Feb. 22, 2013
Army at #18/18 Syracuse Game Notes
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Army (2-1) heads to No. 18/18 Syracuse (0-1) for the 61st meeting between the two storied programs on Sunday, Feb. 24, for a 4 p.m. start. It will mark the Orange's second-straight home game and the Black Knights' second road test against a nationally ranked opponent this season. The Black Knights and Orange have met every year since 2002, a stretch that included what is still lauded as one of the biggest upsets in collegiate lacrosse history - a 9-8 double overtime Army win over Syracuse in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament at the Carrier Dome. The victory marks the Black Knights' second win (2007) against the Orange since the series resumed in 2002. Army holds a 39-21 lead over Syracuse all-time.
HOW TO FOLLOW SUNDAY'S ACTION
Television: Time Warner Cable Sports will broadcast the game live to its customers. In the Hudson Valley, it will appear live on SNY.
Radio: 1390-AM, 1340-AM throughout the Hudson Valley.
Web: Visit www.suathletics for a link to a video webcast.
Live Stats: Live statistics will be available for the game. Visit the lacrosse schedule page of www.goARMYsports.com to access the link.
Twitter: Follow @Army_Lacrosse for in-game scoring updates.
RACE FOR THE RECORD
Coming off a brilliant seven-goal performance against VMI last Saturday, senior attackman Garrett Thul is just six goals away from tying the program's 35-year-old career goals record. The seven goals marked a career high for the All-American and brought his total to 134. Thul is chasing former All-American Scott Finlay, who totaled 140 goals from 1975-78. One of three Patriot League players to reach the century mark in goals, Thul's 134 rank third in league history and are second among active players in the NCAA. With a career-high eight points (7G, 1A), against VMI, Thul ranks 10th in Army history with 152 career points.
Syracuse opened the 2013 season with a 16-15 double overtime loss to visiting Albany last Sunday at the Carrier Dome. Senior midfielder JoJo Marasco, whose older brother Matt played lacrosse and graduated from West Point in 2011, led the Orange with eight points (3G, 5A) against the Great Danes. Marasco is a two-time captain and All-Big EAST performer. Redshirt freshman attackman Dylan Donohue (3G) and senior middie Luke Cometti (3G, 1A) also recorded hat tricks in the loss. Sophomore Bobby Wardwell played all 64:57 in goal and recorded seven saves. Wardwell started the last nine games of the 2012 season. He did not play in a 10-9 win over Army on Feb. 26. Senior All-American defenseman Brian McGill returns as the anchor of the defense. He grabbed three ground balls and caused two turnovers against Albany. McGill joined Army's Brendan Buckley on the list of 20 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, announced earlier this week. Directing of the most storied programs in collegiate lacrosse history, veteran head coach John Desko led the Orange to national titles in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2009.
ALBERICI SOUND BITES: THE SYRACUSE GAME
(Ref.: Garrett Thul's seven-goal performance against VMI)
"Seven goals is a tremendous day for any player. I think Garrett would be the first to say there was a lot he could have done better. That being said, those seven goals were huge, and we needed them all to put away a pesky VMI team."
(Ref.: putting up gaudy shot and ground ball numbers over the last two games)
"We didn't shoot the ball very accurately in the last two games, which is the obvious downside. The positive is, offensively, our ground ball play and riding game have generated a lot of those shots. Those are very big numbers in our sport (113 shots, 99 ground balls over the last two games), so we're pleased with that. We just need to be a bit more accurate in our shooting."
(Ref.: scouting Syracuse)
"We scouted the Syracuse-Albany game live and watched it a few times on film. When you concentrate on SU, they are very good. They have a great defense and are doing very well at the face-off "x." The attackmen can hurt you if you're not giving them enough attention. They also run two very athletic midfield lines. Despite Syracuse losing the game (16-15 2OT), I walked out of the Carrier Dome certain that their coaching staff will spend the week improving areas that they saw may need it. We'll get an even better version this Sunday.
(Ref.: playing in the Carrier Dome)
"We've been up there every year in part because you don't have to worry about the weather in February. You always know you're going to get the game in at the Carrier Dome. It does provide one of the best venues in lacrosse. Everything is first-class there. Our guys have experienced some success there and enjoy playing there very much."
A handful of Army personnel hail from lacrosse-rich Central New York and will be returning to their roots on Sunday afternoon. Included in that group is head coach Joe Alberici, a native of Auburn, N.Y. He joined his father, Gino, and older brother, John, in the Auburn High School Hall of Fame in 2008. Other local products include the following:
Sophomore D Tom DeLap - Auburn
Sophomore A John Glesener - Camillus
Junior M Tyler Kamide - Liverpool
Freshman D John Sabert- Syracuse
The last three times Army and Syracuse have met, the games have been decided by a combined four goals. The Black Knights posted a thrilling 9-8 double overtime win over the Orange in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, while Syracuse has won the last two games 11-9 (2011) and 10-9 (2012), respectively.
NOTHING BUT CLASS
Army senior close defenseman Brendan Buckley is one of 20 NCAA lacrosse student-athletes who excel both on and off the field and are candidates for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award. Announced on Wednesday afternoon, the candidates must be a senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Buckley, a team tri-captain, carries a 3.987 cumulative grade-point average and ranks 18th in his class of 1,079 cadets. He posted a 4.0 GPA in the fall semester and was a first team Academic All-American last spring. The reigning Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year and two-time all-league honoree, Buckley has been named to the Dean's List all seven semesters at West Point and has been honored with the Distinguished Cadet Award and Superintendent's Award for Excellence. An Engineering major, Buckley will enter the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and posted with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Schweinfurt, Germany.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Sophomore midfielder Alex Newsome showed flashes of talent with a two-goal freshman campaign, but the Richmond, Va., native has had a breakout first three games of 2013. Starting all three on the Black Knights' first midfield line, he is the team's third leading scorer with 12 points (8G, 4A). Newsome has posted back-to-back hat tricks, which included a career-high four goals and two assists in last Saturday's 14-8 win over VMI. Of Newsome's 15 shots taken, 11 have been on cage and eight have resulted in goals (shooting a team-high .533). He played in five games as a freshman.
ORANGE BOWL LACROSSE CLASSIC
Army will meet Michigan for the first time in program history next Saturday, March 2, in Miami, Fla. The pairing is the marquee match-up of the Orange Bowl Lacrosse Classic at Sun Life Stadium. Army-Michigan will be preceded by Florida vs. Syracuse in a highly anticipated rematch of the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Division I semifinal in 2012. Face-off for Army vs. Michigan is set for 7:30 p.m. in a game that will air locally on Sun Sports.
GLESENER GETS IT DONE
Sophomore John Glesener, who moved from the midfield to Army's attack this season, has proven that shift to be a brilliant one thus far in 2013. Glesener posted his second career hat trick in the Black Knights' opener at No. 12 UMass on Feb. 10 and is second on the team with 13 points (5G, 8A). The Camillus, N.Y., native returns as Army's second-leading scorer from a year ago, having tallied 33 points (16G, 17A) as a freshman.
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.
Plenty of rookies have been thrown into the fire over the first three games, but several have stepped up to the challenge. Attackman Connor Cook has started all three games as the Black Knights' third attackman and scored at least one point in all three contests. Also impressive in the early going, middie Alex Daly has taken the majority of Army's face-offs and is 21-of-40 in the "x." Daly did not play against VMI (Feb. 16) due to injury.
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.
Senior attackman Garrett Thul has made a career of gaudy numbers and a knack for serious goal-scoring ability. Perhaps the most impressive number of all is his current 42-game goal scoring streak, which stands as the longest of any player in the country. Thul, who was recently lauded as the ninth-best player in the nation by Quint Kessenich in the Baltimore Sun, has scored 116 goals during the 42-game span, which dates back to April 3, 2010. Mount St. Mary's senior Brett Schmidt lists second on the list with a 30-game streak. Thul's 25 hat tricks are also listed second amongst national leaders.
Junior long stick midfielder Kevin Eppbegan 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, player nicknames and road trip roommates. Click here to read this week's 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 departs for the Sunshine State on Thursday in advance of the program's first meeting with Michigan on Saturday, March 2, at Sun Life Stadium. A part of the Sun Bowl Lacrosse Classic, Army and Michian will face-off at 7:30 p.m., from Miami, Fla.