Army lacrosse is ranked #1 in the country for the first time in history

With a 7-0 start, the Black Knights lacrosse team is absolutely crushing it. They take on Boston tonight on the road and hope to continue their undefeated streak.
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Army lacrosse runs onto the field
The Army West Point Men's Lacrosse team opened the 2024 home season against Mercer at Michie Stadium and came away with a 15-7 victory. West Point/Photo by Mady Salvani

Army lacrosse is having an incredible start to their 2024 season, with an impressive 7-0 record to kick things off, outscoring their opponents 110-70. Following big wins on the road against ranked Rutgers and Syracuse, the Black Knights are absolutely crushing it, ranked #1 by both Inside Lacrosse and USILA Coaches Poll.

Inside Lacrosse Poll, March 20, 2024; 2:10pm EDT

With 17 seniors on the roster, the Black Knights are coming off a strong 2023 season, making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament. According to their website, last year the Black Knights beat No. 8 Rutgers to kick off a nine game win streak which was the longest since 2017. In the Patriot League Tournament, Army beat Lehigh and Loyola en route to the third Patriot League Tournament championship in program history. In the NCAA Tournament, the Black Knights were sent to faceoff with the defending national champions No. 4 seed Maryland. After racing out to a 7-2 lead in the first quarter, the Black Knights responded to Maryland tying the game at 8-8 by taking an 11-9 lead. The Black Knights trailed 12-11 going into the fourth quarter but took the lead for good with 3:36 left after Jacob Morin scored and Army upset Maryland to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010.

Evan Plunkett in the April 8 victory against Colgate. West Point/Photo by Mark Wellman

In the quarterfinals against Penn State, Army used a huge second half comeback to get back into the game, but ultimately fell 10-9 to No. 5 Penn State. We can probably blame that on the game’s location: Annapolis (let’s be honest, it’s always easier to blame Navy). While the 2023 season may have been historic, the 2024 team is already cementing their place in the history books. Not only is it the first time in history Army has occupied the #1 slot, the last time Army was ranked #2 in the nation was April 19, 1982 — when some of the parents of the 2024 students were toddlers.

Coach Joe Alberici with players, West Point photo, 2023.

So what makes this team exceptional? We asked Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Joe Alberici. “Some of it was built on last year and the years before,” he explained. “But this group from the beginning has been very humble. No detail is too small, no fundamental is getting glossed over. They have really worked in a way that everybody can be proud of. They really want to earn everything.” Tonight’s game is an important one for the Black Knights; they’re playing Boston — in Boston. Two years ago, the Terriers beat the Black Knights for the Patriot League Championship and last year, they again left the field with a W in their league match up. When I asked Coach how he’d motivate the players for tonight, his answer was simple. “The motivation is already there. We have a great respect for their program. What we’ve had all year is a one-game-at-a-time mentality. We have a saying we use often, the next game is the most important game of the season. It’s the only one you have guaranteed. This is a league game and winning your league is really your only guarantee to get into the NCAA tournament, so we know how important tonight is. The very best teams are player led, and we are.”

The Army West Point men’s lacrosse team hosted Bucknell on April 1 and earned a 12-7 victory at Michie Stadium.
West Point/Photo by Mark Wellman

The breadth and depth of talent of this year’s team is unquestionable – 25 players have scored goals this season, and overall Army ranks #5 in the nation in assists per game, and #3 in clearing percentage. Offensively, the Black Knights are led by junior attack Jackson Eicher with 20 goals and 12 assists (ranked #26 in the nation in goals per game); senior attack Reese Burek with 11 goals and 16 assists (ranked #24 in the nation in assists per game); sophomore middy Evan Plunkett with 14 goals, 10 assists; senior middy Jacob Morin with 17 goals, 3 assists; and sophomore attack Gunnar Fellows with 14 goals, 6 assists. Also of note, junior forward Will Colletti is ranked #3 in the nation in ground balls per game, with 68 total, averaging 9.71 per game. Defensively, senior goalie Matt Chess ranks #17 in the nation in goals allowed, letting just 63 goals by in his 372 minutes of play.

The Army West Point men’s lacrosse team hosted Bucknell on April 1 and earned a 12-7 victory at Michie Stadium. Matt Chess in goal. West Point/Photo by Mark Wellman

So, what does a #1 ranking mean to Coach and the Black Knights? “It’s just a bunch of people’s opinion. We were #2 and #3 in the polls when the teams ahead of us lost, so when certain things started to fall together, it’s what I thought would happen. If others have the opinion that we’re #1, that’s wonderful. But the only opinion that matters is the one in this locker room. Are we maximizing our capabilities, are we improving, are we being good teammates? It’s not anything we’re running from, but we haven’t talked about the ranking since the day it happened. We’re more focused on how we understand our opponent. Our job is to just keep getting better.”

You can watch Army take on Boston tonight at 6:00p EDT streaming on ESPN. For the rest of their schedule, click here.

Go Army! Be Mighty! We’re all cheering for you.