March 13, 2011

Ten Players Score in Army Rout of Wagner

from press release

WEST POINT, N.Y. - A season-high 10 different players scored, including sophomore attackman Garrett Thul's second-straight hat trick, as No. 16 Army throttled visiting Wagner in a 14-1 decision on Sunday afternoon at Michie Stadium. Army's 14 goals marked a season-high, and the Black Knights extended their win streak to three games.

Army (4-2) got out of the gate in a hurry and continued to dominate the contest throughout. The Black Knights jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the first 15 minutes of play, led 8-0 at the half and held Wagner scoreless until the 2:13 mark of the fourth quarter.

"Going up 6-0 in the first quarter and really dominating play is exactly what we wanted to do," said head coach Joe Alberici, who is in his sixth year with the program. "I was really proud of our starters for giving us that lead and enabling us to have everybody play. The whole foundation of this program is based on everybody contributing. Usually that happens during the week when every player is contributing to game day. It was great today for those guys to get the opportunity to get out there. I'm very proud of them and how they finished the game. The numbers changed, but the level of play did not.

"We talked a lot heading into today about just playing Army lacrosse and playing to the level that we're capable of playing," he added. "We had several guys down today, so new guys had to step up. The level of play was consistent throughout, and I think we became a better team today."

Army outshot Wagner (0-5) by a 43-16 margin and won 16-of-19 faceoffs. Junior Derek Sipperly finished 9-of-10 in the "x," while sophomore Matt Mezer was 5-of-7. Freshman Nick Isnardi won both of his faceoff attempts. The Black Knights totaled 38 ground balls to the Seahawks' 18.

Thul's hat trick led all scorers and was the 10th of the All-American's young career. Junior midfielder Devin Lynch and senior attackman Corey Reiser added two goals apiece. Senior attackman Jeremy Boltus, who led all players with four assists, joined sophomore midfielder Alex Van Krevel in scoring a single goal. Sipperly, junior attackman John Adair and rookies Matt Ghidotti, Nate Gustafson and David Tarsa all tallied their first collegiate goals.

"It felt great coming out of the gate fast," Boltus said. "It was also awesome watching the younger guys get in there and contribute. A lot of guys got their first career goals and it was a beautiful thing to see. I remember mine and cherish it. Today was great. We're in a groove right now and just need to keep it going."

Coming off arguably the duo's best game of the season in Friday's 12-7 win at Bryant, Boltus and Thul picked up right where they had left off and connected for Army's first goal on the Black Knights' first possession of the game. After senior goalkeeper Tom Palesky outletted a pass downfield, Boltus threaded Thul on the opposite post for the transition score just 1:56 into the contest. Sipperly won the ensuing faceoff, scooped the ground ball and wasted no time launching a straight-on shot for his first career goal just five seconds after Thul found the back of the net.

Thul scored Army's next two goals, the first coming at 9:34 as Boltus fed him curling around the back of the net. Just over three minutes later (6:17), Thul made Wagner pay for a turnover with a bullet from 10-yards out.

"I've been spending a lot of time over in the Foley Center with coach Mac (Diange), trying to get my shot right," Thul said. "We've been trying different moves that have been opening things up for me. I'm trying to change my game all the time and become a more dynamic player."

Lynch scored Army's last two goals of the quarter as the team took a 6-0 lead after the first. Lynch one-timed his first goal of the day thanks to a spot-on pass from sophomore midfielder Pat Brennan. Lynch buried his second goal of the quarter with 1.9 seconds remaining in the half. Boltus earned the assist.

Reiser opened the second-quarter scoring with his first tally of the day with 9:27 on the clock. He scooped a ground ball and created for himself for the unassisted score. Boltus netted his 11th goal of the season with 6:40 remaining in the half and gave Army an 8-0 advantage at the break. Boltus' goal came on the run off a Thul feeder.

Army went on to score three goals in each of the final two quarters, while also giving Palesky a break between the pipes. Junior Zach Palmieri made a team-high four saves in 23:17 of work. Sophomore Evan Danahy and freshman Bobby Sincero made their season debuts in the fourth quarter.

Reiser got the second half going in a hurry as he netted his third goal of the season at the 14:18 mark. Junior long stick midfielder Tim Henderson launched a long pass that found Boltus, who in turn hit Reiser for the goal. Less than a minute later (13:21), Lynch found Adair for his close-range shot on Army's second man-up goal of the afternoon. Van Krevel closed out the Black Knights' third-quarter scoring with an unassisted goal at 5:30.

Wagner went on to hold the Black Knights scoreless for the longest stretch of the game before Tarsa broke the silence with his first career goal with 7:52 remaining in the contest. Classmates Nate Gustafson (6:16) and Matt Ghidotti (4:22) also tallied their first collegiate goals in the final seven minutes of action.

Wagner's lone goal of the day came on an unassisted Brian Faughnan tally with 2:13 to play.

"We played great team defense and really communicated better today than we have all season," said senior defenseman Pat Mulholland, who made his first career start on Sunday. "We were all really comfortable out there. Everybody was 100-miles an hour today and going full-tilt."

While West Point pauses for Spring Break, the Black Knights will spend the week preparing to take on Rutgers on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Garden State. The Scarlet Knights recently broke into the national rankings, landing 19th in the USILA Coaches Poll and receiving votes in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll as of Monday. Rutgers is 4-1 in 2011, suffering its first loss of the year at Penn State on Saturday. Rutgers will host Jacksonville for a mid-week contest on March 15 before welcoming Army to town.

Game Notes: Army improved to 2-0 at Michie Stadium this season and extended its home win streak to seven games dating back to the 2010 season ...  senior attackman Corey Reiser brought out the American flag ... the game only featured three penalties, all charged to Wagner ... Army was just over two minutes away from recording the program's first shutout since Army topped Rutgers (18-0) on April 4, 1970 ... one goal allowed is the fewest since a 4-1 win at Lafayette on March 21, 2006 ... Jeremy Boltus has combined for 12 points in the last two games ... Boltus and Garrett Thul have now scored a point in each of their last 15 outings ... Sunday marked the first-ever meeting between Army and Wagner ... head coach Joe Alberici recorded his 44th victory as Army's head coach.


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