BALTIMORE, Md. – In a heavy defensive battle, the #18/19 Army West Point men's lacrosse team topped the No. 1 seeded and #6/7 nationally ranked Loyola Greyhounds 7-5 at the Ridley Athletic Complex Friday night.
AJ Barretto was outstanding in net for Army, making 13 saves and keeping his senior season alive. The Darlington, Md., native made 10 saves in the first half alone.
For the second time in three meetings, Johnny Surdick held one of the nation's best in Pat Spencer scoreless. Surdick only had one ground ball in the game, but his tight defense kept Spencer at bay with one assist tonight.
The Black Knights held Loyola to five goals, a season low for the top seed. The Greyhounds haven't been held to five goals since last May in the NCAA Tournament. Loyola lost to the eventual national champions Yale, 8-5.
Offensively, Brendan Nichtern paced the Cadets with a goal and two helpers. With his two assists tonight, the freshman captured Army's single-season assist record at 47.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Army was first on the board when Nichtern shook his defender on the right side and beat Loyola's goalie Jacob Stover for the score.
- The Greyhounds netted their first with 1:48 on the clock, but the Black Knights converted with seven seconds to go in the first quarter to reclaim the lead.
- Nate Jones went bar-down off a pass from Nicholas Garofano to bring momentum into the next frame for the Cadets.
- After a scoreless 10 minutes into the second quarter, Sean O'Brien scored high left on a no-angle lefty crease roll putting Army ahead 3-1.
- Loyola scored a minute later however to keep it a one-goal game.
- The Black Knights netted the lone score in the third quarter at the halfway point.
- Miles Silva capitalized on transition passing after James Pryor ran the ball up the field and dished it off to Nichtern who then fired it to Silva in front.
- On the play, Nichtern captured Army's single-season assist record with his 46th of 2019.
- The Greyhounds started the fourth on the attack, but two-straight scores by Army maintained its lead.
- Garofano scored on a down the alley snipe before the Black Knights took advantage of an extra man opportunity.
- After quick passing around the perimeter, Nichtern connected with O'Brien waiting on top of the crease.
- O'Brien delayed his release and was able to score high on Stover.
- Loyola scored again at the 3:48 mark in the final stanza to lessen their deficit to two.
- Army and Loyola traded goals in the final 45 seconds of the game.
- Attempting to cause a Cadets turnover, the Greyhounds pulled Stover out of the cage to double the ball.
- O'Brien kept his head and found the back of the net to ensure the Army victory.
- Loyola scored with 14 seconds remaining, but it was too little too late for the Greyhounds.
ARMY HIGHLIGHTS AND GAME NOTES
- Army is the only team to defeat Loyola in the Patriot League tournament since the Greyhounds joined the league.
- The Black Knights defeated the Greyhounds in 2015 at the Ridley Athletic Complex.
- The Cadets are now 3-2 against ranked opponents this season and 2-1 against opponents ranked in the top-10.
- Barretto made double-digit saves for the 10th time this season with 13.
- He registers 554 saves in his career and jumps 2011 graduate Tom Palesky's 544 to rank fourth all time at Army.
- Griffin Schultz posted a career-high two caused turnovers and added two ground balls.
- Anthony George, Marcus Hudgins and Matt Manown were also credited with one caused turnover apiece.
- Ethan Barangan had three ground balls and won five faceoffs tonight.
- Barretto and Tom Rigney also contributed three ground balls each.
- Nichtern entered the contest tied for Army's single-season assist record, but captured sole possession with his two helpers today.
- He is the only freshman to rank in the top-20 in assists.
- Nichtern now boasts 74 points this season and ranks second all-time for single-season points at Army.
- He passed 2017 graduate and lacrosse standout Cole Johnson (73).
- Silva bumps up to the tied for 17th position in the single-season goals records.
- The junior has amassed 38 this year and is tied with Jason Peyer '09 and John Walker '05.
- O'Brien's hat trick ties his career high in a game.
- Garofano was another with multiple points finishing the day with a goal and an assist.
- The highly intense game was close with both teams producing 41 shots.
- The Black Knights advance to the Patriot League Championship on Sunday, May 5 in Baltimore Md.
- Army's opponent is yet to be determined as Boston University and Lehigh face each other at 8 p.m.
- The Black Knights are looking to win their second Patriot League title on Sunday with the last coming in 2010.
- Army made it to the championships in 2014, 2015 and again in 2016.