Army vs. Bryant
February 23, 2010
The Game Story:
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army freshman attackman Garrett Thul scored four goals and added an assist, but it was visiting Bryant holding on for a 7-6 victory, Tuesday afternoon, in lacrosse action at Michie Stadium.

Army (1-1) held a slim 4-3 lead at halftime, but the Bulldogs (2-1) scored two unanswered goals in the third quarter to take a 5-4 lead into the final period. Thul's goal with 8:58 to play knotted the score, 5-5, but a man-up tally by Bryant junior midfielder Gary Crowley put the visitors up, 6-5, with 6:26 remaining. Thul once again tied the score with a goal with 2:04 to play, but sophomore midfielder Max Weisenberg made a nice move to get open on the right side of the crease and tucked the winning goal into the top left corner of the net with 1:18 to play for the victory .

"I'm really disappointed for our guys. They played really hard and we had some good momentum going into halftime," said Army head coach Joe Alberici. "We had a lot of costly turnovers that ended up causing us to play a lot of defense in the third quarter and caused the momentum to shift. We battled back and forth in the fourth quarter and had some good opportunities, but I tip my hat to the Bryant goalkeeper who turned in a fine performance."

In a game played on a slushy field and in a wintery mix of sleet and rain, Bryant jumped out to a 3-1 first quarter lead. Crowley opened the game with an unassisted tally at the 7:57 mark, before Army junior attackman Jeremy Boltus took a feed on the run from junior midfielder Brandon Butler and scored on an eight-yard shot to tie the game at 3:03 of the first quarter. Consecutive Bulldog goals by junior mIdfielder Matt Larson at 2:02 and sophomore attackman Travis Harrington at :37 gave the visitors a two-goal cushion heading into the second quarter.

Army would outscore Bryant 3-0 in the second quarter to build a 4-3 lead at halftime. Thul picked up a ground ball off a missed shot behind the Bryant cage and ran forward to stuff home his first of the day at 11:40. Following a Bryant slashing penalty, Thul would finish off a man-up attempt from 10-yards away off a feed from junior attackman Jeremy Boltus at the 10:04 mark. Sophomore midfielder Devon Lynch would take a pass from Thul and score on a 15-yard laser at the 7:41 mark to give Army its first lead of the game heading into intermission. Bryant's best scoring chance of the quarter came at the 5:00 mark with the Black Knights going man-down after an interference call, but Army goalkeeper Tom Palesky made a point-blank save on a shot by Weisenberg to keep the Bulldogs off the board for the quarter.

Bryant tried to pry away the momentum in the third quarter, holding Army scoreless while grinding out two goals to take a 5-4 lead. Freshman attackman Peter McMahon got loose on the Army crease and beat Palesky for a tally at 7:46, before Larson converted from 12 yards away off a feed from behind the goal from junior attackman JK Poirier at 5:27.

Thul started the final quarter with his third goal on a low, left-handed rip on the right side from 15 yards away at 8:58 for the fourth of five ties in the contest, but an Army slashing penalty would lead to a man-up tally by Crowley at 6:26 to put the visitors back on top, 6-5.

Thul managed to bounce a shot between sophomore goalkeeper Jameson Love's legs off Boltus' second-consecutive assist at the 2:04 mark two even the score, 6-6, but Weisenberg's game-winner 46 seconds later sealed the Bryant victory.

A six-save fourth quarter gave Love 13 stops for the game, including big a man-down save in the fourth quarter following a Bulldog interference call at 3:28.

"We battled to the end and in tight games like that, every possession becomes magnified," continued Alberici. "We didn't lose that game in the end. I just don't think we played the kind of Army lacrosse in the second half that we did in the first. I give a lot of credit to Bryant, which played hard and is well-coached. Now, we'll regroup and get ready for Syracuse."

BLACK KNIGHT NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 10 minutes so a pair of plows could clear the slush and snow off the field ... Army senior midfielder Matt Poulos won nine of 12 faceoffs through the first three quarters of play, before Bryant senior midfielder Andrew Hennessey rebounded to win all five draws in the fourth quarter ... Army held a 37-24 advantage in shots and kept the Bulldogs to only 13 clears in 22 attempts for the game ... Army defeated Bryant, 11-5, on March 4, 2009 in the first and only other meeting between the two teams ... the game featured a matchup of two present US National Team coaches, with head coach Mike Pressler leading the Bulldogs and assistant coach Joe Alberici guiding the Black Knights ... Army will head to Syracuse to take on the two-time defending national champions this Sunday (Feb. 28) in a 5:00 p.m. faceoff in the Carrier Dome.