Thul's Seven Goals Lead Army Over VMI
from press release
WEST POINT, N.Y. — Three days later and it was the same result for the Army lacrosse team - a 14-8 victory. The story Saturday, however, was senior attackman Garrett Thul exploding for a career-high seven goals and sophomore attackman Alex Newsome (six points) continuing his standout. Thul added an assist to finish with a career-best eight points in a monster offensive effort. Thul and Newsome combined for 11 of 14 goals for Army (2-1), which remained a perfect 5-0 against VMI (0-2). Seniors Alex Van Krevel, Andrew Boyd and Matt Mezer each tallied single goals. Sophomore attackman John Glesener added a game-high three assists.
Statistically, Army dominated the Keydets, outshooting them 60-18 and owning a 50-31 advantage on ground balls. Thanks in large part to a stellar riding effort, Army's attack combined for seven caused turnovers. Freshman attackman Connor Cook totaled three alone to lead the team.
VMI's face-off unit, coupled with a 33 of the Black Knights' shots being on cage, heated up in the second half and helped keep the score from getting out of hand.
"I thought we played hard all the way through," said eighth-year head coach Joe Alberici. "We controlled the things we could control and were extremely aggressive in the ground ball game. It was one the best riding games in my eight years.
"We didn't shoot the ball very well, particularly in the first half, but we were able to battle through," he added. "We put up some pretty rare shot and ground ball numbers today, but one led to the other. It gave us more possessions and gave us more opportunities to score. We needed every one."
Mezer, who scored his first career goal six seconds into the second quarter, keyed the Black Knights in winning 16-of-25 face-offs. Army was also 21-of-22 on clears and scored on three of six extra-man opportunities.
After a relatively quiet first half, during which he still managed to tally a pair of goals, Thul caught fire with five second-half goals - three of which came in the final 7:34 of the game.
"It was a struggle in the first half, but we stuck with it and it paid off," Thul said following the game. "We stayed aggressive and started to put some of those shots on cage. We played an Army game today; we scrapped it out."
Army, which led 6-4 at the half, gave up back-to-back VMI goals to close the third quarter. The spurt pulled the Keydets within 9-7 heading into the final 15 minutes. It was then that Thul and the Black Knights out-scored VMI 5-1 to put the exclamation point on its second win of the season.
The Keydets opened the scoring less than three minutes into the action, but the lead was short-lived as Glesener found Newsome for his first goal of the day at 10:55. VMI took a 2-1 lead with its second goal at the 7:21 mark before the Black Knights used a 4-0 run extending into the second quarter to take a 5-2 lead. Newsome scored twice more during the stretch, which also included Mezer's goal off a face-off win.
The teams traded goals to end the half with Army leading 6-4.
Due to a penalty in the final minute of the second quarter, Army began the second half a man down. VMI took advantage with its first of two EMO goals of the afternoon just 20 seconds in. The score trimmed the Black Knights' lead to 6-5. Sixteen seconds later, Thul did all he could to give Army another two-goal cushion. He first stripped VMI's Will Baker, picked up the ground ball and finished the play with a highlight-reel goal at 14:24.
Boyd (11:34) and Newsome (5:27) proceeded to find the back of the net over the next 10 minutes, which put Army on top 9-5. VMI then scored twice to end the quarter.
Thul got things going in the fourth quarter, as Newsome found him open for his fourth goal of the afternoon at 13:12. The Keydets responded with what would be their final goal of the game at 9:49.
Thul put the game away with three of Army's final four goals of the game, including a couple of lasers past VMI goalkeeper Matt Lindemann, to secure the win.
Russell East led VMI with three goals, while Bernie Mowbray added two goals.
After opening the season with three games in seven days, the Black Knights have the next eight days to prepare for its next contest, a highly anticipated match-up at Syracuse on Sunday, Feb. 24. Face-off at the Carrier Dome is set for 4 p.m.
Game Notes: Army donned its gray jerseys, which it only does against other service academies, in a nod to the Long Gray Line ... Garrett Thul extended the nation's longest goal-scoring streak to 42 games ... he now has 134 goals, which is just six off the Academy career mark (Scott Finlay '78 has 140) ... sophomore Sam Somers started the game in goal, while junior Bobby Sincero played most of the second half ... senior Evan Danahy drew his first minutes of the season, playing the final 1:42 ... Army assisted on 10 of its 14 goals.