Army laid a whuppin’ on a good Lafayette team, doubling up the Leopards 18-9 by the end of the 3rd quarter. The final stanza saw the Black Knights empty the benches, giving us a final score of 18-12.
As always, the Black Knights’ defense played well. Goalie Wyatt Schulper put up another strong performance, notching 14 saves against just 12 goals-allowed. Meanwhile, Attacker Brendan Nichtern earned another 7 points, marking his third 7-point game this season. Perhaps best of all, FOGO Will Colletti ended up winning 22/33 faceoffs, giving Army the opportunity to go on a few looong scoring runs. With that, Colletti was your All-Patriot League Face-off Specialist of the Week.
The Army Team will need that kind energy and output again this Saturday when they take on a very good Lehigh team at Michie Stadium.
Enter the Mountainhawks
The Lehigh Mountainhawks enter this week’s contest at 3-2. Though the experts picked them to repeat in the Patriot League Finals during the preseason, Lehigh hasn’t quite recaptured last year’s mojo. Their defense looks as good as ever, and they own wins against NJIT (10-5), Navy (11-7), and Holy Cross (14-8), but though their team seems to be coming around, they’ve yet to see the kind of success against higher-level opponents that has characterized Army’s early season.
To succeed this week, Army will need another solid performance at faceoff. Many consider Lehigh FOGO Mike Sisselberger, a two-time All-American, to be one of the very best faceoff guys in the entire nation. The Black Knights also need to watch out for Lehigh G James Spence. Spence is a fifth year super-senior grad student who’s saving 52% of all shots on goal while allowing less than 9 points/game overall. Spence is an outstanding communicator, arguably the lynchpin to Lehigh’s defensive success.
Lehigh is not a WOW team in any facet. We won’t see the flash of a Rutgers or Syracuse offense this week. Instead, the Mountainhawks are going to try to win faceoffs, methodically execute their attack, and grind it out on defense through physical play. If that sounds familiar, it should. It is very much the style we tend to see from the Black Knights as well.
Great team effort to improve to 2-0 in the @PatriotLeague 😤 Five goals for Christian Mule' to lead the offense. Five caused turnovers for Teddy Leggett to lead the D. Next up, a big one at Army on Saturday.#WinToday #PSDT pic.twitter.com/KciNgiQSuC— Lehigh Lacrosse (@LehighLacrosse) March 13, 2022
Keys to Victory
1. Make Faceoffs Ugly
To win this game, Lehigh needs to win face-offs clean. If Coletti can successfully contest faceoffs, however, the Black Knights can win ground balls, and that’s probably as much as we can hope for.
It ought to be enough.
Colleti is a Hell of an exciting player, and he’s only a plebe, but this will be his biggest test of the season so far.
2. Score Early and Often
Army has scored in the first two minutes of every single game this season. It is a great stat that Coach Joe Alberici surely loves. What he doesn’t love, though, is the gaps that occur after those initial offensive flurries. Three times this season, we’ve seen Army put up just a single goal in a quarter.
Alas, the Black Knights can’t afford to slow down this Saturday. Lehigh’s ability to win faceoffs makes them entirely too dangerous down the stretch if the game stays tight.
3. DEFEND the Michie Home Streak
Ah, that Michie Stadium magic. Right now the Black Knights own a 14-game home winning streak, the longest home winning streak in the nation. To keep that streak alive, Schulper and company will need to post another gritty Army defensive performance, one where the Mountainhawks’ only shots come off weak and from the outside.
Lehigh is not an outstanding offensive team, but they are tough, and they are very good on defense. Army will need to win a tough, physical contest this week against a team that comes ready to play tough, physical lacrosse.
Special guest prior to practice today‼️— Army M.Lacrosse (@ArmyWP_MLax) March 16, 2022
“When you’re chasing greatness the difference between winners and champions is the motivation that comes from within to be uncomfortable everyday.”
– Alejandro Villanueva ‘10#GoArmy #Beatnavy pic.twitter.com/0jC1lMiQuO
According to our calculations, Brendan Nichtern is now just 9 point off of Army’s all-time scoring record. Friends, he’s already had a 10-point game this season and could hit his mark at any time.
Faceoff starts at noon this Saturday. Coverage comes via ESPN+.
Go Army! Beat Lehigh!!!
*Cover image via Donna Tamasitis (Smugmug).