53 Army shots, Michigan goalkeeper Logan Gerald saved 25.
"Logan is a tremendous goalie and has played terrific in his first three games," Alberici continued. "At times, we were trying to change levels, and guys were shooting the ball in ways they normally don't. We missed the cage, but I think a lot of that goes right back to Michigan's goalkeeper."
Appropriately, Thul got Army on the board 5:13 into the game off a feed from Glesener, who later found Boyd from "x" for the Black Knights' second goal at the 6:26 mark. On the ensuing face-off, which rookie Alex Daly won, freshman Connor Cook picked up the ground ball and found Thul for a turnaround shot that gave the Black Knights a 3-0 lead with 6:11 to go in the first quarter.
Michigan's lone goal of the game opened the second quarter scoring at the 10:27 mark. Just over a minute later Thul began his three-goal assault, which included a pair of man-up goals off Mazzone assists, extending the Black Knights' lead to a comfortable6-1. That score stood at halftime.
Army starting goalkeeper Sam Somers made eight of his 12 saves in the second half, helping to keep Michigan off the scoreboard. The Black Knights, meanwhile, exploded for six second-half goals. Newsome scored back-to-back spanning the third and fourth quarters, while Thul's record-breaking goal came as Army took advantage of a failed Michigan clear and scored with 7:02 remaining in the game. Boyd earned the assist on the play.
Hoping to carry momentum into next week, the Black Knights conclude a three-game road swing next Saturday, March 9, at Rutgers. Face-off is set for 1 p.m. in Piscataway, N.J.
Game Notes: Senior tri-captain Andrew Boyd carried the nation's colors onto the field ... Army last allowed just one goal in a 14-1 win over Wagner on March 13, 2011 ... in a battle of nationally ranked teams, the Florida women defeated Syracuse in the game prior to Army-Michigan ... Garrett Thul tied a career-high with eight points ... junior goalkeeper Bobby Sincero played the final 5:33 of the game ... Will Mazzone finished with a career-high three points (1G, 2A).