Army Beats Lafayette for PL Regular Season Title
from press release
EASTON, Pa. - Army junior attackman Jeremy Boltus totaled a career-high eight points on three goals and five assists to lead the No. 20 Black Knights to a 15-14 victory at No. 19 Lafayette, Tuesday night. The win clinched the Patriot League regular-season title and top-seed for next weekend's conference tournament. Semifinal games will be played on Friday, April 30, followed by the championship game on Sunday, May 2.
"I'm extremely proud of the team's emotion, passion and effort that they played with today," said Army head coach Joe Alberici. "Lafayette is a tremendous team that puts a lot of pressure on you and our guys were able to respond with their best offensive effort of the season."
Junior goalkeeper Tom Palesky was credited with 18 saves, while freshman attackman Garrett Thul totaled four goals and an assist for the Black Knights (7-5, 5-0 PL). Senior attackman Tyler Seymour also added three goals and an assist as a season-high eight Black Knights found the net.
"In the second half, they really started going to goal hard and finishing some tough looks. They were playing like they had nothing to lose," said junior defenseman Bill Henderson. "We just kept telling each other to keep hammering away and make another play so we could give our offense another shot."
Lafayette (8-4, 3-2 PL) jumped out to a 3-0 lead on back to back goals by senior midfielder Steve Serling at 12:59 and 11:42, before junior attackman Stefan Bauer tallied at 10:52.
Thul put Army on the board with his first goal at 9:08 on an 11-yard shot, before sophomore midfielder Sean O'Sullivan scored on an eight-yard shot with 1:45 to play in the quarter. The Leopards would add a man-up tally with 49 seconds on the clock to lead 4-2 after the first 15:00 of play.
Army would score four unanswered goals in the second quarter to start a 10-1 run that staked the visitors to a 12-5 lead with 5:47 left to play in the third quarter. Seymour would strike on a man-up attempt at 10:10, before senior midfielder Tyler Oates would tally an 11-yard ripper at 8:23. Boltus would score from 12 yards away at 7:32 before Thul scored 22 seconds later off the ensuing faceoff to build a 6-4 lead at halftime.
The Black Knights didn't let up to start the second half. Sophomore LSM Tim Henderson picked a Lafayette pass out of the air to start a transition attempt that Seymour finished off at 12:59, before Thul finished off a Boltus feed at 11:03. The Leopards would stop the Army run with a tally at 7:44, but a 15-yard shot by senior midfielder Andrew Maisano at 7:15, a 15-yard Boltus bouncer in transition at 6:40 and a tally by senior midfielder Matt Poulos directly off the faceoff only seven seconds later gave Army a seemingly commanding seven goal lead.
Lafayette would put together its own four-goal run, including three by senior attackman Matt Mersky, to pull back within three goals, 12-9, at 14:18 of the fourth quarter. Thul would halt the spurt with an unassisted goal in transition at 10:21, but another 4-1 Leopard run made it a one-goal affair with 3:38 to play in the game.
Boltus would score what proved to be his second game-winning goal in three days, sticking a 12-yard attempt 12 seconds later to give Army the two-goal edge with 3:26 to play. Lafayette pulled within one with a tally with 1:07 to go, but a Leopard penalty with 56 seconds to play helped the Black Knights put away its 29th-straight victory over Lafayette.
BLACK KNIGHT NOTES: Army is 5-0 in the Patriot League for the first time since the 1998 squad capped the seventh undefeated conference slate in the first eight years of the conference. A win Saturday would give the Black Knights six PL wins for the first time ever ... Army has won its last four games (all conference contests) by one goal ... the Black Knights were picked to finish fourth in the preseason Patriot League poll, behind Navy, Bucknell and Colgate ... junior attackman Jeremy Boltus' eight points moved him into sole possession of 17th place on the Academy's all-time scoring list, while his five assists moved him into a tie for eighth place on the career list with Tom Cafaro '71 ... his eight points also were the most in a game since Tim Pearson scored 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) against Lehigh on May 4, 2002.
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