We’re back again with the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we’ll go through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Army Black Knights, located in West Point, NY.
Last year was full of highs and lows for the Army Black Knights. They beat Colgate in stunning fashion on national television, but lost in the Patriot League semifinals, ending any hopes of an NCAA Tournament appearance. In 2014, Coach Joe Alberici’s squad is looking to bounce back and make a run.
Attack: Superstar Garrett Thul graduated and is now playing in both the MLL and NLL, but there are still plenty of talented players in the Black Knight offense. John Glesener will run this offense after putting up 31 goals and 30 assists last year. Also returning for Army is Will Mazzone, their 3rd returning goal scorer. Mazzone can expect to see more action this year, as defenses will be focused on the crafty Glesener. Look for Alex Caros to see more time in 2014 as well.
Midfield: The play of Army’s midfield will be focused on Alex Newsome, their 2nd returning goal scorer. Most of Newsome’s success comes from his dodging, a talent that could see him play anywhere in the Army offense. This year, the short stick defensive midfield will be lead by Billy Baird, who missed some time last spring due to injury. Other midfield contributors could include Tyler Kamide, a veteran who will no longer be in the reserve role he played last year, and Luke Poulos.
Faceoffs: Alex Daly was the guy last year for Army and won 58% of his draws as a freshman. The Patriot League is full of talented faceoff guys, like Lehigh’s Ryan Buttenbaum and Loyola’s Blake Burkhart, so Daly will be up against some stiff competition. However, looking at the success he had last season, expect Daly to rise to the occasion and even improve his numbers this year.
Long Stick Middie: Jimbo D’Aprile will be starting for the second year in a row. D’Aprile is not a flashy player but is quick and technically sound, and had a great year last year. He also had 12 caused turnovers in addition to his 21 groundballs. Hopefully for Army, the combination of D’Aprile and the aforementioned Daly will create lots of possessions for their offense.
Defense: The loss of Brendan Buckley is definitely going to be tough to overcome. John Burk is going to be the leader of the defense, but some younger players are going to have to step up in order for Army to have the same shutdown defense they had last year (Third lowest goals against average in D1). Luckily for the Black Knights, they have freshman Tim Stackpole, a caused turnover machine.
Goalie: Sam Somers had a great freshman season, stopping 58% of the shots that came his way. He will be starting again for Army in 2014 and will look to maintain the level of success he had last year, only allowing 7 goals per game. In emergencies, the Black Knights have a capable backup in Bobby Sincero.
Overall: There are some big holes to fill on offense and a few question marks on D. Specialty positions (FOGO, SSDM, LSM, Goalie) are strengths for Army. The Black Knights look solid, but there is still work to be done in West Point if they want to improve on their 8-6 record from 2013.