Army Hosts #16/15 Lehigh In Patriot League Opener Saturday

Sophomore LSM Sean Jollota

Sophomore LSM Sean Jollota

March 14, 2013

Army vs. Lehigh Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army goes for its third win in a row as the Black Knights get Patriot League play underway this Saturday at Michie Stadium. In the opener for both teams, Army (4-2) hosts No. 16/15 Lehigh (4-3) in a rematch of last season's Patriot League Tournament semifinal contest. Face-off is set for noon. The Black Knights gutted out a 10-8 win at Rutgers last Saturday, while Lehigh is coming off a 12-10 victory over nationally ranked Penn State at the Independence Classic on the same day. This marks the sixth-straight year Army has opened Patriot League play against the Mountain Hawks.

Television: None.
Radio: 1390-AM, 1340-AM throughout the Hudson Valley.
Web: Knight Vision will carry the game via webcast. Fans can find the "watch" link on the schedule page of
Live Stats: Live statistics will be available for the game. Visit the lacrosse schedule page of to access the GameTracker link.
Twitter: Follow @Army_Lacrosse for in-game scoring updates.

With just five career starts under his belt, sophomore goalkeeper Sam Somers has showed much promise in the early going. After a bit of a battle to start the season, Somers won the starting job after a career-high 18-save performance at nationally ranked Syracuse on Feb. 24. The Wilton, Conn., native has been in the cage for all but five minutes since that game and currently ranks second in the nation with a .647 save percentage. His 6.44 goals-against average land third among NCAA Division I goalkeepers, and he leads the Patriot League in both categories.

Army is 72-34 (.679) in Michie Stadium over the last 15 seasons. The Black Knights are 2-0 at home this season, posting identical 14-8 wins over Manhattan (Feb. 13) and VMI (Feb. 16).

(Ref.: Coming off back-to-back road wins)
"At the Division I level, you have to be tougher to win on the road. I'm very proud of our guys for having done that in two very different environments - playing in a pro stadium against Michigan (Miami, Fla.) and at then at Rutgers' auxiliary field. I was pleased in both situations with how our guys prepared both mentally and physically. There's a lot to build off of those last two wins."

(Ref.: Scouting Lehigh)
"They stumbled out of the gates a bit, dealing with some injuries, but looked like the Lehigh team we expected last weekend against Penn State. They are tremendous in the goal behind Matt Poillon, who in my estimation is one of the best goalkeepers in the country, along with being big and long defensively. They're a physical defense with great ground ball skills. They may have one of the best one-two-three combinations in the country at attack as well. They are clearly a championship-type team and it's going to take a champion-type effort to come out with a victory."

(Ref.: Breaking down the offense)
"Offensively, I'm pleased with us generating opportunities in a number of ways - transition, unsettled, extra-man. In our six-on-six game, we need to work a little bit harder to get higher quality shots and stay true to our fundamentals when the opportunity does come upon us. That being said, I have a lot of faith in our shooters and know it's going to only be a matter of time before the ball to start to sink for us at a higher percentage."

Since its first Patriot League season in 1991, Army is 17-5 all-time in Patriot League openers. Included in that record is a 3-3 record against Lehigh in conference lid-lifters. The Black Knights fell 7-6 at Lehigh in last year's opener.

• Army won its fourth game of the season and second in a row, defeating Rutgers 10-8 last Saturday.
• Sophomore attackman John Glesener led all players with a career-high four goals, recording his third career hat trick. He added an assist and tied a career high with five points.
• Senior middie Pat Brennan totaled a season-high three points (1G, 2A).
• Senior midfielder Matt Ghidotti scored his first goal of the season.
• Six different Black Knights found the back of the net.
• Sophomore long stick midfielder Sean Jollota finished with a career-best four caused turnovers.
• Junior close defenseman Pat Hart totaled five ground balls, as did freshman face-off specialist Alex Daly.
• Daly won three of four face-offs in the fourth quarter to help seal the win.

Winners of two of the last three games, No. 16/15 Lehigh comes to town nationally ranked in both polls and fresh of an impressive 12-10 win over Penn State last week at the Independence Classic at PPL Park (Chester, Pa.). The defending Patriot League champions bowed in the quarterfinals of last year's NCAA Tournament, falling just short to Maryland (10-9) in the final seconds of regulation.

Under the direction of sixth-year head coach Kevin Cassese, Lehigh has established itself on a national stage and has done so with a plethora of talent in all facets of the game. Reigning Patriot League Goakeeper of the Year Matt Poillon anchors a defense that also features preseason All-Patriot League pick Ty Souders - a third-team All-American close defender. Senior attackman David DiMaria heads up a balanced attack. The first team All-Patriot League performer ranks seventh in the country averaging 2.57 assists per game and is 10th nationally in points per game (14G, 18A). Attackmen Dan Taylor (14G, 10A) and Dante Fantoni (14G, 9A) round out the Mountain Hawks' top scorers. Senior face-off specialist Ryan Snyder was a second team all-league pick a year ago and boasts a .509 percentage in the "x" this season.

Eighth-year head coach Joe Alberici spent nine years (1997-2005) as an assistant coach at Duke, helping to turn the program into a perennial power before taking the reins at West Point. The former Blue Devil mentor will see some of his former mentees just down the sideline when Lehigh visits West Point, N.Y. Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese, in his sixth year with the program, was an All-American performer at Duke in 2002 and 2003 and one of Alberici's recruits.

Senior attackman Garrett Thul is now Army's all-time leading goal scorer with 143 tallies. The Flemington, N.J., native broke the 35-year-old career goals record when he tied a career-best seven goals in a 12-1 win over Michigan on March 2 at Sun Life Stadium (Miami, Fla.). Thul, who is sitting on 143 career goals and passed Scott Finlay (1975-78), was named the Orange Bowl Lacrosse Classic MVP and also picked up his second Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week this season last Monday. He now stands second on the Patriot League career goals list and is second among the nation's active goal scorers.

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 third career hat trick and totaled a career-high four goals in a 10-8 win at Rutgers on March 9. He is tied with Garrett Thul for a team-high 24 points (11G, 13A) and has two hat tricks this season. The Camillus, N.Y., native is third in the Patriot League, averaging 2.17 assists per game, and returns as Army's second-leading scorer from a year ago, having tallied 33 points (16G, 17A) as a freshman.

Sophomore midfielder Alex Newsome showed flashes of talent with a two-goal freshman campaign, but the Richmond, Va., native has had a breakout beginning to 2013. Starting all six games on the Black Knights' first midfield line, he is the team's third leading scorer with 16 points (11G, 5A). Newsome posted back-to-back hat tricks in Army victories over Manhattan (Feb. 13) and VMI (Feb. 16), which included a career-high four goals and two assists in a 14-8 win over the Keydets. Of Newsome's 28 shots taken, 17 have been on cage and 11 have resulted in goals. He played in five games as a freshman.

While the Patriot League continues to grow its national prominence, it is hard to argue bigger heavy hitters than seniors Garrett Thul (Army) and Peter Baum (Colgate). The duo will go down as two of the top offensive players to play in the league and have quite the race ahead of them. The reigning Tewaaraton Award winner, Baum broke the Patriot League's career goals record three weeks ago and maintains a slight edge over Thul - 150-143. Baum and Thul also rank as the nation's top two hat trick men with 31 and 26, respectively. Both became their program's all-time leading goal scorers this season and are on the Tewaaraton Award Watch List. Army and Colgate meet on March 31 in Hamilton, N.Y.

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.

Leadership is inherent at West Point, and this season's roster has relied 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 were thrown into the fire out of the gate, and several have stepped up to the challenge. Attackman Connor Cook has started all six games as the Black Knights' third attackman and scored at least one point in five of those contests. Will Mazzone (2G, 3A) and Tim Coll (1A) have also rotated in for Cook. Also impressive so far this season, midfielder Alex Daly has taken the majority of Army's face-offs and is 39-of-80 in the "x."

Army senior close defenseman Brendan Buckley is one of 20 NCAA Division I lacrosse student-athletes who excel both on and off the field and are candidates for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award. 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 branched Field Artillery and posted with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Schweinfurt, Germany.

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 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.

Army wasted no time cracking into its long list of nationally ranked opponents in the early going. The team opened at No. 5/7 UMass on Feb. 10 and met No. 18/18 Syracuse two weeks later. The Black Knights will go up against five opponents currently ranked in the top 20 of both national polls. Of those contests, two are of the non-conference variety and also includes perennial powerhouse and current No. 4/5 Johns Hopkins on May 3.

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.

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.

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.

Patriot League play continues as Army welcomes Lafayette to Michie Stadium next Saturday, March 23, for a noon face-off. The Black Knights hold a 20-5 lead in the all-time series against the Leopards, including a 10-3 victory last season in Easton, Pa. Lafayette is under the direction of first-year head coach Jim Rogalski and is 2-5 entering this weekend's game against No. 18 Bucknell.

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