After getting a dominant win against Navy this past weekend and earning the Star, Army Men’s Lacrosse finds itself actually in the position it sets out to reach at the beginning of every season. If they win their last home game against Boston University, they’ll host the Patriot League Tournament at Michie Stadium and get a first-round bye. The so-called experts picked BU as the top team in the Patriot League during the preseason this year, and at times, we’ve seen that the firepower is there. The Terriers had an uncharacteristic loss to Navy, but they’ve been strong against the rest of the League.
Let’s take a look at the Keys to Victory for the game that will decide home field advantage for the Patriot League Championship Tournament.
Nothing — not a pending downpour and most certainly not Navy — was going to stop @ArmyWP_MLax from singing second Saturday. https://t.co/lItBlCHulx— USA Lacrosse Magazine (@USALacrosseMag) April 23, 2023
Playing for a regular season title on Friday night!#GoArmy | #FamilyToughnessTradition— Army Men's Lacrosse (@ArmyWP_MLax) April 26, 2023
PREVIEW >> https://t.co/fjic9BvjwW
BU Offense vs Army Defense
BU’s offense was the storyline of the year last year. Their ability to score efficiently with balanced contributions from a variety of underclassmen pushed them past the Black Knights in the Patriot League Tournament Finals. This year, a trio of senior attackmen have done the bulk of the heavy lifting. Vince D’Alto, Louis Perfetto, and Timmy Ley have together accounted for more than 150 points this season. They may collectively be the most talented three-man attack unit that Army has faced this season!
The key to this matchup will not be an individual. Defender AJ Pilate has shown that he can lock down the best of the best. But when all three of the attackmen have the ability to be the go-to guy, communication and good off-ball play become crucial. Army has to find a way to make other guys step up for BU. The Terriers, meanwhile, will try to get one of their top guys open against a short-stick midfielder. Army will have to force tough passes, create turnovers, and then execute clean transitions to win on Friday night.
Pay attention to Time of Possession this week. With an attack unit as talented as BU’s, the best strategy is to keep the ball away.
The Long Island Express is rolling into the regular-season finale on Friday!— BU Men's Lacrosse (@TerrierMLAX) April 26, 2023
Here's where our three star attackers currently rank in the @PatriotLeague as we get ready to face Army West Point. pic.twitter.com/x43xX2Aa7K
Scoring, Scoring, Scoring
In BU’s loss to Navy, they scored a season-low 8 goals. In every other outing this season — both wins and losses — the Terriers have scored in the double-digits.
What this means for the Black Knights is that even if the defense stands on their heads, anything less than 10 from the offense is going to make for a tight game. In fact, Army probably needs to put up as many as *15* to feel anything like “comfortable” this week, and even then, BU has put up 20 at points this year to get wins.
To avoid chaos, Army needs to put up points in all four quarters.
Look up "shutdown" in the dictionary and it's just this video of AJ Pilate.#GoArmy | #FamilyToughnessTradition pic.twitter.com/JUtEyD6d4o— Army Men's Lacrosse (@ArmyWP_MLax) April 25, 2023
Best for First?
The first half has been one of Army’s biggest weaknesses this season, but against Navy, it was the strength. In fact, this was the first time all season that the team went into the halftime break, and I thought, “Man they are dominating today”.
They’re gonna need that same energy against BU. No team in the Patriot League is going to just roll over and give up, especially with home field advantage on the line in the playoffs. But if the Black Knights can head into the locker room at halftime with a commanding lead, they’ll gain a huge psychological edge.
This will be a tough contest. Every edge will count.
More to the point, a win this week sets the stage for the Patriot League Tournament. Every team will know that the next time they see the Black Knights, they’ll be in Army’s house with the season on the line.
Army-Navy was a movie 🎥🤩— Army Men's Lacrosse (@ArmyWP_MLax) April 26, 2023
Relive our huge win down in Annapolis!#GoArmy | #BEATnavy | #FamilyToughnessTradition pic.twitter.com/uIZYSu1oxf
We’ve reached a point in the season where the Army Team has rounded into form. This team has been enthusiastic, talented, and consistent all across the board all year long. There are a couple of key guys, sure, but the team as a whole consistently creates opportunities at every level on the roster.
That’s what’s put Army into the Patriot League Tourney early, it’s what gives them a very real chance to host it, too. Army likely has to win the tournament to make it to the NCAA Tournament, but for now, they just need to win this next game.
A win this week will propel this team to the next level of the season — a potential championship season.
The first 5️⃣ 0️⃣ 0️⃣ fans get a free Classic "A" tank on Friday night! pic.twitter.com/thXMIXqd2s— Army Men's Lacrosse (@ArmyWP_MLax) April 26, 2023
Go Army! Beat BU!!!
Cover image via Donna Tamasitis on Smugmug.
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