Welcome back to As For Football’s continuing #AsForLax coverage!
Week in Review: Army Wins!
Army Men’s and Women’s Lax both took care of business this past week.
The Men beat a physically tough, stingy Holy Cross team on the road. Holy Cross likes to run a lot of zone defense, something that Army has had trouble managing at times in the recent past. Indeed, we saw that this week in the early going against the Crusaders; the game stayed relatively close through halftime. Thankfully, the Black Knights came out of the locker room and scored 7 unanswered in the third quarter to put the game away. Equally important, the team got to play a lot of unfamiliar faces through the game’s final period.
Meanwhile, the Women continued their unbeaten streak in a close game of their own against Hofstra. It’s always tough to be an unbeaten team, especially when the game comes in uncharted territory early in the season. But this was a great win and it keeps the team’s momentum.
Currently, both the Men and Women are ranked in every poll, falling somewhere around the #15 spot. The Women face Boston University this weekend to start Patriot League play. That ought to be a HUGE game since the Terriers have also gotten off to a fast start and are also looking to make this a special season. Meanwhile, the Men take on Lafayette in a special Friday Night Lights game.
Lafayette Leopards Building Momentum
The Leopards have had some down years in the past, and if you took a look at the records, you would say that they are heading that way again this year. They’ve started 2-4, with losses to Penn State, Delaware, Drexel, and Loyola. But hey, all of those teams are pretty good! In fact, the Leopards kept it close with perennial Patriot League powerhouse Loyola just this past weekend.
At some point this season, Lafayette is going to upset someone. The Black Knights need to make sure that they’re not that someone.
No. 7 Loyola Tops Leopards in Patriot League Opener https://t.co/EEsoRRRcOg— Lafayette Men’s Lacrosse (@LafayetteMLAX) March 5, 2023
Army’s Youth Movement
As I was going through the stats for the season thus far, I noticed a trend that has become arguably the biggest story of the year – the production of Army’s youngest players. Friends, only one Firstie on the entire roster has recorded a point this season. In fact, all of the top ten scorers are underclassman and two of the top five are plebes! Plebe Evan Plunkett, the man of the hour last weekend after having earned Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors, ranks second on the team in points with 10 goals and 7 assists.
Reality is that this team needs contributions from all up and down the roster if they want to succeed. So far, though, this team looks like it may yet hit championship form against all odds. Still, it’s a long season. Building that Next Man Up mentality becomes crucial when times get tough and will go a long way come tournament season.
Congrats Evan 👏👏👏— Army Men's Lacrosse (@ArmyWP_MLax) March 6, 2023
Seven points (3G, 4A) in the win over Holy Cross to earn weekly honors from the Patriot League!
→ https://t.co/syavMANd7F#GoArmy | #FamilyToughnessTradition pic.twitter.com/emFU8KGd7e
Possession is Key
It feels like we say it every week, but winning faceoffs and capitalizing on every possession is crucial to stopping runs and going on runs of your own. In that, FOGO Will Colleti and his faceoff wingmen have brought a tremendous dynamic to Army’s offensive production. Being able to score then immediately go back down with the ball is something that we cannot take for granted, but man is it nice to have.
I’m sure the defense appreciates it, too. Given Colleti’s success at the faceoff dot, the defense has been able to be more aggressive, knowing that they’re going to be playing defense for a relatively shorter amount of time. Rather than being tired and reactive, the Army defense can get after it and attack.
The same can be said on Army’s ride. We see this when the opposing team is trying to get the ball over the midfield line after a turnover and start an offensive possession. Army’s ride this year has been something to behold. Week after week, game after game, opposing teams have gotten stops but been unable to capitalize because they can’t get the ball past midfield. With that, the Black Knights have limited opponent possessions and increased their own chances in the offensive end.
Win the Games You Should Win
This Friday Knight (pun intended) tilt against Lafayette is important for a few reasons. One is the fact that Army SHOULD win this game handily. To be a championship team, you need to win all of the games in which you’re favored. In fact, Lafayette has been in a huge drought against both Army and the Patriot League’s other top tier teams.
But they’re a tough, hungry team who’s eager to earn a signature win. Beating Army would make their season.
The Black Knights cannot start slow this week. If they do, emotions will run high. This is a Patriot League opponent. To get a home tournament game and maybe even host, Army needs to take care of business this week.
Get ready for some fun Friday Night Lights.
Go Army! Beat Lafayette!!!