Army’s Lacrosse teams open their seasons tomorrow afternoon. The Men host UMass at Michie Stadium, starting at noon. The Women are at #22/#22 Temple, starting at 1 pm. ESPN+ has both broadcasts.
Men vs. UMass
Army Men’s Lax sets two goals every season — to win the Patriot League and to qualify for the NCAA Championship Tournament. The early, non-conference portion of their schedule focuses on the later. The Black Knights will need a few impressive wins against nationally-ranked foes in order to have a shot at an at-large bid to the Tournament. UMass is a perennially impressive squad, and if they weren’t ranked in the preseason polls, that hardly guarantees that they won’t be ranked by season’s end. UMass has both the talent and the pedigree to make some noise down the stretch this season.
Army has won their last six match-ups against UMass, but that hardly means that this will be an easy contest. The Minutemen boast 5 fifth-year seniors, 2 of which were Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) preseason all-conference picks, M Kevin Tobin and D Sam Eisenstadt, alongside all-conference junior G Matt Knote. On its face, then, we might expect to see a low-scoring game. Both teams boast a preponderance of talent on defense. However, the Minutemen also put fifth-year senior A Chris Connolly on the Tewaaraton Watch List, so really, anything is possible this weekend.
At least on paper, these teams seem well-matched, and indeed, most of their games have gone down to the wire. Army started the season ranked much higher in the polls, but that only speaks to expectations. The Black Knights need to worry a lot more about results right now.
Women at #22/#22 Temple
Army’s Women won the Patriot League’s North Division last year and now look to take the next step in 2022. But they have a new coach in Michelle Tumolo and a relatively young team that just graduated a goodly number of its former star players. We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out over the course of the season.
The Women also have a seemingly new scheduling philosophy. Previous years have seen the Black Knights schedule relatively weaker opponents early as they prepare for tougher match-ups in conference play. This year, though, the ladies have scheduled more like the men, with opening games against ranked teams like this one at Temple and next week’s against #17/#17 Rutgers.
The good news is that Tumolo is an experienced coach with a reputation for developing high-powered offenses. If she can get Army’s offense on point, then anything is possible, especially since the team was already pretty good at scoring. Add in the fact that Army has put two players onto the Patriot League’s preseason all-conference team, A Caroline Raymond and D Ceara Sweeney, and we have at least the backbone of a team that could contend in the Patriot League.
With the way this season opens, we ought to learn a lot in the next few weeks. This first contest, however, will be an acid-test of how far the team has come in the last few years.
We landed 2⃣ players on the @PatriotLeague Preseason All-League Team‼️— Army W.Lacrosse (@ArmyWP_WLax) February 2, 2022
We can't wait to see what ???????? ??????? and ????? ??????? do for our team this year ??
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Go Army! Beat UMass!!! Beat Temple!!!
* Cover image via LaxAllStars.Com.