Army Sinks Navy for First-Ever Patriot Tourney Crown

Navy would take advantage of an Army failure to advance foul and quickly score as senior LSM Zach Schroeder would score in transition with 1:43 to play in the third to halt a 18:37 scoring drought for the Midshipmen. Navy would score again to start the fourth as Connors took a pass from behind the Army goal from sophomore midfielder Nikk Davis and beat Palesky to pull the visitors within two, 8-6, with 12:56 to play in the game.

Thul would score what was perhaps the biggest goal of the game to halt the Navy run, backing down a defender 15 yards in front of the Navy goal before turning and unleashing a monster shot into the top-right corner of the goal at 9:09. O'Sullivan would follow with another long-range shot at 8:12 to put Navy back in a four-goal hole that it could not dig out of. Navy freshman midfielder Evan Sullivan would find the net with 2:23 on the clock, before Moran scored with 1:51 remaining to cut to a two-goal deficit, but the Black Knights salted the game away with two huge possessions that included an empty-net goal by Boltus with 11 seconds to play to seal the win.

* * * *

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Patriot League Tournament MVP Tom Palesky turned away 12 potential Navy goals, including six in the second half, to lead the Army men's lacrosse team (10-5) to an 11-8 Patriot League Championship win over Navy (7-8) Sunday afternoon at Michie Stadium in West Point. With the win, the Black Knights have earned the right to represent the Patriot League in the 2010 NCAA Championship set to begin in two weeks.

“I want to congratulate Army,” said 16th-year Navy head coach Richie Meade. “They played consistently well throughout the game. I think it was a game that was decided by mistakes and in the end, Army made fewer. They also capitalized on their extra-man opportunities (4 of 7), while we really struggled to score on our inside shots.

“It's difficult to come from behind in a game like this,” added Meade. “You're working on a day's rest and both teams are expending a great deal of energy. There's a point where the margin for error is very, very slight and Army was good enough to put us in that position.”

The first half began as a game of runs which then turned into a see-saw battle. The Mids scored the game's first two goals, including a goal by senior attackman Brendan Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) 49 seconds into the contest. Connors dodged Army defensive middie Alex Gephart, slipping inside to stuff a shot in from the right side of the crease.

The Mids pushed their lead to 2-0 when Army's Bill Henderson slipped and junior attackman Andy Warner (Corning, N.Y.) took advantage by running in untouched for his fifth goal of the weekend.

Army, though, fought its way back with a pair of goals to knot the game by the end of the quarter. First-Team All-Patriot League attackman Jeremy Boltus scored an extra-man goal with Navy keeper RJ Wickham (Penn Yan, N.Y.) out of the goal. Wickham turned away a shot prior to and came out of the cage to fight for the ground ball. Boltus instead came up with the grounder and was able to send it past Navy defenseman Michael Hirsch (Schwenksville, Pa.) who tried to man the goal while Wickham was out. Meanwhile, the game-tying goal was scored on a Boltus-to-Garrett Thul goal 10 yards out with 1:20 remaining in the opening quarter.

Navy took the lead at 3-2 less than three minutes into the second quarter when senior midfielder Patrick Moran (Annapolis, Md.) send a hard crank shot from the right wing to the lower left side of the cage. Moran was held scoreless in the previous Army-Navy battle, the lone game in which he was held without a goal or an assist this season.

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2010-05-02



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