March 13, 2014
Army at #2/2 Loyola Game Notes
BALTIMORE, Md. - Army (4-2, 2-0 Patriot League) takes the nation's top-ranked defense into No. 2/2 Loyola (5-1, 2-0), which boasts the nation's third-ranked offense, for a Saturday afternoon Patriot League tilt at Ridley Athletic Complex. The Greyhounds joined the Patriot League from the ECAC in 2013-14 as the teams clash for the first time since 1943. Army and Loyola are the lone undefeated Patriot League teams remaining as they sit tied atop the league standings at 2-0. The Black Knights, poised for their fourth road test, are fresh off 13-3 conference win over Holy Cross last Saturday at Michie Stadium. Loyola is coming off a 14-7 win over then fourth-ranked Duke.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
Web: Patriot League Network will carry Saturday's game live and free of charge. Visit the lacrosse schedule page of www.goARMYsports.com to access the link.
Live Stats: Visit the lacrosse schedule page of www.goARMYsports.com to access the GameTracker link.
Twitter: Follow @Army_Lacrosse for in-game scoring updates.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Saturday will mark the first time Army and Loyola have met on the lacrosse field since 1943. The Black Knights own a 1-0 lead in the series, having collected a 9-3 victory over the Greyhounds in Baltimore, Md., that year. Loyola and Boston University joined the Patriot League in 2013-14. Army visits BU on April 5 in what will mark the inaugural meeting between the two programs.
DEFENSE DOES IT
Over the last two weeks, Army has represented the NCAA's top defense. Holding opponents to an average of 5.33 goals per game, the Black Knights take on the nation's third-ranked offense at No. 2/2 Loyola on Saturday. A veteran-laden group, seniors John Burk and Pat Hart join sophomore Austin Schultz in making up Army's close defense. Junior goalkeeper Sam Somers anchors the defense and entered this week atop the national statistics with a 5.14 goals-against average. Army has surrendered double-digit goals just twice since the 2013 season (L, 10-6 vs. Lehigh; L, 12-9 vs. Bucknell) and held two opponents to three goals or less in 2014.
GLESENER NAMED TO TEWAARATON AWARD WATCH LIST
The Tewaaraton Foundation announced the 2014 Tewaaraton Award men's and women's watch lists presented by Panama Jack last week and for the second year in a row, Army attackman John Glesener earned a nod. The lists include the top players across all three divisions of NCAA lacrosse and highlight the early contenders for the 2014 Tewaaraton Award. The Tewaaraton Award annually honors the top male and top female college lacrosse player in the United States. The selection committees are made up of top collegiate coaches and are appointed annually by the Tewaaraton Foundation. Five men's and five women's finalists will be announced on May 8 and will be invited to the May 29 ceremony in Washington, D.C. John Walker '06 and Jeremy Boltus '11 represent Army's two past Tewaaraton Award finalists.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
Army has out-shot all six of its opponents in the 2014 season thus far. The Black Knights held Massachusetts (20 shots), Furman (18) and Lafayette (16) to 20 shots or less. Army is averaging 42.0 shots per game, while yielding 22.3 shots per contest.
LEFTOVERS FROM ARMY VS. HOLY CROSS
• Army improved to 23-0 all-time versus Holy Cross.
• Eleven different players found the back of the net, including six who scored their first career goals.
• Junior attackman John Glesener extended his point-scoring streak to 21 games and led all players with his 10th career hat trick.
• Army scored three times in transition as two long poles (Tim Stackpole, Jimbo D'Aprile) and SSDM Mike Larrabee all scored.
• Army outshot the Crusaders 51-31 and committed just seven turnovers on the afternoon.
• Junior goalie Sam Somers made a season-high 10 saves. Senior Bobby Sincero played the final 9:05 and made two stops.
With the addition of Loyola and Boston University for the 2014 season, Patriot League play got underway earlier than ever with opening games taking place on Feb. 22. No. 2/2 Loyola and Army are tied atop the league standings with 2-0 conference records. The Greyhounds own wins over Holy Cross and Lehigh, while Army has defeated Lafayette and Holy Cross thus far. Colgate, Lehigh and Navy are tied for third with 2-1 marks heading into this weekend's games. The Patriot League accounted for three nationally ranked teams as of Monday, with Loyola leading the way in second in both national polls. Lehigh landed 15th in the coaches poll and 14th in the media poll, while Colgate snuck in at No. 19 in the media poll. Army and Bucknell received votes this week.
SCOUTING THE GREYHOUNDS
The nation's second-ranked team, Loyola enters Saturday's game with the NCAA's third-ranked scoring offense and 10th-ranked scoring defense. In their inaugural Patriot League season, the Greyhounds are 2-0 in the league with wins over Holy Cross (16-4) and Lehigh (14-7). They are coming off a non-league win over defending national champion Duke (14-7) last Sunday at Ridley Athletic Complex. Loyola itself is just two years removed from winning the 2012 NCAA title.
Junior Nikko Pontrello paces the Greyhounds' attack, leading the league and ranking third in the nation with a 4.0 goals-per-game average. His five goals against Duke earned him Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week honors on Monday. Senior attackman Justin Ward leads the league and also ranks third nationally, averaging 3.17 assists per game.
Loyola is equally as potent on the defensive end, a veteran group featuring Preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Joe Fletcher. A Tewaaraton Award candidate and member of Team USA, Fletcher was the third pick in the Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft by the New York Lizards. Senior goaltender Jack Runkel is coming off a nine-save effort against Duke and was named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year on Monday. Runkel's 7.51 goals-against average rank ninth among the nation's top goaltenders.
Army's man-down unit has proven to be formidable through six games this season. The Black Knights have surrendered just one EMO goal this season, as opponents are 1-for-14. With a .923 kill percentage, Army's man-down unit ranked first nationally heading into this week.
Junior goalkeeper Sam Somers established himself as one of the top goalies in the league last season and has continued to prove that statement midway through 2014. Somers finished 2013 leading the nation with a 7.18 goals-against average and picked up All-Patriot League second team honors a year ago. The Wilton, Conn., native won Army's starting goalkeeper position following a stellar performance at nationally ranked Syracuse on Feb. 24, 2013 at the Carrier Dome. Somers recorded a career-high 18 saves and held the vaunted Orange attack to six goals. His 5.14 goals-against average to start this week was good for first among NCAA Division I goalkeepers.
GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES
Sophomores Will Mazzone, an All-Patriot League Tournament pick in 2013, and Connor Cook make up two-thirds of Army's starting attack. The duo measures 5-6 and 5-5, respectively, but are proof good things can come in small packages. Through five games this season, Mazzone and Cook are Army's second and third leading scorers with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
WE'RE GOING STREAKING
• Junior attackman John Glesener brings a 21-game point-scoring streak into this weekend's contest. It is currently tied for the 21st longest point-scoring streak in the nation.
• Junior goaltender Sam Somers has held seventh-straight opponents to single-digit goals, a stretch that dates back to the final game of 2013.
Army returns to Michie Stadium for a modest two-game homestand, beginning with No. 15/14 Lehigh next Saturday, March 22, at noon. The Mountain Hawks entered the season as the defending Patriot League champions, own a 5-2 record this season and host Navy this Saturday in Bethlehem, Pa. Fans can watch the game online via Knight Vision (www.goARMYsports.com) or follow along with GameTracker (live statistics). Links for both outlets can be found on the lacrosse schedule page of www.goARMYsports.com. In addition, periodic scoring updates will be posted to @Army_Lacrosse on Twitter.