Men’s lacrosse knocks off No. 18 Massachusetts

By Ally Keirn Army Athletic Communications

February 13th, 2020 | Army and Community Sports, Sports
 Sophomore attack Brendan Nichtern registered seven points, including four goals, against No. 18 Massachusetts in the season opener. The 15th-ranked Army West Point men’s lacrosse team defeated the Minutemen 17-4 Saturday at Michie Stadium.                   Photo by Army Athletic Communications

Thanks to nine unanswered first half goals, the 15th-ranked Army West Point men’s lacrosse team knocked off No. 18 Massachusetts, 17-4, for the program’s 800th victory at Michie Stadium Saturday.
The Black Knights are one of five teams in NCAA Division I history to eclipse the 800-win mark. Army is 800-394-7 through 103 seasons.
Earning his first-career start in net, sophomore goaltender Wyatt Schupler made 13 saves including 10 in the first half to boost the Black Knights to a 1-0 start on the year.
For the second year in a row, sophomore attack Brendan Nichtern registered seven points against the Minutemen in the season opener.
The Cadets finished the game 3-for-5 on man-up opportunities while holding UMass to 0-for-5.

How it happened
• The Black Knights headed into halftime with a 9-0 lead.
• Senior midfielder Connor DeWitt started the year off with an unassisted tally 1:49 into the action.
• Freshman midfielder Ryan Sposito registered his first-career goal to put the Cadets up 2-0 before sophomore attack Gunner Philipp found the back of the net off a pass from DeWitt.
• To close out the first quarter, Nichtern posted back-to-back unassisted scores putting Army on top 5-0.
• The Black Knights held the Minutemen to three shots in the first 15 minutes of action.
• Junior midfielder Nickolas Edinger returned to Army’s lineup and made an immediate impact. With 9:37 on the clock, the junior setup a man-up goal for senior attack Miles Silva to give the Cadets a 6-0 lead.
• The Black Knights then scored back-to-back goals in a nine second span.
• Sophomore midfielder Bobby Abshire registered his first-career goal on an iso play down the left side at 4:57.
• Then at 4:48, freshman faceoff specialist Stevie Grabher won the faceoff and dished it down to senior attack Sean O’Brien who went low to high for the tally.
• Nichtern rolled the crease for an unassisted goal to close out the scoring in the first half with Army ahead 9-0.
• UMass scored two goals in the first four minutes of the second half to get on the board.
• Senior midfielder Matt Manown split up the goals with a score of his own, assisted by Nichtern.
• The Black Knights went on a 2-0 run to jump ahead by 10 (12-2).
• O’Brien and Abshire scored on the run as sophomore defenseman Marcus Hudgins and Nichtern were credited with the assists.
• UMass posted its third goal of the game with 5:55 to go in the third quarter to bring the score to 12-3 in favor of the Cadets.
• Army then went on a 5-1 run to close-out the game. DeWitt sparked the run with his second goal of the contest.
• The Black Knights posted two consecutive man-up scores. The first was scored by Nichtern off a feed from O’Brien and the next was the opposite with O’Brien in the scoring column and Nichtern the feeder.
• Edigner set up freshman midfielder Reese Burek’s first-career goal before freshman attack Chase Taylor notched his first to give Army a 17-4 edge closing out the scoring.

Highlights and game notes
• With the win, The Cadets took a 15-14 advantage in the series against No. 18 UMass.
• The team was one shy of tying the most goals scored against the Minutemen in a single contest (18) set back in 2018.
• It was the largest margin of victory over UMass in series history.
• Head Coach Joe Alberici is now 6-4 over the Minutemen.
• It was the sixth-straight win over the nationally recognized opponent.
• Schupler recorded 13 saves in his collegiate debut and notched a 4.56 goals against average and .765 save percentage.
• It marked the Black Knights’ first time shutting out an opponent in the first half since 2018 when Army was leading 6-0 after the first 30 minutes of action.
• The Black Knights held an opponent to four goals for the second time in two seasons as Army kept Marist at bay last year with a 10-4 victory at home.
• The Black Knights saw nine different goal scorers and over 50% of the team’s goals were assisted.
• Five players recorded multiple points in the contest.
• For the second year in a row, Nichtern registered seven points against the Minutemen in the season opener.
• He posted four goals and three assists.
• O’Brien contributed four points on three goals and an assist.
• DeWitt produced a career-high three points on two tallies and a helper.
• Abshire finished the day with two goals, while Edinger had two assists.
• The Cadets finished the game 3-for-5 on man-up opportunities while holding UMass to 0-for-5.
• Manown and Hudgins each recorded three caused turnovers.
• Grabher led the team with six ground balls.