By Joe Eachus
Backed by a rambunctious home crowd, the Boston University men’s lacrosse team took down the Army West Point Black Knights on Sunday afternoon, 14-10, to win the program’s first-ever Patriot League Championship.
The No. 16 Terriers (12-4) clinch an auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament, which begins later this week, with the title.
It was a great team effort. Right from the preseason, this team had a different feel about it. We quickly identified winning the Patriot League was our goal,” BU head coach Ryan Polley said.
Senior attackman Timmy Ley said, “[Winning the Patriot League] means everything. Last summer, we got right to work, just trying to flip our culture to hard work and dedication. This preseason we believed we were a good team. Being fifth [in the conference] in the polls, that motivated us. It’s amazing, it means everything to this program.”
Ley led the team in scoring during the tournament with seven goals and 11 points, and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Junior attackman Louis Perfetto was named tournament MVP with four goals and nine points.
BU was well-represented on the All-Tournament Team, with senior goalie Matt Garber and junior LSM Roy Meyer joining Ley with nods.
A battle from the first draw, BU opened up the scoring three minutes in with a highlight reel-worthy behind-the-back shot from Ley. Though Army would battle back to tie several times, BU would never trail in the game.
Following an even second quarter, the Terriers headed to the locker rooms at halftime with a slim two-goal lead and plenty of work to do before they could celebrate.
Entering the third, Perfetto got things started with his second of the contest less than a minute into the frame. Two quick goals from the stick of Army junior midfielder Reese Burek brought the Black Knights within one.
Four straight Terrier goals extended their lead to five late into the third, leaving Army with a tall task should they want to hoist the trophy at the final whistle.
“We came out of halftime like we did against Lehigh, going on that run,” Polley said of the third-quarter that effectively sealed the game for the Terriers. “We probably learned more on Friday then we did from the last Army game. We had to keep playing. Didn’t really hold the ball late into the shot clock, and we didn’t want to take our foot off the gas. I was really impressed with how efficient we were offensively.”
A deluge of scoring in the first half of the fourth quarter ensued, as each team traded goals back-and-forth until they both dug down defensively for the rest of the frame.
The final buzzer sounded, and Polley’s squad rushed the field as Patriot League champions for the first time.
Polley praised those who were in attendance, including program alumni and those behind-the-scenes. “It really means a lot to a lot of people. There’s a lot of people who’ve invested a lot of time and energy into helping us build this thing. For us to finally be able to get over that hump is not only impressive, but also gratifying.”
Also noting the impact the crowd had on the game, Polley said they were, “great. They had a huge impact. The guys weren’t just playing for themselves. They certainly gave us energy, and it was a really cool thing.”
“It was awesome. Terrier Nation was sick,” Ley said. “I remember looking at them during the game, trying to hype them up. Just a huge motivating factor, we know we have a lot of people supporting us, a lot of people who got us here.”
The Terriers now wait to see who they will be playing in their first game of the NCAA Lacrosse Tournament, with the selection show airing at 9 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU.