Black Knights are ready to rise to the challenge

Garrett Thul

Garrett Thul

Feb. 6, 2012

BUFFALO - If the Army Black Knights are to make it back to the NCAA tournament, they will have to do it without three All-Americans.

Attackman Jeremy Boltus, defender Bill Henderson and goaltender Tom Palesky have all moved on and the Black Knights know, for them to be successful, they have to find away to replace their productivity on and off the field.

"As a unit we will try to make up 40 assists from Jeremy," stated Army coach Joe Alberici, recently by phone from West Point. "We will have to do it by committee."

While Boltus has graduated, the Black Knights still have junior attack Garrett Thul.

Since coming to West Point, Thul has been a dominating force in his first two years at scoring goals.

This season, Alberici and his staff are working on making Thul an all-around player.

"He is looking to evolve and get better," said Alberici. "There is more attention focus around him. We are going to play to his strengths. Find a way to get Garrett the ball."

Getting Thul the ball will be a midfield that lost a lot to graduation, but has some promising plebes coming in.

Alberici states that five or six freshmen could start on the two deep roster with West Genesee's John Glesener at the top of the list.

The 6-foot-3, 196-pound freshman from Camillus, NY, has great size and hands and should be able to step right in.

Like most freshman, however, there will be some growing pains. But, even with the growing pains, Alberici is still excited to see what they can bring to the table.

"Certainly some freshmen will bide their time," he said. "(I expect) them to perform well beyond expectations. "It's exciting for them this year."

Manning the pipes will be senior Zach Palmieri.

Palmieri will be tasked to keep the strong tradition of goaltending going at the academy.

He will not be looked upon to put up the same kind of numbers as Palesky did the last couple of seasons. But, he will be looked upon to make the big saves when called on.

"Tom was a tremendous player," said Alberici. "(Zach) is in position to be the starting goalie. We have to play a little better defense (in front of him).

As always the schedule will be a daunting one.

While they open with three-straight home games, the Black Knights still take on the likes of Syracuse, UMass, John Hopkins, Cornell and a very tough Patriot League schedule.

"You have to rise to the occasion and beat them," said Alberici. "This is great preparation for the Patriot League. They will be accustomed to being in very good battles against great teams."

The Black Knights open the 2012 lacrosse season when they host UMass at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10 at West Point.

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