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Jackson Eicher's winner over Syracuse was possibly the season highlight for Army.

NCAA Rewind: Historic Start, Slow Finish Define Army

July 4, 2024
Patrick Stevens
Rich Barnes

Before USA Lacrosse Magazine looks ahead to what’s to come in 2025 — look out for our NCAA Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings later this summer — our team of staff and contributors decided it was worth taking a last look at the 2024 college lacrosse season.

To do that, we’re taking a journey through 30 of the top teams in men’s and women’s lacrosse to see what went right, what went wrong and how we should feel about the season.


USA Lacrosse preseason/final ranking: No. 8/No. 17
2024 record: 11-3 (6-2 Patriot League)

What went right: The Black Knights started 7-0 for the first time since 1958, beating Syracuse in overtime at the Dome along the way. Will Coletti was a force on faceoffs, winning 62.0 percent of his attempts. AJ Pilate was one of the nation’s best defensemen and was the Patriot League’s defensive player of the year for the second consecutive year. 

Evan Plunkett (29 goals, 19 assists) took top conference honors on the offensive side, and Jackson Eicher (37 G, 21 A) came off an injury that cost him all of 2023 to lead Army in points. Jacob Morin (27 G, 8 A), Reese Burek (26 G, 28 A) and Gunnar Fellows (26 G, 8 A) all hit the 25-goal plateau as a balanced offense helped the Black Knights clinch the top seed in the Patriot League tournament.

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What went wrong: The abbreviated version is the Black Knights didn’t match up well with Boston University, which dealt them a 14-9 loss on March 22 and then ended their season with an 11-10 triumph in the Patriot League semifinals. 

Goalie play was a major differential in both of Army’s regular season losses, and opponents made at least 15 saves in each of Army’s three losses. The Black Knights’ victories over North Carolina and Rutgers didn’t retain as much value as anticipated because those teams dipped to .500 seasons, damaging Army’s strength of schedule and effectively eliminating it as an NCAA tournament at-large contender.

Season highlight: Eicher’s game-winner with 1:37 left in overtime at Syracuse on Feb. 28 drew as much attention as anything. But it’s hard to ignore the Black Knights’ 13-8 defeat of Navy on April 13 behind a six-goal burst in the final 10 minutes. Anytime Army gets to sing second when it plays its academy rival, it will go down as one of the best moments of any season.

Verdict: The 7-0 start gave way to a 4-3 finish, and Army was bounced from the Patriot League semifinals on its own field. It was a good season by any measure. But for a program coming off a league title and a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals and plenty of experience back, there had to be disappointment with how it ended. 

That won’t sit well with a core returning group set to include Coletti, Eicher, Fellows, Pilate and Plunkett.