Thinking Outside The Box

Mike Murphy is in his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Army lacrosse team. Under his tutelage, the Black Knights have consistently been ranked among the nation's top defenses, while he has also guided some of the most prolific goalkeepers in Academy history. A native of Beverly, Massachusetts, Murphy graduated from New Hampshire in 1996 where he was a three-year lacrosse letterman for the Wildcats.

March 22, 2011

A Milestone, Motivation and Mountain Hawks

I woke up yesterday morning at about 4:30 a.m. with these three things very much on my brain, more Mountain Hawks then the other two, but all three had me tossing and turning.

First up, I have always tried to use my blog as a way for our fans to get an inside look into our program. A way to add a behind the scenes look at what leads us up to game day and a way for the reader to get to know our players.  Our guys, especially one seems to think it’s a way for me to give additional “pub” to our goalies. Well #2, this first part of my blog is all about you.

I have had the fortune to spend seven and a half great years here at West Point, and I have been able to work with some amazing players. On Saturday, in our 12-4 win at Rutgers, senior Jeremy Boltus moved in with some rare company. Jeremy registered his 100th assist. In true Boltus and Army fashion, not a lot was made of the moment.  

A group hug, between the attack Jeremy, Garrett Thul and Conor Hayes, the white midfield of Jay Laing, Alex Van Krevel and Andy Boyd. Andy notched the third of his career, but it was the 100th “dime” of Jeremy’s putting him in rare company. The hug was for the most part the same hug the team had done after the previous 99.

Until that moment, there had only been two other Army lacrosse players to register 100 assists in a career. That is pretty significant when you think we have been playing lacrosse at West Point off and on since 1907.

#2 joined Tim Pearson ‘02 (142) and Jeff Bryan ’04 (114) as the only two other Black Knights to achieve the century mark. I just recently met Tim, who is a helicopter pilot still active in the Army. However, I got to work with Jeff during his senior year and my first year here at the Academy. That senior class of ’04 will always be special to me. Marko Kostovic, Brice Roberts, Doug Bartolotta and Jeff welcomed me in and have become good friends. All but Brice was there this summer as we celebrated Marko’s wedding. Brice’s parents were there in his absence. Brice was deployed at the time of the wedding. 

I think Jeff would say that Jeremy’s game is very much like his own. Jeff was creative around the goal whether it was creating for himself or for someone else.  Jeff and Jeremy’s respective careers have very much mirrored each other. Both have had excellent finishers along the way. Jeff spent many an afternoon distributing to John Walker and Jim Wagner. While Jeremy has helped Garrett Thul, Tyler Seymour and Jason Peyer “light the lamp.” Both play and played with great midfielders as well.

Both Jeff and Jeremy will tell you that it’s the scorer that deserves the credit.  But without that pass the goal does not happen.
Congrats to Jeremy and all his teammates for a great accomplishment. There is much more work to do!

Saturday’s game was a good way to end the first half of the season. We put together three good quarters of lacrosse. We bogged down way too much on offense in the third quarter, but got the job done against a good Big East school.  Jeremy paced us with six points on two goals and four assists.  Conor Hayes was very good, adding a goal and two assists, while both Garrett Thul and Devin Lynch added two goals apiece.

The defense was good as we continued to battle through and have guys returning from injuries. Larry LoRusso, Brendan Buckley and Matt Marasco were excellent in limiting the Rutgers’ attack to only two goals. Our DMids were good containing the Scarlet Knight mids to their other two goals, but also generating two goals themselves as Tim Henderson scored his second goal and Derrick Sipperly scored and got an assist.

We must, however, turn our attention quickly to the Patriot League.  League play starts on Tuesday night when the Mountain Hawks invade Michie. This is a VERY dangerous Lehigh team. They may be the most skilled team we have played to date. Their offense is very explosive. With the ability to score from either their attack or midfield, the Brown and White will pose a great test to our defense. Defensively, they play very much like we do – smart, aggressive and tough.

Remember my blog after the Bryant game and how it was student vs. teacher when Coach Alberici led us vs. Coach Pressler. Well the roles are reversed three fold. The Lehigh staff is a great young staff made up of three former Duke graduates who all played while Coach A stalked the sidelines in Durham. Now, head coach Kevin Cassese, assistant’s Taylor Wray and Dan Keating bring their charges back to the banks of the Hudson. Last time Coach Cassese and Coach Wray were in Michie, they left with a hard-fought come-from-behind victory over the Black Knights.

So, the young “students” bring their charges to their “teacher’s” backyard, for another age-old scuffle of “father” vs. “son(s).” Good thing the game will be played by the players.  I don’t know if our staff could hang with their staff toe-to-toe!

This Lehigh team grabbed the national spotlight when it defeated Navy 14-10 a few weeks back. It was the first time a Lehigh team had defeated the Naval Academy since 1913. I was in attendance that night, and I will tell you this year’s Mountain Hawks are a fun group to watch. They play with great skill and are not afraid to make plays. They immediately grabbed our attention when they scored 14 goals against Navy. The Mids have always prided themselves on great defense, and any time an opposing team can get to double digits, you better take note.

Tonight’s game should be entertaining. We will be tested everywhere. They have the top face-off guy statistically. There guy is winning draws at close to 70%. They are also scoring over 11 goals per game and giving up only a little over eight per contest.

Bring your hard hat and lunch pail, because this one could go all night.  It’s on to Lehigh for #1.

“If you want unusual results, you need unusual behavior.”

Coach Murph

Previous Entries
Oct. 14, 2010
Jan. 27, 2011
Feb. 4, 2011
Feb. 10, 2011
Feb. 14, 2011
Feb. 22, 2011
March 1, 2011
March 8, 2011
March 15, 2011
March 22, 2011


Knight Vision


SHOP NOW at the
Official Online Store




    Click Here