Army gears up to make run at NCAA tournament
Wednesday January 23, 2013 | By:Matthew Ondesko, Community Papers of WNY Editor | Sports
BUFFALO - As the Army Black Knights head in to the 2013 lacrosse season, coach Joe Alberici and crew know they need to get back to work if they are going to turn last season’s disappointing 7-8 record, which included a semifinal loss to Leigh in the Patriot League tournament.
The work just hasn’t started when practice got going a week ago, but all the way back in the fall.
“Really pleased in the fall and loved the performance,” stated Alberici, recently by phone from West Point. “We have some very good talent, but I’m cautious.”
If the Black Knights are to turn around their fortunes, they will be doing it with a lot of new faces. Army will need to replace its goalkeeper and see key pieces both on defense and in the midfield.
Alberici feels, however, that the young players he has on the roster can make up for those loses.
“We have a lot of very good players coming back,” he said. “We have a lot of new numbers and a lot for us to fill.”
One person he doesn’t have to worry about replacing is senior attackman Garrett Thul. Thul has been everything Alberici could ask for when he came to the academy four years ago. Last season, Thul just missed out scoring 40 goals three years in a roll when he finished with 39. He was a USILA third team All-American and a first team All-Patriot League.
“Consistent performer,” said Alberici, when asked about Thul. “He is better than he has ever been. He helps players around him get better.”
Sophomore John Glesener also returns after leading the team with 16 assists to go a long with his 15 goals. Glesener has added 15 pounds to his frame in the offseason and Alberici thinks that will be more beneficial.
“He added 15 pounds,” said Alberici. “He has a lot of confidence in both hands (when it comes to shooting). He should be able to stand up better to the physical play this year.”
As always, Army plays one of the toughest schedules in the country. The Black Knights open the season Feb. 9 against UMass and also have Syracuse and John Hopkins. They also will play a game down in Florida against Michigan – who only added lacrosse as a varsity sport a few years back.
“Feb. 9 we open against UMass. It starts up quick. It’s afar cry from 15 years ago,” said Alberici on the early start dates. “It’s exciting to play Michigan. They are young and talented. Hopefully, we will be able to focus on the task at hand.”
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