Mike Preston: Loyola Maryland men’s lacrosse has no match for Brendan Nichtern in 14-12 loss to 16th Army

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Loyola Maryland’s men’s lacrosse had contained one of the best forwards in the nation for three quarters, holding Brendan Nichtern to one goal and one assist.

Then the 6-foot, 185-pound eldest from Massapequa, New York, took control.

The reigning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year finished with three goals and four assists, most in the fourth quarter, as the visiting No. 16 Army beat Loyola, 14-12, on Saturday after- midday.

The Greyhounds (3-5, 2-1 Patriot League) led the pace for three quarters, but the Black Knights (7-2, 3-1) edged them 7-4 in the fourth, including four straight goals to open the trimester.

Striker Reese Burke and midfielder Bobby Abshire also scored three goals apiece for the Black Knights. Midfielders Evan James and Seth Higgins and striker Kevin Lindley each scored three goals for Loyola, but the story of this game was Nichtern.

He staged a formidable battle with senior Loyola defender Cam Wyers, but the Black Knights’ relentless pressure on the attack wore Loyola down and Army did a good job attacking with Nichtern behind goal.

Nichtern’s four assists set an Army career record, breaking the mark of 139 set by Tim Perason. Nichtern now has 140.

“I have amazing teammates who are active off the ball and the coaching staff have a lot of faith in me to let me dodge X when we need to,” Nichtern said.

Army coach Joe Alberici deserves a lot of credit for Nichtern’s performance on Saturday. The Black Knights were able to place picks on Wyers and allow Nichtern to get to the extended goal-line area.

After Nichtern scored back-to-back goals in two minutes to push Army’s lead to 10-8 with 10:03 left in the game, striker Paul Johnson scored 37 seconds later to extend the lead at 11-8.

From then on Loyola had to pressure the army behind the goal and the Greyhounds were either too slow or too late to help.

“It was definitely something we worked on all week, something we do very well,” Alberici said of the attack behind the goal. “We have other guys who can do it, but when you put Brendan in the mix it becomes difficult for teams to defend. They don’t know whether to make changes or fight. In these times of indecision, he is able to fight or find the open guy.

“In my opinion he is one of the best players in the country,” Alberici said of Nichtern. “What I do know is that there isn’t a guy that means more to his team than what he does to the Army Lacrosse family. That sort of showed up today and extends far beyond the lacrosse field.

The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Greyhounds as they tried to create space in their quest for the top spot in the Patriot League.

Army also got a solid effort from goaltender Wyatt Schupler, who finished with 13 saves on 50 shots. Three of them were close range in the fourth quarter when Loyola was desperate but couldn’t convert.

“Give a lot of credit to Army, a typical, physical, well-drilled academy team,” Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. “They brought it to us in the fourth quarter. When you play as much defense as we do, it takes its toll.

“When I look at the stat sheet, the biggest problem I had was in the third quarter when we got a great effort on the face-off from X. We win about five out of six and they win the stat sheet. statistics, 3-2. You give credit to their keeper because he made some big saves, but we didn’t finish like we did for the last two weeks.

James scored Loyola’s first two goals of the game to give the Greyhounds a 2-1 lead late in the first quarter. He scored unassisted from a man-down situation with 11:37 left in the first quarter, then nearly five minutes later on an assist from junior midfielder Adam Poitras. Nichtern scored with 4:11 left.

Loyola and Army traded the first four goals of the second quarter, but the Greyhounds scored twice in less than a minute on shots from forward Aidan Olmstead and James to push Loyola’s lead to 6-3 with 6 :48 to do in the quarter.

Abshire scored a grounded goal with 59 seconds remaining to put the Black Knights up 6-4 at halftime.

Army had a 22-21 advantage in halftime shots and both teams won six of 12 faceoffs. The Black Knights led 21-14 in ground balls, but that didn’t translate by many purposes.

LOYOLA [email protected] CROSS

Saturday afternoon

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