Feb. 7, 2013
Army at UMass Game Notes
WEST POINT, N.Y. - For the third year in a row, the Army lacrosse team opens the season against Massachusetts. This Sunday afternoon, the Black Knights travel to Amherst, Mass., as historic Garber Field provides the backdrop for the lid lifter for both teams. The Minutemen, who enter the year nationally ranked in both preseason polls, defeated Army, 12-9, in the 2012 opener at West Point's Michie Stadium. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was pushed back a day due to a winter storm scheduled to hit New England.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
Web: UMass All-Access will carry the game via webcast. Fans can find the "watch" link on the schedule page of www.goARMYsports.com.
Live Stats: Live statistics will be available for the game. Visit the lacrosse schedule page of www.goARMYsports.com to access the GameTracker link.
Twitter: Follow @Army_Lacrosse for in-game scoring updates.
BLACK KNIGHTS IN SEASON OPENER
Army is 72-23 in season openers during its first 95 seasons. After winning four season openers in a row (2007-2010), the Black Knights have dropped their last two - both to UMass (2011, 2012).
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
Sunday afternoon's season opener matches last season as the earliest Army has ever began in its 96-year history. Army has only played in 14 February games. The Black Knights, Bucknell, Navy, Colgate and Lehigh will all ring in the 2013 season with games this weekend.
ALBERICI SOUND BITES: THE UMASS WEEK
(Ref.: early start to the season)
"The season openers have been moving forward in the calendar over the last four or five years. Fifteen or 20 years ago, you may not have even started practice. In the hopes of getting most of our games on weekends and the NCAA calendar the way that it is, it's become the Division I world today."
(Ref.: thoughts on the Patriot League)
"It's going to be as strong as ever with tremendous teams. From top to bottom, it seems like everybody is going to be better than last year, and last year was a spectacular year for the conference. We're anticipating a really tough league once again. That's in part why we schedule tough games such as the one coming against UMass this weekend. It gets us ready for a Patriot League run."
(Ref.: youth on the roster)
"We'll have several freshmen up and down our lineup this Saturday. There will also be some guys who are playing more prominent roles than in the past. On top of all of that, we'll have a brand new goaltender. There will be some new faces against tough competition. They'll be thrown into the fire right away.
(Ref.: on UMass All-American Will Manny)
"UMass has several changes in their personnel this year, but the ones who are coming back are really impressive. When you think about Will Manny and the type of game he had against us last year and what he went on to do, I think any discussion about UMass starts with him. He's a first team All-American and tremendous player. He has the ability to get his own shot and makes a lot of the people around him better."
OH CAPTAIN(S), MY CAPTAIN(S)
Seniors Andrew Boyd, Brendan Buckley and Garrett Thul were selected to serve as team tri-captains for the 2013 season. Buckley and Thul are both preseason All-America selections and returning All-Patriot League players, while Boyd started 13 games and scored a career-best 15 points in 2012.
Army held its first official practice on Sunday, Jan. 6, just over a month away from its 2013 season opener (Feb. 9 at UMass). Over the final two weeks of the preseason, the Black Knights hosted Penn State and Fairfield for scrimmage sessions. Both teams were ranked amongst the nation's preseason top-20 in both national polls. Army hosted St. John's and Harvard for a fall scrimmage day in October.
Along with receiving votes in the 2013 Preseason USILA Coaches' Poll, the Army lacrosse team was tabbed third in the Patriot League Preseason Poll. Coming off a 7-8 season during which they made a seventh-straight Patriot League Tournament appearance under current head coach Joe Alberici, the Black Knights garnered 48 points to land third in the preseason poll. With 69 points and nine first-place votes, Lehigh is predicted to defend its Patriot League title. Colgate followed in second place with 65 points and the remaining five first-place votes. Following Army in order are Bucknell (43 points), Navy (35), Holy Cross (20) and Lafayette (14). The poll is determined by votes of the league's head coaches and sports information directors.
A trio of Black Knights have already garnered plenty of attention before the 2013 season even gets underway. Seniors Garrett Thul and Brendan Buckley, along with sophomore John Glesener, earned a spot on the inaugural Preseason All-Patriot League Team in late January. In addition, all three grabbed Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-America plaudits. Thul and Glesener earned second and third team honors, respectively, while Buckley was tabbed with honorable mention status.
Leadership is inherent at West Point, and this season's roster will rely heavily on nine seniors to serve as the example for a young roster. The Black Knights' list 16 rookies and 14 sophomores, making up the fifth-youngest roster in the nation with 30 underclassmen. Those ranked above Army include Delaware (33), Holy Cross (33), Syracuse (32) and Air Force (31). Maryland ties Army with 30 underclassmen on its 2013 ledger.
BEST OF THE BEST
Getting accepted to West Point is a challenge in itself. A look at the freshman Class of 2016 shows that 15,170 candidates applied, 4,284 were nominated, 2,554 qualified and 1,193 were admitted. Of those admitted, 72 percent were in the top-five of their high school class, eight percent were valedictorians, 90 percent played varsity sports, 57 percent served as team captain and 18 percent were either class or student body presidents.
Senior attackman Garrett Thul has made a career of gaudy numbers and a knack for serious goal-scoring ability. Perhaps one of the most impressive numbers of all is his current 39-game goal scoring streak, which stands as the longest of any player in the country. Thul has scored 104 goals during the 39-game span, which dates back to April 3, 2010. Mount St. Mary's senior Brett Schmidt lists second on the list with a 28-game streak.
While Army said goodbye to a valuable Class of 2012 in May, the team returns its top two point-producers from a year ago this season. Senior Garrett Thul and sophomore John Glesener totaled 43 and 33 points, respectively, in 2012. Thul's 39 goals led the team, as did Glesener's 17 assists.
NOTABLE NUMBER CHANGES
Several Army players opted to change uniform numbers this season. Perhaps one of the most noticeable will be preseason All-Patriot League sophomore John Glesener, who changed from No. 40 to No. 21 for 2013. Fans will remember former All-America long stick midfielder Tim Henderson '12 owning No. 21 for the previous four seasons. Also making a switch is sophomore goalkeeper Sam Somers, who went from No. 42 to No. 2, which was previously worn by All-American and Tewaaraton Award finalist Jeremy Boltus '10.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Head coach Joe Alberici faces a new challenge as the 2013 season gets underway -- that of tabbing a starting goalkeeper. Army had a tradition of churning out All-America keepers during Alberici's first six seasons, including Adam Fullerton '08 and Tom Palesky '10. Last year, a fairly inexperienced Zach Palmieri '12, who is currently serving as the team's athletic intern, stepped in and started all 15 games. This season's starting goalkeeper position remains up for grabs. Leading the pack of contenders are junior Bobby Sincero and sophomore Sam Somers. The pair combined for 47 minutes in the cage last season. Senior Evan Danahy and junior Zeric Butters provide two additional options for Alberici and his staff.
A GENTLEMAN AND A SCHOLAR
Senior close defenseman Brendan Buckley returns as the Black Knights stopper and tri-captain, but his accomplishments over the last four season stretch far beyond the field. Not only was he a first team All-Patriot League performer last spring, he was named Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year and later the conference's overall male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A first team Academic All-American, Buckley posted a 4.0 grade-point average in the fall semester and carries a 3.987 cumulative GPA to rank 18th in his Firstie class of 1,079 cadets. A native of Massapequa, N.Y., Buckley was a preseason All-Patriot League pick and earned preseason All-America honorable mention plaudits.
Junior long stick midfielder Kevin Epp began giving Army fans an inside look at the 2013 team with his blog, "Epp-ic Thoughts," at the start of the season. A native of Naperville, Ill., Epp will continue his weekly blog throughout the 2013 campaign. Topics covered thus far include the team's lunch box tradition and player nicknames. Click here to read the latest entry.
FOLLOWING THE LEADER
Fans won't miss a minute of Army lacrosse action if they take the lead and follow @Army_Lacrosse on Twitter, a feed that provides in-game score updates, links to feature stories and more. In addition, fans can follow head coach Joe Alberici at the handle @ArmyLaxCoach.
Army fans may recognize a familiar name when looking down the Black Knights' 2013 roster, as freshman Luke Poulos begins his first season in the black, gold and gray. Poulos is the younger brother of Matt Poulos '10, who lettered four years at West Point and was a member of Army's 2010 Patriot League Championship team. The elder Poulos won both face-offs attempted in the Black Knights' iconic first round NCAA win at then-two-time defending national champion Syracuse.
ARMY ON T.V.
Army lacrosse fans around the country will have the opportunity to watch the Black Knights on national television at least three times this spring. Thanks to an extensive Patriot League television package, the highly anticipated 96th meeting between Army and Navy, the Black Knights' visit to Colgate, and Army's regular-season home finale against perennial powerhouse Johns Hopkins in May will air live on CBS Sports Network. In addition, the 2013 Patriot League Lacrosse Tournament will be carried by CBSSN in its entirety.
Season tickets start at just $19 for youth, students and senior citizens. An adult season ticket can be purchased for $25. Single-game tickets are $4 for youth, students, senior citizens and groups of 10 or more, while adults can be purchased for $6. Prices increase to $6 and $10 for the same contingents, respectively, for the May 3 meeting with Johns Hopkins. Click here to purchase Army lacrosse tickets.
MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENDANCE, PLEASE?
It's no secret that lacrosse is fastest growing sport among youth in the United States. That was highly evident last season with an increased interest in Army lacrosse. The Black Knights ranked as high as fifth in the nation in attendance last spring and finished the year second amongst Patriot League schools with an average of 2,293 fans per home game.