Last week was a success for the Service Academies in men’s lacrosse, as the trio finished with a 2-1 record.
Army and Navy got the job done as Air Force battled against a Top 20 team in Denver.
This week, the grind of the non-conference really begins though. Both east coast academies play two games in a week span as Air Force must travel all the way to upstate New York to take on Colgate.
These are the kind of weeks where teams find out what they’re made of.
Navy 15, Mercer 5
No. 10 Army 14, UMass 13
No. 12 Denver 13, Air Force 9
Navy vs. Hofstra – 6 p.m. (FLO)
Air Force vs. Colgate – Noon (ESPN+)
No. 10 Army vs. No. 6 Rutgers – 1 p.m. (ESPN+)
Manhattan vs. Navy (@Hofstra) – NOON (YouTube)
Siena vs. No. 10 Army – 3 p.m. (ESPN+)
No. 10 Army
Army pulled away late on Saturday to open its season with a victory against UMass, 14-13. The win for the tenth-ranked Black Knights kept them stagnant in the Inside Lacrosse Top 20 rankings.
“It’s a great win, UMass is a terrific, terrific program,” head coach Joe Aberici said postgame. “Our guys scrapped.”
Brendan Nichtern was the pacer for Army on Saturday, scoring a career-high five goals to move the Black Knights to 1-0 on the season. It was tied at 10-10 heading into the fourth quarter but two straight goals by Nichtern gave the Black Knights the 13-10 lead with 6:42 remaining.
“We always talk about our Army team always has heart, and I think we showed that today,” Nichtern said.
Nichtern was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week while Wyatt Schupler was named the league’s Goalie of the Week.
The Black Knights will play two games this week, visiting No. 6 Rutgers in a Top 10 showdown, then hosting rival Siena in a midweek battle on Wednesday.
The Midshipmen rolled Mercer to get their first win of the season by a score of 15-5 on Saturday. Navy kept the Bears scoreless in the first half, holding a 7-0 lead at the break.
First win of the 2022 season— Navy Men's Lacrosse (@navymlax) February 12, 2022
the highlights! pic.twitter.com/RXkdj53E1o
“I’m proud of what we looked like in the first half. There were spurts for a long time that we looked like what Navy lacrosse should look like,” head coach Joe Amplo said postgame.
Patrick Skalniak was able to put together his second five-point performance in two games while co-captain Jack Sweeney scored a career-high four goals.
“He is a very good inside player, that’s what he does,” Amplo said about the play of Sweeney. “I was hard on him last week. I told him in front of team that he didn’t do his job last week. His job is to score goals. That criticism is tough to take sometimes. But a true winner, a true champion, someone who is going to go serve our country and do great things, a Navy midshipman like Sweeney is, he’s going to handle that. He’s going to take it to heart and he’s going to do the best that he can. Today, he benefitted by his hard work and his belief in himself and I’m really proud of him for that.”
Navy will play two games up in Hampstead, New York this weekend as they visit Hofstra on Friday and play Manhattan on Sunday.
Air Force battled on Saturday but dropped its second consecutive game against a ranked opponent on Saturday, 13-9 to No. 12 Denver.
They would trail by two at the break, but a 4-2 scoring advantage for the Pioneers in the third quarter made the difference. Brendan Crouse led the way with a career-high six goals.
For the first time this season, the Falcons will travel to face an unranked opponent as they play Colgate on Saturday afternoon.