April 21, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Twelve different players scored a goal and senior Derek Sipperly won 12-of-14 face-offs in the second half as the No. 20 Army lacrosse team turned a 5-4 halftime deficit into a 15-6 rout of Holy Cross in the Patriot League regular-season finale on Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium. The victory extended the Black Knights' win streak to three games and improved the team to 7-6 overall and 4-2 in conference play.
Army honored twelve seniors and their families prior to the contest and Sipperly was not the only one to shine in his final game at Michie Stadium. Midfielder Devin Lynch registered his second hat trick of the season (3G, 1A), attackman John Adair scored a career-high two man-up goals and close defenseman Larry LoRusso went end-to-end for his first career goal. Classmate Conor Hayes tallied a goal and two assists on the day, while goalkeeper Zach Palmieri made 11 saves - nine of which came in the first half.
A back-and-forth first half resulted in Holy Cross (5-9, 0-6) holding a 5-4 lead at the break. Army's offense exploded for nine goals in the third quarter, including three man-up goals during a two-minute non-releasable penalty on the Crusaders. Sipperly dominated with a 9-of-10 effort in the "x" during the decisive third frame. He finished the day 18-of-23.
"We were disappointed with the score at halftime, but Holy Cross is a much better team than the record indicates," said seventh-year head coach Joe Alberici, who has his Black Knights Patriot League Tournament bound once again. "The third quarter really came down to Derek Sipperly and the face-off unit. When you win 12-of-14 in the second half, it makes all the difference in the world.
"We also made a few shooting adjustments, wanting to test Holy Cross up high," he continued. "Another senior, Devin Lynch, stepped up, driving down and sticking one high to get us going. In addition, it's been a while since we've had a lot of extra-man work. We just haven't had the opportunities to get that unit on the field a lot in the last five or six games. They came up huge today, especially during that two-minute non-releasable penalty. To get three goals in that short span was sort of a back-breaker."
After Holy Cross broke the ice with the lone goal of the first quarter, Army responded with four unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead with 11:16 to go in the second quarter. Junior midfielder Alex Van Krevel (14:11) and junior attackman Garrett Thul (13:58) both scored unassisted within a 13-second span before junior attackman Andrew Boyd's 12-yarder off an Alex Carros pass got Army a 3-1 lead. After a Palmieri save, Larry LoRusso cleared the ball himself and wound up the long pole for his first career goal at the 11:16 mark as the Black Knights stretched their lead to 4-1.
The Crusaders retaliated before the quarter came to a close, however, netting four-straight goals to take a 5-4 lead at intermission.
Army came out clicking on all cylinders to open the third quarter. Thanks in large part to the dominant success within the face-off unit, the Black Knights held Holy Cross scoreless in the third and did not allow the Crusaders an offensive possession until more than five minutes had passed in the frame.
"We came out of halftime just looking to do everything we could to turn it around," said Sipperly following the game. "It didn't matter who it came from. I just gave it my all and things started rolling our way. Holy Cross' guy (A.J. Guarente) came in around 53 percent, which is good for any face-off guy. I just stuck to what I know and believed in myself. A lot of being a face-off guy comes down to confidence and mental toughness."
Meanwhile, Army exploded for four goals in the first 4:03 of the third quarter with Lynch having a hand in three of the tallies. The tri-captain wove through traffic for Army's first goal of the second half at the 14:22 mark, while assisting on rookie attackman John Glesener's 16th goal of the season at 13:32. Sophomore midfielder Tyler Kamide reeled in a pass from Carros at the 12:28 mark before Lynch netted his second goal of the game at 10:57.
Neither team scored over the next five minutes, but Holy Cross' Clay Haarmann headed into the box with a two-minute non-releasable penalty for a check to the head with 5:42 on the clock. Army's extra-man unit made Holy Cross pay with three goals in just over a minute span. Adair tallied two of the goals, while junior midfielder Pat Brennan accounted for the other.
The Black Knights scored twice more before the end of the third quarter and never looked back.
Junior John Hannan led Holy Cross with two goals. Army junior defenseman Brendan Buckley played a vital role in the Black Knights holding junior James Kennedy, Holy Cross' leading scorer and member of the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, to just one goal on the day.
With the Patriot League regular season coming to an end, Army looks ahead to the Patriot League Tournament next weekend. The Black Knights will play as the third seed and drew No. 2 Lehigh in a semifinal match-up next Friday, April 27, at 8 p.m. The winner of that game will take on the winner of No. 1 Colgate and No. 4 Bucknell in Sunday's championship game at 3 p.m. All three games will be played at regular-season champion Colgate's Andy Kerr Stadium and can be seen live on CBS Sports Network.
Game Notes: Army carried out the "Dalton Family Flag" as a tribute to senior day ... Tom Dalton was one of 12 members of the Class of 2012 honored before the game ... James MacGibbon earned his second career start on Senior Day ... Army improved to 22-0 all-time against Holy Cross ... rookie John Glesener matched a career-high three assists for the second-straight game ... the Black Knights posted a 5-2 record at Michie Stadium this season ... Army's 12 members of the Class of 2012 included John Adair, Tom Dalton, Shane Finlay, Conor Hayes, Tim Henderson, Matt Hurley, Brian LoRusso, Larry LoRusso, James MacGibbon, Zach Palmieri and Derek Sipperly.