March 21, 2014
RV/RV Army vs. #17/20 Lehigh Game Notes
WEST POINT, N.Y. - In the first of back-to-back home games, Army (4-3, 2-1 Patriot League) tangles with No. 17/20 Lehigh (6-2, 3-1) on Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium. It marks the second-straight Patriot League contest of the season for the Black Knights, who are coming off a hotly contested 7-6 setback at No. 2/2 Loyola last Saturday in Baltimore. Army and Colgate enter this weekend tied for third in the league standings, a game behind the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh is coming off a 13-2 conference victory over Navy last Saturday at home and has won three-straight games against Army.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
Radio: 1390 WEOK-AM, 1340 WALL-AM throughout the Hudson Valley. 92.5 WBLR-FM in Watertown, N.Y. (Fort Drum).
Web: Knight Vision will carry Saturday's game for a subscription fee. 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.
DEFENSE DOES IT
Over the last three weeks, Army has represented the NCAA's top defense, holding opponents to an average of 5.57 goals per game. Saturday's game pits two of the nation's top four defenses against one another as Lehigh comes in at No. 4 yielding 6.75 goals per game. Both teams' offenses are averaging well under 10 goals per game and have relied on a staunch defense in 2014. Seniors John Burk and Pat Hart join sophomore Austin Schultz in making up a veteran-laden Army close defense. Junior goalkeeper Sam Somers anchors the defense and entered this week atop the national statistics with a 5.42 goals-against average. Lehigh's Matt Poillon lands third nationally with a 6.7 GAA. The Black Knights have 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.
Sitting at 4-3 on the season, the Black Knights are just three goals shy of potentially adding to their win total. All three of Army's losses this season have come by a single goal - 6-5 vs. Massachusetts (Feb. 8), 9-8 (OT) vs. Rutgers (March 4) and 7-6 at No. 2/2 Loyola (March 15).
LEFTOVERS FROM ARMY AT LOYOLA
• Army faced its first nationally ranked opponent of the season, giving No. 2/2 Loyola all it could handle in a 7-6 setback last Saturday.
• The game marked the first between the two programs since 1943.
• Junior goalie Sam Somers made a season-high 16 saves and recorded a career-best .696 save percentage.
• Junior attackman John Glesener extended his point-scoring streak to 22 games and matched sophomore middie Shea Mullins with a team-high two goals. Will Mazzone and Gunnar Miller also scored goals.
• Army outshot the Greyhounds 45-35 and committed just six turnovers on the afternoon.
Thursday officially marked the first day of spring, which is an appropriate time for West Point to be on its Spring Break. No classes meant a more flexible schedule for the Black Knights (see below), who did not practice at their normal 3:30 p.m. daily time slot. Instead, the team opted for earlier in the afternoon and allowed for two team dinners. As per tradition, Army dined at local Mexican favorite Hacienda on Tuesday night and had dinner at head coach Joe Alberici's house on Thursday night.
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 (7-1, 3-0) is alone in first place and is the only remaining undefeated team in Patriot League play. Lehigh enters this weekend in second place with a 3-1 mark, followed by Army and Colgate tied for third place at 2-1. Bucknell (2-2), Navy (2-2), Boston University (1-2), Lafayette (1-3) and Holy Cross (0-4) follow in order. The Patriot League boasted three nationally ranked teams as of Monday, with Loyola leading the way in second in both national polls. Lehigh landed 17th in the coaches poll and 20th in the media poll, while Colgate snuck in at No. 18 in the media poll. Army received votes in both polls.
HOME SWEET MICHIE
Saturday marks the fourth of six home games for the Black Knights this season. Only 15 Football Bowl Subdivision stadiums, and just six east of the Mississippi River, are older than fabled Michie Stadium. The venue has played host to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament seven times, most recently in 2001. Army is 74-39 in Michie Stadium over the last 16 years, including a 6-1 mark in 2010 when the Black Knights defeated rival Navy to win the Patriot League title. The Black Knights also went 6-1 at home in 2005 and defeated three nationally ranked opponents at Michie.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
Army has out-shot all seven 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 42.4 shots per game, while yielding 24.1 shots per contest.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS
No. 17/20 Lehigh (6-2, 3-1) is the second-straight nationally ranked opponent Army faces. The Mountain Hawks enter Saturday's game with the nation's fourth-ranked defense, yielding 6.75 goals per game. Lehigh is 2-2 in its last four games and coming off a decisive 13-2 victory over Navy on March 15 in Bethlehem, Pa.
Lehigh won the 2013 Patriot League Tournament and fell at fifth-seeded North Carolina in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament. Returning from that season's team are Patriot League Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year Matt Poillon and two-time All-American close defenseman Ty Souders. Thanks in large part to a stellar defense, Lehigh currently leads the league and ranks 10th nationally in caused turnovers.
Offensively, Lehigh brings a three-pronged attack with a pair of juniors and a sophomore leading the way. Junior attackman Dan Taylor leads the team and ranks seventh in the Patriot League averaging 3.14 points per game. Junior attackman Patrick Corbett's 16 goals lead the team, while sophomore attackman Reid Weber's 11 assists top the lineup. They are the only three Lehigh players to reach double-digit points so far this season.
Army's man-down unit has proven to be formidable through seven games this season. The Black Knights have surrendered just three EMO goals, as opponents are 3-for-16. With a .813 kill percentage, Army's man-down unit ranked fourth nationally heading into Saturday's showdown.
Junior goalkeeper Sam Somers has been one of the nation's top goalies over the last two seasons, finishing last year atop the NCAA in goals-against average. He currently holds that same position midway through 2014 as well with a 5.42 GAA. Somers currently lands third in save percentage (.621) heading into this weekend's game. The Wilton, Conn., native finished 2013 with a 7.18 goals-against average and picked up All-Patriot League second team honors. He 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. Somers has gone on to reach double-digit saves eight times, most recently with a season-high 16-save performance at No. 2/2 Loyola on March 15 in Baltimore, Md.
With the expansion of the Patriot League to nine teams in 2014, the league's tournament will feature a new format this spring. In the past, the league's top four teams battled it out in a single weekend (semifinals and championship) for the Patriot League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. This year, the top six teams will make the tournament field with the top two teams earning a bye. First-round games are slated to take place Tuesday, April 22, on the campus of the higher seed. The semifinals and championship will be played the following weekend, April 25 and 27, at the site of the highest seed.
Army remains at Michie Stadium to host Patriot League foe Bucknell next Saturday, March 29, at noon. The Bison are off to a 4-4 start to the year, including a 2-2 mark in Patriot League action, and host Boston University this Saturday in Lewisburg, 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. The game can also be heard on radio via 1340 WALL-AM, 1390 WEOK-AM (Hudson Valley) and 92.5 WBLR-FM (Watertown).