Communities around the world are grappling with the life changes that have come with COVID-19. Here in the U.S., businesses and school closures caused employees to create new normals. It might be working from home or trying to balance now becoming an ad-hoc homeschool teacher.
For some in the class of 2020, it means online classes, some cancelled graduations and for service academy athletes, it means an opportunity cut short. And while the NCAA is currently devising a plan to offer student-athletes in this year’s class an extra year of eligibility, that won’t be a reality for service academy graduates as they’ll continue on to serve as leaders in our nation’s military.
The Patriot League initially announced the cancellation of all future games and tournaments to include lacrosse matchups two weeks ago which drew a pretty impressive Army lacrosse season to a close.
2020 marked the third time in four seasons that Army finished in the top-14 in national polls. Monday, the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll announced Army had finished their early season at 14, up one spot from the previous week.
The Black Knights stood the test of top-ranked competition finishing 6-2 overall and ranked second in the country in scoring defense with 7.25 points per game.
As we continue our tribute to service academy athletes, here’s a look at the graduating seniors of the Army men’s lacrosse team, who have a Patriot League title to their name, and were poised for a shot at a repeat this season.
Named to the 2019 All-Patriot Second League Team, the Saunderstown, R.I. native finished the season with four goals, five assists and nine points. Manown was a 2020 team captain. He had an impressive 85% accuracy of shots on goal and totaled nine ground balls. He finishes his Army career with 32 goals and 27 assists, having contributed in a major way all four years.
Silva is a product of USMAPS and Ponte Vedra High School. With 23 points on 22 goals and 89% shots on goal, one can only assume he would’ve topped his 2019 personal bests of 39 points if given the chance. The Pointe Vedra Beach F.L. native was integral to Army’s back to back wins against Binghamton and Lafayette, totaling five goals in each matchup this year. Silva finishes his Army career with an impressive 65 goals to his name.
In 2019, the senior from Manhasset, N.Y. was one of eight players to net double digit points, scoring three goals and eight assists. In 2020, Alacqua appeared in five games and caused one turnover. Alacqua finishes his Army career with 14 points,
Another 2020 that greatly improved from his last season, the Savanah, GA native capped this year with five goals, five assists, and 10 points. The senior helped Army to victory with two tallies against Lafayette, and was also a team captain this year. He finishes his Army career with 23 goals and 13 assists.
While the Pittsford, N.Y. native didn’t net any goals during the 2020 campaign, he did appear in four games this year, as well as last year against Binghamton, Colgate, Lafayette, and UMass. Fun fact: before his appointment at West Point, he owned a lawn maintenance business!
During the 2019 season, the Jupiter, F.L. native saw action in four contests. He appeared in two more games this season and during his time at West Point he made the Patriot League and ECAC honor roll.
In 2019, O’Brien was named to the 2019 All-Patriot League Tournament Team which is no surprise. Last year he recorded 15 ground balls and was ranked fourth on the Black Knights with 33 points, 21 goals and 12 assists. In the 2020 campaign he appeared in eight games and was half way to topping last year’s stats with 19 points, 16 goals and three assists.
The Tampa, F.L. native was a force on defense. In 2019, Taylor appeared in all 18 games where he forced two turnovers and totaled three ground balls. He saw serious improvement totaling 18 ground balls and causing 11 turnovers in just eight games before the 2020 season was cut short.
Named to the 2019 All-Patriot League Team Tournament and team captain in 2020, Rigney totaled a season-high of 51 ground balls last year. In 2019, Army was named the second-best scoring defense team in the country with 8.61 goals allowed per game. The Nokesville, VA native caused five turnovers and collected 23 ground balls in 2020.
The midfielder from Seven Park, Md. saw action in two games each from 2017 to 2019. During the 2020 season, he appeared in five contests and totaled two shots. During his time at West Point he’s also be a scholar-athlete making both the Patriot and ECAC honor roll in 2018.
Ground balls is the name of the game for this senior from Carmel, Ind. in 2019, George was seventh in the team with 27 ground balls, five of which were recorded during the victory against Navy. He also caused 11 turnovers. Even as a sophomore he was dominating on defense with 17 ground balls and five turnovers. The 2020 season seemed to be just what one would expect. In just eight games he netted 13 ground balls and caused two turnovers.
While the college athletic careers for these men has been cut short, this is just the start of their journey as soon-to-be West Point graduates. Make sure to check out the rest of our senior salutes highlighting the achievements of service academy athletes this year.