first_img Published on February 22, 2020 at 8:17 am Contact Mitchell: mbannon@syr.edu Army and Syracuse meet in the Orange’s third game of the season for the sixth year in a row on Sunday. This time, it’s a battle of top-ten opponents as a 3-0 start pushed the Black Knights up to No. 7 before they come to the Dome to take on No. 5 Syracuse. Earlier this week, Army was upset by Marist, 17-9, and consecutive losses could result in the Black Knights’ plummeting down the rankings.Here’s what to know about Army before Sunday’s game.Last time they played: The last matchup between Army and Syracuse was almost exactly a year ago. On Feb. 24, 2019, the Orange snuck past the Black Knights, 10-8, behind a balanced offensive attack. Since-graduated attackmen Bradley Voigt and Nate Solomon combined for three goals while Drake Porter made 16 saves — tied for his career-high. Nick Mellen held Army’s leading scorer, Brendan Nichtern, to just one goal while Jakob Phaup won 15 of 18 face-offs.All-time series: Army leads, 40-26The Army report: Syracuse head coach John Desko has consistently praised Army head coach Joe Alberici’s implemented style and said he knows the Black Knights always “play for 60 minutes.” Despite the upset loss to Marist on Tuesday, Army has outscored opponents 60-26 and outshot them 171-118 so far this year. The offense has been led once again by Nichtern — 22 points through four games — but senior attackmen Sean O’Brien and Miles Silva, as well as freshman midfielder, Jacob Morin have all added nine-plus goals. One area of weakness for the Black Knights has been at the face-off X, where Army, led mainly by Stevie Grabher, has won only 52.5% of draws.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHow Syracuse beats the Black Knights: Syracuse will beat Army by playing to its strengths — one of which happens to be a Black Knights weakness. The Orange currently lead the nation in face-off percentage, winning 71.9% of their draws, while Army sits at 28th. The biggest question mark will be the defense of sophomore Nichtern with All-American Mellen sidelined once again with a leg injury. Brett Kennedy will be thrust into the lead coverage defender role for a second game. Against Binghamton, Kennedy held the Bearcats best attack, William Talbott-Shere, to just one assist.State to know: 8/10 — While Army significantly leads the all-time series, Syracuse has won eight of the last ten matchups between these two teams. Player to watch: Brendan Nichtern, attack, No. 20While Chase Scanlan opened his Syracuse career, and the 2020 season, with a seven-goal performance against Colgate, Army’s Nichtern posted a seven-point opener of his own — four goals and three assists against then-ranked UMass. And Nichtern followed that up with eight points against NJIT. The sophomore attack led Army with 30 goals and 80 points last season, scoring on 27% of his shots. In Inside Lacrosse’s 2019 midseason review, Nichtern was rated as the best freshman in the country. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more