Big Second Half Spells Victory for No. 20 Army over Bucknell

WEST POINT, N.Y. A dominant second half effort turned a 6-4 Army halftime lead into a lopsided 11-6 victory over visiting Bucknell in Patriot League action on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium. The win moved the 20th ranked Black Knights into sole possession of second place in the Patriot League standings.

In a rematch of the Black Knights' 2013 Patriot League Tournament semifinal game, junior attackman John Glesener led all players with a season-best five goals, including Army's last four of the game, and an assist for six points.

Army (6-3, 3-1 PL) entered the game as the nation's top-ranked defense and showed why in a staunch effort, particularly in the second half during which the Black Knights held Bucknell (5-5, 3-3) scoreless in the third quarter. The lock-down defense started with sophomore middie Alex Daly, who went 14 of 18 in the face-off "x," grabbed a season-high 10 ground balls and tallied his second goal of the season. In addition, junior goalkeeper Sam Somers turned in a nine-save, four-ground ball performance.

Army sophmore attackman Will Mazzone totaled three points on a pair of goals and an assist. Daly, Connor Cook, Alex Newsome and Gunnar Miller rounded out the Black Knights' goal scoring with single tallies.

"I thought this was our best 60 minutes of the season," said ninth-year Army head coach Joe Alberici. "We shot the ball at a much higher percentage than we have been all year, and the defense as a whole was tremendous. Alex Daly was dominant in the middle, which gave us a lot of possession time. That was a huge difference-maker for us going up against a great Bucknell defense."

The Bison became the first team to out-shoot Army this season, holding a 35-28 advantage. The Black Knights took the ground ball battle, 36-23, and won 15 of 21 face-offs overall.

Army sophomore close defenseman Austin Schultz, a transfer from Bucknell, totaled a career-high three ground balls to go with his first career caused turnover. Senior captain John Burk notched his first career point on a third-quarter outlet pass to Mazzone, while adding one ground ball and a caused turnover. Junior long stick midfielder Jimbo D'Aprile forced two Bucknell miscues and collected four ground balls.

Bucknell midfielder Thomas Flibotte led the Bison with two goals.

The teams played back-and-forth throughout the first half with neither gaining more than a two-goal lead. Cook struck first on a rebound shot, but the Bison retaliated with consecutive goals to take a 2-1 lead. Glesener's first goal of the afternoon with 2:31 left in the opening quarter leveled the score at 2-2 after 15 minutes.

After Bucknell took a 3-2 lead just over two minutes into the second, Army responded with three unanswered goals to go on top 5-3. The Black Knights would not trail again. Miller punched in his third goal of the year at the 8:14 mark, while Daly followed just seven seconds later. The New Market, Md., native won the ensuing face-off, got the ground ball and ran it in himself for his fourth career goal.

Newsome followed, registering Army's lone man-up goal of the day from just outside the crease at 4:32. Bucknell's Tom Black cashed in on an EMO goal three minutes later, but the Black Knights won the ensuing face-off and went to work. With time winding down, Glesener fed Mazzone for a highlight reel goal with 23 seconds to go as Army took a 6-4 lead into the halftime locker room.

Army scored all three goals of the third quarter. Mazzone made it two in a row with his second of the day, corralling Burk's long outlet and catching Bucknell goalie Sam Grinberg out of position for the easy score at 11:36. The rest of the game belonged to Glesener as the Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year ripped all four of the Black Knights' goals the rest of the way. Army led by as many as six down the stretch (11-5) and the Bison got no closer than four.

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