Playing in its regular season Patriot League home finale, the Boston University men’s lacrosse team fell to the No. 18/20 United States Military Academy, 8-7, this past Saturday at Nickerson Field.
The Black Knights (7-3, 5-1 Patriot League) led by multiple goals for most of the game, but the Terriers (1-9, 1-5 Patriot League) made a final push in the fourth quarter to add drama to the contest.
“I’m proud of the way we came back, we didn’t let the game get away,” said BU coach Ryan Polley. “To our guys’ credit, they continued to play hard and execute and chip away. But there’s too many lapses in the middle of the game where we stop executing.”
Army got off to a fast start, scoring twice within first three minutes. First, sophomore Jimbo Moore got the ball and fired a shot into the upper corner at the 13:46 mark. Then, after winning the ensuing faceoff, the Black Knights found junior John Glesener at the top of the attack, where he placed the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal.
BU managed to get one back at the 5:38 point of the first quarter, when, on a man-up opportunity, freshman midfielder Cal Dearth found freshman attack Adam Schaal, who bounced a shot into the the net for his eighth goal of the season.
Army wasted little time after getting the possession back, scoring twice more before the quarter’s end. With 3:23 remaining in the first frame, attack Will Mazzone made a run behind the Terriers’ goal and dumped the ball to sophomore Connor Cook, who made a low shot past freshman goalkeeper Christian Carson-Banister. About a minute later, Glesener scored again on an unassisted attempt.
The frame ended with Army up 4-1, but BU held advantages in shots and freshman midfielder Sam Talkow split the game’s first six faceoff attempts.
In the second quarter, the Terriers attempted to get back into the game when at the 12:08 point, Dearth found freshman attack Sam Tenney who cut inside and placed a shot past goalkeeper Sam Somers.
The Black Knights would again extend their lead to 6-2 after a couple of unassisted goals from the sticks of midfielder Shea Mullins and attack Tim Coll with just over nine minutes left in the half.
On a man-up chance, Dearth again brought BU back into the game, delivering a ball to freshman attack Justin Diamond, who scored his first collegiate goal.
Redshirt freshman midfielder Patrick Donnelly got the Terriers closer when he fought through outreaching defenders to make the score 6-4 with 2:36 remaining in the half.
Trailing by two goals at the break, BU had won more faceoffs, taken more shots and committed fewer turnovers and penalties than Army through two quarters of action.
In the third frame, neither team could break through until the 4:26 mark, when Glesener made a pass to midfielder Alex Newsome who scored his ninth goal of the season.
However, the third quarter ended in concern for the Black Knights as Somers had to be helped off the field after a play at the end of the frame. He did not return for the remainder of the game. Somers, who is first in the nation in goals-against average with 5.44 per game, was using crutches after the game.
Army would take an 8-4 lead less than 30 seconds into the fourth quarter when Glesener found freshman Cole Johnson at close range.
With less than seven minutes remaining in the contest, the Terriers would go on a run that nearly tied the score.
Schaal delivered a pass to freshman attack Clay Phillips inside, where he scored at the 6:28 mark. A minute-and-a-half later, Schaal made it 8-6 after he scored his second goal of the game when he picked up a loose ball and launched a shot past replacement goalkeeper Bobby Sincero.
The comeback reached its most intense moment with 56 seconds remaining. Sophomore midfielder Sammy Davis made a quick move to the right of his marker and took a few steps before unleashing a forceful shot into the side of the net to cut the Army lead to just one.
Talkow won the subsequent faceoff, but the Army defense swarmed the Terrier attack and gained possession to secure the close victory.
After the game, Polley acknowledged the persistent effort of his team, but said he was ultimately disappointed.
“We’re a learning team and it’s important to remember that,” Polley said. “But it’d be nice if we started to put ourselves in position to win a couple games.”