POINT WEST – Army coach Joe Alberici knew he had the best offensive and defensive lacrosse players for the Patriot League season, and that’s how they ended up as well.
Juniors Brendan Nichtern and Marcus Hudgins were respectively voted offensive and defensive players of the year.
“Both are really hard workers,” Alberici said. “Both continue to improve and add things to their game, throughout their careers here. … They are both great competitors and the fact that they compete against each other every day in practice has surpassed their individual development. … So I’m really happy for both of them, and I feel like the honors are well deserved. ”
Bobby Abshire joined Nichtern and Hudgins in the league’s first team. Gunner Philipp, Kyle Beyer and Wyatt Schupler were named to the second team.
The Army (7-3) posted a 5-2 record in league play and won the North Division seed for this week’s playoffs. The Army drew in the quarterfinals and will face the winner of Tuesday’s game against the Navy in Loyola in Friday’s 7 p.m. semi-final in Bethlehem, Pa.
Four-time Offensive Player of the Week in 2021, Nichtern finished the regular season averaging 2.3 goals, 2.8 assists and 5.1 points per game – the last two numbers are the best in the league. For his three seasons, Nichtern has 72 goals, 105 assists and 177 points, plus 47 balls on the ground.
“Brendan, being an All-American as a rookie, but I think that’s his best butt,” Alberici said. “He really took a step forward as the leader of our program, and he was ready to do whatever it took for us to be successful. So if it’s not with the ball in his stick, he does whatever needs to be done outside of the ball to make it happen. I think he is truly one of the best strikers in the country. ”
Hudgins threw 30 balls on the ground and 20 caused turnovers in 10 starts. With an average of 2.0, the turnover per game this season ranks 10th nationally, while keeping the opponent’s main offensive threat every week.
“Marcus is not only a very good defender, he’s so disruptive in what you do because he has the ability not only to take out the best striker on another team but he also has the ability to put the ball to the ground and create chaos with it – that just throws offense out of rhythm. … Marcus is without a doubt one of the best defenders in the country. ”
Abshire has 15 goals and five assists for 20 points. He set new career highs in goals and points in 2021. He had six points in the win over No.4 Syracuse and had a hat trick against Holy Cross on March 27.
Schupler has a 9.13 goals against average and 0.574 save percentage that ranks among the best in the league. He’s made double-digit saves in nine games this year and has been named Goalkeeper of the Week four times.
Philipp made his debut in each of his eight appearances. He has 12 goals and an assist, plus 10 balls on the ground. He scored several goals in four games, including a hat trick against the No.4 Syracuse on February 21.
Beyer played a key role in the defense of the military, which ranks fifth in the country in defense. He has 11 induced turnovers and 18 balls on the ground.
Former Army Offensive Player of the Year awards include Ross Yastrzemsky (1997), Tim Pearson (1999, 2001, 2002), John Ryan (2003), Jeremy Boltus (2011) and John Glesener (2013). Defensive Player of the Year went to Joe Whaley (1997), KJ Dworczyk (1998), Matt Luyster (2005), Bill Henderson (2010, 2011), Tim Henderson (2012), Brendan Buckley (2013) and Johnny Surdick (2019)).