No. 20 Black Knights to visit men’s lacrosse

The Boston University men’s lacrosse team will continue to pursue its second win as it prepares to face the No. 20 U.S. Military Academy this Saturday at Nickerson Field.

Sitting seventh in the Patriot League standings, the Terriers (1-8, 1-4 Patriot League) will have a challenge ahead of itself. The Black Knights (6-3, 4-1 Patriot League) are in second place in the conference, only a game behind Loyola University-Maryland for first.

In its last contest, BU fell in to the U.S. Naval Academy 13-7 this past Saturday.

The contest began competitively, and the two sides were tied 2-2 through the first quarter. The Terriers opened the scoring, getting a goal from freshman attack Ryan Johnston. The freshman, who has become a major contributor for the Terriers on offense, struck again at the start of the third quarter to bring them within three goals of the Midshipmen (4-5, 3-3 Patriot League).

Yet the play of sophomore T.J. Hanzsche, especially in the fourth quarter, elevated Navy to victory. Hanzsche, who is third in the Patriot League in goals per game, recorded a hat trick, which included two goals in the last period.

On offense, the Midshipmen stunted the Terriers’ play. Navy scored well above its average with 13 goals, and dominated BU with a 41-27 lead in shots. The Terriers also suffered by committing 19 turnovers.

“I [was most impressed with] the way we came back from the five-goal deficit,” said BU coach Ryan Polley. “Our team has been a resilient team all year…I was impressed that we didn’t quit, we kept fighting, kept grinding. We were able to make it a game that could’ve gone either way if we got another goal or two in the fourth quarter.”

The heavily favored Black Knights come in having won their last two contests. In its effort last Saturday, Army defeated Bucknell University at home, 11-6.

The Black Knights were guided by the efforts of junior John Glesener. He scored five goals on eight shots, and also recorded an assist. The attack’s scoring was especially impressive as three of his goals came unassisted.

The Bison (5-6, 3-3 Patriot League) led Army in several statistical categories in the contest. Bucknell finished with a 35-28 advantage in total shots, and also committed six less turnovers than the Black Knights. Army proved its ability to persevere, though, and it never trailed in the final three quarters.

Glesener is now the second-leading scorer in the conference with 24 goals this season. The Camillus, N.Y., native is also third in the Patriot League in points per game with 3.67, and leads the conference in shots per game with 11.89.

The Terrier offense will get its toughest test against Army’s defense on Saturday. BU’s attack will have to find a way to create opportunities against the Army defensive line, which leads the nation in goals-against average, allowing only 5.56 goals per game.

Moreover, the Terriers are second to last in the conference in points and shots per game with 11.11 and 31.11, respectively. On the other side, goalkeeper Sam Somers leads the Patriot League in save percentage with .609.

“[Army is] extremely hard to score on,” Polley said. “They’re very well coached, and they’re big and strong. They have great athletes.

“It hasn’t necessarily been our strength scoring goals, so it might be a challenge scoring. They have the returning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year in John Glesener that we have to figure out how to defend.”

Army also boasts a steady attack that tops the league in shots per game with 40.11. Another large discrepancy comes with concern to committing penalties, an area where the Black Knights lead the conference and the Terriers sit in last.

This game will be BU’s last at home until May 4, when the Terriers will welcome No. 3 Duke University to Nickerson Field. Until then, BU will look forward to its last three games on the road before the Patriot League Tournament to improve its record.

“A lot of these guys come from winning programs, and certainly we had expectations and we wanted to be competitive in every game,” Polley said. “And we’ve been competitive in almost every single game, so I’m proud of the fact that we continue to fight even though the season hasn’t necessarily gone the way we wanted it to with wins and losses.”

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