March 6, 2012

Thul Scores 100th in Army Win over Rutgers

from press release

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Junior attackman Garrett Thul scored his 100th career goal and freshman midfielder John Glesener completed his first career hat trick as the Army lacrosse team outlasted visiting Rutgers, 9-8, on a chilly Tuesday night at Michie Stadium.

Despite Rutgers (3-3) tying the score on three occasions and inching within the final one-goal margin six times, Army (3-3) led by as many as four goals nearing the end of the third quarter and never trailed the Scarlet Knights.

Thul led all players with four goals to go with a career-high five ground balls. Glesener finished the night with three goals and one assist for a career-best four points. Senior co-captain Devin Lynch and senior attackman John Adairalso scored for the Black Knights.

Thul's monumental goal came less than two minutes into the second quarter and put the Black Knights on top, 3-2.

"It's an awesome feeling," Thul said following the game. "The guys that I'm joining in the 100-goal club are players who I look up to, and to be listed among them is an honor. Coming off two really tough losses (at No. 6 Syracuse, at No. 3 Cornell), we got rolling right off the bat and it gave us a lot of confidence."

Glesener got hot early and scored the first two goals of the game, giving the Black Knights a 2-0 advantage just 3:31 into the contest. The Camillus, N.Y., product created for himself in both situations as Army got on the board first for the second game in a row.

"It was nice to have momentum going our way just a couple minutes into the game," Glesener said of his eighth and ninth goals of the season, respectively. "That helped kick-start our offense and allowed the game to come to us a little easier. It was a grinder-type of a game from there. It felt like we were dominating in many aspects, but things weren't going exactly our way. We just had to keep with it and eventually it paid off."

Army outshot Rutgers, 49-28, and won the ground ball battle, 32-22. The Black Knights got going early and owned a 19-5 advantage in shots in the first quarter alone.

"It was a huge win against a very good Rutgers team tonight," said seventh-year head coach Joe Alberici. "I was really proud of our guys and the emotion they played with. John Glesener got us going right out of the gate, but it was one of those games where the guys showed a lot of maturity as a whole and kept chipping away.

"At one point, we were out-shooting them 42-16 and were only up two goals," Alberici continued. "A lesser team with lesser character might have gotten down on themselves and let that one slip away. They stayed after it and made key plays when they had to."

The teams traded goals in the opening half with Rutgers leveling the score at 4-4 with a Zachary Zenda goal with just 1:46 remaining in the period. The Black Knights stole momentum back before heading into the locker room with Lynch's lone goal of the game with 27 seconds left. Lynch picked a pass out of the air from Glesener to put Army on top, 5-4.

The Black Knights scored the opening three goals of the second half and took their largest lead of the game, 8-4, as Thul completed his 21st career hat trick at the 3:26 mark of the third quarter. Glesener opened the second-half scoring with his third goal of the game at 14:16, while the Black Knights converted their lone man-up goal thanks to Adair at the 10:46 mark.

Rutgers retaliated with a three-goal surge, which spanned into the first three minutes of the fourth quarter as the Scarlet Knights pulled within 8-7 with 12:33 to play.

Neither team found the back of the net over the next 11 minutes, but Thul came around the cage for his fourth goal of the night in timely fashion with 20 seconds on the clock and gave Army a 9-7 lead. The Scarlet Knights won the ensuing face-off Brian Goss buried his second goal of the game with 13 seconds remaining. Rutgers stayed alive, however, winning the next face-off and launching two shots in the waning seconds. The first shot rolled wide and the second was blocked as Army hung on for its third victory of the season.

Senior goalkeeper Zach Palmieri helped anchor the Black Knights' defense with eight saves. Sophomore midfielder Tyler Kamide, who also tallied his fourth assist of the year, totaled a season-high three ground balls. Army, which entered the game ranked fifth nationally in caused turnovers, forced five of Rutgers' 12 miscues. Junior defenseman Brendan Buckley led the way with two. Senior middie Derek Sipperly took all 21 face-offs on the night, winning 10 and totaling a game-high eight ground balls.

Goss and Will Mangan paced Rutgers with two goals apiece.

The Black Knights turn their attention to service-academy rival Air Force on Saturday, March 10. The game will be played at The Kinkaid School, a college preparatory day school in Houston, Texas.

"This week is the most difficult we've had yet in terms of travel," Alberici said. "We need to be mature, handle this one and move on. We have an exciting and emotional game ahead against Air Force in a great venue down in Texas. Our guys are up for it and will go out there and play their best."

Game Notes: Garrett Thul is the ninth Army player in the program's 95-year history to reach 100 goals ... Army was a perfect 13-for-13 in the clearing game.


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