If you checked our Lacrosse on TV 2012 Schedule this weekend you saw that the Army – Navy Lacrosse game was televised on the CBS Sports Network. Hopefully, you get CBS Sports and were able to take in the game, but if you weren’t, we have a full game recap and a HUGE photo gallery from the day courtesy of Tommy Gilligan Photography!
This game marked the 91st meeting of these two fine military institutions, over 10,000 people packed in to Michie Stadium in West Point, NY, and for the first three quarters these two squads battled back and forth with equal intensity and goal scoring capability. The teams entered the 4th quarter tied up at 6 apiece. Navy entered the game at 5-5 overall, while Army was 5-6. Both teams needed a win to help their Patriot League hopes.
In a game like this, most teams will rely heavily on their star players to be the difference makers, and that is exactly what happened here, and is a big part of the reason why Army won the game. Overall, these two teams are pretty equal, even if they play different style of lacrosse. They both have some size in places and where they don’t have size, they definitely have some speed, and everyone is conditioned well.
Where the two teams differ in personnel is where the game was decided. Navy does not possess a single player on Garrett Thul‘s offensive level (not many schools do!), but they do have one of the best keepers in the game in RJ Wickam. And this match up proved to be the difference maker in the game.
Wickam was excellent in between the pipes, and he made a lot of good saves on the day. He should be given a lot of credit for Navy’s overall solid play in the game. When you have a guy like RJ backing you in net, confidence skyrockets, and Navy definitely played with confidence.
But all the confidence in the world isn’t going to stop Thul when he’s having a good day, and man, did he have a good day or what? Thul played an almost flawless game of lacrosse on Saturday. He pressed when he needed to, and pulled the ball back out when the situation didn’t look promising. When he did commit to going to the cage, he went hard and rarely lost the ball before getting off a quality shot.
Thul ran around people for a lot of chances and showed off his speed, which is impressive for his size. His first goal came off a solid sweep from X where he got a step and fired one lefty over the top of Wickam. When the speed approach didn’t work, Thul just ran OVER the defenders. It almost looked like he was D1 player playing in a really good high school game. That isn’t a knock on anyone else out on the field at all, it’s just a statement showing how good Thul looked this past weekend.
The game was a lot of fun to watch, and got very physical at times. The intensity was there from minute one and there were numerous hits that came in a second or two late, and some pretty vicious checks throw. However, neither of these teams got involved in any nonsense, and both kept their eyes on the prize: WINNING.
In the end, the difference maker was Thul though. He got shots off under pressure, changed planes and changed the angle of his head on the release a couple of times. If you have the game on DVR, it’s worth watching ALL of his shots to see how he manages to pull it off. Thul definitely manages to bring some serious power, but he’s also a very deceptive shooter, and this game really made me appreciate that aspect of his game a lot more.
On one of his goals, instead of breaking his wrists OVER the top, Thul opens his wrists in the other direction and this allows what should have been a low to low shot to scorch the top corner. You could color me very impressed. And then you get to his magical behind the back goal through a triple team and you’re left scratching your head. That was just insane.
Navy wore their traditional Navy helmets, gold jerseys and Navy shorts. Army went with Black helmets and their all grey uniforms. There was no throwback gear here, and nothing new or special for either of these teams, but who cares? The actual game here was AWESOME, and that’s what really matters!
Plus Tommy Gilligan makes these guys look good no matter what they’re wearing!
This was just an amazing lacrosse game played by two of our nation’s finest institutions. The game had history, intensity and a lot of great lacrosse action… plus a couple unbelievable goals! Army – Navy Lacrosse… it doesn’t get any better than this!