We have kicked off our team by team Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Previews with the United States Air Force, then Albany, and now we move another spot down the list to the United States Military Academy, more popularly known in lacrosse circles simply as ARMY. Army is located in West Point, NY.
Army went 7-8 in 2012, and outside their OT loss to Air Force, all of their losses came to Top 20 teams, and 4 of those games were decided by 3 goals or less. The Black Knights suffered tough losses to Cornell, Hopkins, and Lehigh. Army’s biggest win last year came by a goal over Bucknell, and they also beat Rutgers and Navy.
2013 sees Army play a similar schedule, in that they will face Syracuse, Hopkins, UMass, Rutgers and VMI again, as well as playing their Patriot League schedule. They have added on Michigan and dropped Wagner in favor of Manhattan. Army only plays 13 games, and for the most part, the games are spread out, so they will have the ability to focus on one thing at a time. Will this prepare them for a playoff run though?
Make sure to keep an eye on Garrett Thul this year. He is a beast of an attackman and will go to the cage physically and fast. He can also bring the heat from the outside and gives Army a lightning rod to feed on for goals. He draws a ton of attention with his size, speed and aggressive offensive play and if he can add the draw and dump to his already impressive repertoire, we could see a season for the record books from Thul. It’s not all Thul at Army, but he will be a huge part of any success they have.
Joining Thul at attack, and as a captain is Andy Boyd. He’s a finisher and someone to watch in 2013, especially if my drive and dish hopes for Thul pan out. The third captain is Brendan Buckley, who will lead the defense while shutting down the opposition’s best. Buckley isn’t flashy, but he’s effective, and if Army’s coach Joe Alberici could have 5 poles just like Buckley, he’d be the happiest man in all the land.
Army graduated a bunch of good players from last year, and will need new guys to step in and fill these roles, but for the Black Knights, 2013 should come down to two things: How well can these captains lead? (my guess is VERY well.) And how does the team come together given all that they have going on at the academy? If the second question gets answered by Alberici and his staff, Army could conceivably challenge for the Patriot AQ.
For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air Force, Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Albany, NCAA D1 Preseason: Ten Players To Watch In 2013, and Preseason D1 Top 20 Rankings: Teams 1-5.