Navy vs. Army
April 16, 2011
The Game Story:
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Senior attackman Jeremy Boltus (4G, 3A) and sophomore Garrett Thul (5G, 1A) combined for 13 points, No. 17/18 Army out-scored Navy 10-2 in the second half and the Black Knights came away with a 14-9 win at archrival Navy in the 90th meeting between the two storied programs on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The victory punched Army's ticket to the 2011 Patriot League Tournament where the Black Knights will look to defend their title.

Army (8-4, 3-2 Patriot League) entered the locker room facing a 7-4 deficit, but came out to score the first four goals of the third quarter and shift momentum in the visitor's favor. The Black Knights' 4-0 run came in the span of 4:57 and four different players found pay dirt.

The "Star Game" win marked the program's first at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since 1997 and was the Black Knights' third-straight triumph over the Mids.

Boltus' seven-point effort tied a season-high for the third time this spring, while Thul matched a career-high in both points (six) and goals (five). Army's 14 goals came on 21 shots. All five Thul shots resulted in goals, while Boltus went 4-for-5. Junior midfielder Devin Lynch scored the final goal of the first half and opened the second-half scoring for his two goals. Senior Rob McCallion totaled three points on a goal and two assists, while junior long stick midfielder Tim Henderson and junior defensive midfielder Matt Hurley each tallied a goal.

“Navy is very good in the six-on-six game,” said head coach Joe Alberici following the win. “We did a good job in transition today, particularly in the second half. Anytime you can get numbers on any team, it’s a good thing. I think it’s one of our team’s strengths and it showed in the second half.”

Army's defense held the Mids to just a single goal in each of the final two quarters. Much of that came thanks to senior goalkeeper Tom Palesky, who recorded nine of his 11 saves in the second half. Navy's R.J. Wickham gave up 10 goals, made one save and did not play the fourth quarter.

In a game that featured five ties, Navy owned much of the first half. The teams traded goals to start the contest as Thul (11:16) and Boltus (2:35) kept Army in a 2-2 tie. Tucker Hull's goal with 46 seconds remaining in the first gave the Mids a 3-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Boltus found Thul for the Black Knights' third goal of the game as Army knotted the score (3-3) just 1:20 into the second quarter. Navy (4-8, 2-4) scored the next four goals unanswered to take its largest lead of the day (7-3) with just over two minutes to play in the half. Lynch's first score of the afternoon came with 11.6 seconds on the clock, as he took his defender one-on-one on the run. The 7-4 score stood at halftime.

Lynch picked up right where he left off coming out of the break, scoring his second goal of the day 1:06 into the action. Junior midfielder Derek Sipperly won the ensuing faceoff, allowing Henderson to scoop the ground ball and locate Hurley for the score nine seconds later. Hurley's third goal of the season pulled the Black Knights within 7-6.

“We all felt like we came out flat and weren’t playing our kind of ball in the first half,” Thul said after the game. “Coming out of the locker room, we got a huge faceoff win and a quick goal. That really set the tone for us to finish the way we wanted.”

Henderson got in on the action himself, launching a shot from 16 yards out past Wickham at the 11:30 mark, once again knotting the score at 7-all. Boltus found Thul for the second time with 9:03 on the clock as the Black Knights took their first lead of the afternoon. Navy would come back to tie the score at 8-8, but Army went on to score six of the final seven goals of the game to seal the win.

Boltus broke an 8-8 tie with the first of his three-straight goals with 3:04 to play in the third quarter. Thul scored two of the final three goals of the game, while McCallion's goal with 2:38 remaining in the game put the exclamation point on the Army victory.

“Navy is never an easy team to beat, especially at home,” Boltus said. “I’m so proud of our team’s effort today. We were all getting messages throughout the week from alumni and friends all over the world. It wasn’t just a great win for us, it was a win for the whole Army.”

Army closes the regular season with a trip to Holy Cross on Saturday, April 23, at noon. The Patriot League Tournament will take place on April 29 (semifinals) and May 1 (championship game) at either Colgate or Bucknell.

Game Notes: The Class of 2011 is the first class in Army's 94-year history to top Navy four times ... Army will play as the No. 3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament ... the loss eliminated Navy from Patriot League Tournament contention for the first time since the Mids joined the league ... 8,059 spectators attended the game ... the 1991 Army lacrosse team was in attendance on Saturday ... Jeremy Boltus moved into a tie for second place on Army's all-time assist with 114, which is second nationally to Cornell's Rob Panell among active leaders ... Garrett Thul tallied his third-straight hat trick and seventh of the season the victory tied Army and Navy in “Star” competitions during the 2010-11 academic year with each academy winning 11 ... Saturday’s game was the first of two regular season games Army will play on CBS Sports Network … the Black Knights’ May 6 home tilt against No. 3/3 Johns Hopkins will also be carried by the national network.