Feb. 15, 2013
Army vs. VMI Game Notes
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army heads into Saturday seeking its second win of the season and looking to remain undefeated against VMI in the fifth meeting of the series. The Black Knights are coming off a 14-8 win over Manhattan in their home opener on Wednesday night, while the Keydets dropped their 2013 opener, 20-7, last weekend at Navy.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
Web: Knight Vision 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.
HOME SWEET MICHIE
This season marks the 90th year that Michie Stadium has served as the "home" of Army football and lacrosse. Only 15 Football Bowl Subdivision stadiums, and just six east of the Mississippi River, are older than the fabled venue. Michie Stadium has hosted NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament games seven times, while the Black Knights have authored a 70-34 record at home over the last 14 years.
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.
HONORING A HERO
Prior to Saturday's face-off, Army will honor a true American hero in 1LT Chase Prasnicki. A four-year letterwinner on the Army football team, Prasnicki graduated from West Point in 2010 and went on to become an Army Ranger. He made the ultimate sacrifice last June while serving a tour in Afghanistan. Prasnicki's younger brother, Tyler, is a long stick middie on VMI's roster and will be joined by the boys' mother, Debbie Arthur, for a special pregame recognition.
VMI enters Saturday's game in search of its first win of the season after suffering a 20-7 loss at Navy in its opener on Feb. 9. The Keydets went 4-10 last season and graduated All-American face-off specialist Steven Robarge last spring. Under the direction of third-year head coach Brian Anken, VMI was picked sixth in the MAAC preseason poll and recently announced its move to the Atlantic Sun Conference beginning in the 2013-14 academic year. Senior attackman Russell East and sophomore attackman Mike DeBlasio paced the Keydets with two goals apiece at Navy last week. Senior Matt Lindemann played all 60 minutes in goal and made 17 saves. Sophomore middie Gaston Ledford, Robarge's replacement, went 12-of-28 in the "x" against the Mids. VMI plays its first six games of the season on the road and next meets Virginia on Feb. 19 in Charlottesville, Va.
ALBERICI SOUND BITES: THE VMI GAME
(Ref.: looking at this week)
"Playing midweek like we did against Manhattan Wednesday is unusual for us. It's the only time this year we'll do that. It was a great win and makes for a quick turnaround against VMI. We were able to gain some momentum from that Manhattan win and hope we apply it against VMI."
(Ref.: young players stepping up)
"We have some outstanding players and names that people know about, but our success is going to be driven by some guys who nobody quite knows their names just yet. We know them to be quality players. Connor Cook is off to a fast start and playing with a lot of confidence. Will Mazzone came up with a big goal on Wednesday for us, and A.J. Canara was terrific on Wednesday. Alex Daly has also been solid in the face-off so far. We really have high expectations for our younger players, and they are going to have to continue to come through for us to be successful."
(Ref.: scouting VMI)
"We're going to get VMI's best effort. They have a habit of coming up here and playing hard and very well. We're expecting a tough, physical contest with every ground ball being contested. Their strength seems to lie a little bit in their midfield, doing a lot of initiation with their middies. Their attack features some very capable finishers. I expect that they will show improvement after having gone to work after a season-opening loss (at Navy). I have a lot of respect for them, and the key for us is going to go out there and be at our best."
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 two games of 2013. Starting both, he is Army's third leading scorer with six points (4G, 2A). Newsome is coming off his first career hat trick and shattered his previous career-high with three goals and two assists in a 14-8 win over Manhattan on Wednesday. He played in five games as a freshman.
ORANGE BOWL LACROSSE CLASSIC
Army will meet Michigan for the first time in program history on 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.
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.
GLESENER GETS IT DONE
Sophomore John Glesener, who moved from the midfield to Army's attack this season, has proven that shift was a brilliant one thus far this season. Glesener posted his second career hat trick in the Black Knights' opener at No. 12 UMass on Feb. 10 and leads the team with a combined 10 points (5G, 5A) over the last two games. 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 two games, but several have stepped up to the challenge. Attackman Connor Cook has started two games this week and scored in both. He is coming off a career-high three points (2G, 1A) on Wednesday against Manhattan. 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."
HURRY UP OFFENSE
Army scored off the opening face-off twice last season and did so again in its 2013 season opener at UMass on Feb. 10. Freshman midfielder Alex Daly won the opening face-off against the Minutemen and quickly fed sophomore attackman John Glesener for the score with 14:54 on the clock. The goal tied Army's record for the fastest goal to start a game, matching Chad Allen's goal six seconds into the Army-Navy game on April 6, 1991.
AGAINST THE BEST
Army wasted no time cracking into its long list of nationally ranked opponents last Sunday, as the team opened at No. 12/13 UMass. Widely known for playing one of the toughest schedules in the country each season, the Black Knights will go up against six opponents currently ranked in the top 20 of both national polls. Of those six games, three are of the non-conference variety and also include perennial powerhouses Syracuse and Johns Hopkins.
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, player nicknames and road trip roommates.
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, each of whom have earned a starting nod in 2013. Somers got the starting gig at No. 12 UMass, but played less than 20 minutes. Sincero relieved him midway through the second quarter and earned the start in a 14-8 win over Manhattan three days later (Feb. 13). The pair combined for just 47 minutes in the cage last season. Senior Evan Danahy and junior Zeric Butters provide two additional options for Alberici and his staff.
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.
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. The younger Poulos has played in both games this season and has registered two shots and a ground ball.
FOLLOW 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.
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.