2023 Men's Top 30: How Army Fared vs. Projections


Reese Burek had 35 goals and 26 assists for the surprising Black Knights in 2023.

Before USA Lacrosse Magazine looks ahead to what’s to come in 2024, our team of staff and contributors decided it was worth taking one last look at 2023.

After all, you have to look at the most recent results before making projections for what’s to come. To do that, we’re taking a journey through the top 30 teams in men’s and women’s lacrosse — what went right, what went wrong and what we should all think of that team’s season.

Was it a success? A failure? A mixture of both? You’ll find out our thoughts over the next month or so.


Nike/USA Lacrosse Preseason/Final Top 20 Ranking: Unranked/8
2023 record: 13-4 (7-1 Patriot League)


Just about everything, including a first-round NCAA tournament victory at Maryland, the Black Knights’ first postseason triumph since 2010. Reese Burek (35 G, 26 A) led a parade of five 20-goal scorers, and Army managed to find useful contributors to fill holes throughout its offense whenever it was required. Will Coletti (.610 faceoff percentage) and Knox Dent (.533 save percentage) enjoyed strong seasons. AJ Pilate continued to look like a future first-team All-American defenseman as a sophomore. Oh, and Army drubbed Navy 11-6 in Annapolis.


It’s hard to find much to quibble with when Army lost four games by a combined five goals — and didn’t give up more than 12 goals in any loss. The Black Knights probably wish they could have had just a second more in the NCAA quarterfinals against Penn State; Jacob Morin’s shot into the net off a loose-ball scrum in front of the goal would have counted.


Down a pair of starters on offense (No. 2 goal scorer Paul Johnson and midfielder Bailey O’Connor), Army found help from all over its roster and methodically ran past Maryland defenders all night to claim a 16-15 victory that ended the Terrapins’ title defense.


Thoroughly overlooked in the preseason after the graduation of a 19-man senior class (including attackman Brendan Nichtern), Army was tough, deep and together even while navigating the spring with only six seniors. It was an overwhelming success and could be a prelude to something every bit as good in 2024.


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