#10/#11 Army Men’s Lacrosse opened its season with a good-looking win against UMass this past weekend at Michie Stadium. The Black Knights got off to a hot start, going up 6-2 off a 4-goal run in the 1st that damn-near put away early. But UMass came back in the 3rd to make it a contest, winning faceoffs and outsourcing the Black Knights, 4-1. That tied the score and set up an exciting finish. The good guys came strong in the 4th, though, going on a 3-goal run to open the quarter, and with that, the Black Knights won both the final period and the game by a point.
Final score: Army 14, UMass 13.
The good news is that Army’s offense looked both efficient and deadly against a UMass team with an all-conference defense. The Black Knights scored their 14 points on just 28 total shots. That’s incredible. Brendan Nichtern scored 5 himself and added 3 assists, while Reese Burek and Jacob Morin each scored 2 goals and Gunner Phillip scored 1. Army also won 15/30 faceoffs, a definite improvement over last season if not quite a dominating performance overall. The Black Knights looked notably better at the faceoff “X” early in the game. UMass seemed to adapt down the stretch, however, leading to their strong showing in the 3rd quarter.
Army played this game without preseason All-American Marcus Hudgins. Minus their best defender, Army’s defense forced just 5 turnovers and needed G Wyatt Schupler to make a career-high 18 saves, while the Black Knights themselves turned the ball over a whopping *17* times.
So yeah. It’s good to get a win against a quality opponent while missing your best player, but there is also clearly still some room for improvement after Week 1 as well.
#6/#8 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Yo, Rutgers (3-0) is good. They beat LIU 15-6, Marist 13-10, and St. John’s 23-6! Attackers Ross Scott and Mitch Bartolo each have 10 goals on the season, while G Colin Kirst has 37 saves, and FO Jonathan Dugenio has won 40/58 faceoffs (69%).
Army is gonna need to force a lot more turnovers to have a chance this weekend. It’ll surely help to get Hudgins back, but it wouldn’t hurt if they could win more than a handful of faceoffs as well. Army has a chance at a legit signature win against a national powerhouse this week, but they’ll need their best possible stuff to get that “W”.
Alas, television coverage this week is only available via BTN+.
Congrats to @ArmyWP_MLax's Brendan Nichtern for being named our Athlete of the Week, presented by @USAA ???— ArmyWestPoint Sports (@GoArmyWestPoint) February 15, 2022
Nichtern tied a career high with eight points on five goals and three assists in Army's 14-13 win over UMass in the season opener on Saturday. #GoArmy pic.twitter.com/JHjBsdyQZV
Go Army! Beat Rutgers!!!
*Cover image via Donna Tamasitis (SmugMug).