The football team endured its third-straight losing season, 12th straight loss to Navy, and, by year’s end, said goodbye to its head coach. Conversely, the women’s basketball team won the Patriot League tournament, which led it to its first NCAA appearance since 2006. The baseball team won 33 games, shared a regular-season Patriot League championship with Bucknell, but it was off the field the team achieved its worst news.
Overall, with all team sports having been completed, Army ended the year with a combined winning percentage of .575. The winning percentage includes Army winning the annual Star series against Navy, as well as the overall competition against the Midshipmen.
Army’s 25 NCAA-sponsored sports competed in 415 games or matches during the year. The teams had 235 victories, 173 losses and seven ties. Army’s overall winning percentage was its best since finishing .582 in 2004-05.
“Our success this past year is a testament to all of our hard working cadets, coaches and support staff,” Army athletic director Boo Corrigan said. “Winning is important in all pillars at Army and we are making strides in that regard. We still have a lot of work left to be done but I am very proud of all those who contributed to our success.”
The Star series against Navy – which includes all the games and matches vs. Navy -- was clinched when the Army baseball team rallied from a Game 1 loss and won the next three games against the Midshipmen to earn the clinching 12th Star of the academic year. Army won 12 Stars; Navy, 11. The last time Army won the Star series was in 1995-96, when Army was 11-8-2 against the Midshipmen.
Army’s Star series victories included those in baseball, sprint football, golf, women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s cross country, women’s basketball, rifle, women’s outdoor track and field, women’s tennis, men’s tennis and lacrosse.
Over the last two years, Army owns a 34-29-1 record against Navy.
During 2013-14, Army had winning percentages above .500 in the fall, winter and spring. Army’s spring sports – men’s and women’s outdoor track, men’s and women’s tennis, baseball, lacrosse and softball – posted a winning percentage of .637 with 109 victories and 62 losses.
In the fall, Army’s sprint football, golf, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, football and men’s and women’s cross country combined for a .562 winning percentage with 46 victories, 35 losses and seven ties.
In the winter sports, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, wrestling, rifle, gymnastics, hockey and men’s and women’s indoor track and field combined for an 80-76-0 record and a .513 winning percentage.
A recap of the good, the bad and the ugly among Army’s varsity teams:
Football: Another year, another losing season, including a 34-7 loss to Navy. The Black Knights finished 3-9, and fifth-year coach Rich Ellerson, whose record at Army was a collective 20-41, was shown the door. Jeff Monken was hired to succeed him.
It didn’t help that Army lost its top running back, Raymond Maples, who missed the entire season due to a groin injury; that surely contributed to the team dropping from a nation-leading 369.8 rushing yards per game in 2012 to 311.8 this past season.
But perhaps the best reason for the team’s offensive lapse was that the team’s all-time statistical leader at quarterback, Trent Steelman, had graduated. A.J. Schurr and Angel Santiago alternated as the starting QB, with neither one able to outright win the job. The two will once again compete for No. 1 next season.
Men’s basketball: The Black Knights made it the semifinals of the Patriot League tournament for the fifth time in eight years, finishing with a 10-8 league record. They were 15-16 overall. A 91-70 loss to Boston University ended their season. Sophomore Kyle Wilson led the team in scoring with 18.4 points per game. Wilson was named to the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association second team, the Patriot League All-Tournament Team and was a first-team all-league selection.
Women’s basketball: Army advanced to the NCAA tournament, where it lost in the first round to Maryland, 90-52. In the loss, Kelsey Minato set a school tournament record with 27 points. It extended her streak of double-digit scoring games to 49. The two-time Patriot League Player of the Year finished the season as the first player in program history to score more than 700 points in a season (725).
The Black Knights ended the season with a 25-8 record, breaking the program record for victories during the Division I era. Army won its second Patriot League championship to earn the NCAA berth.
Baseball: Army finished the season 33-18, including a 15-5 record to share the Patriot League regular-season championship with Bucknell. But it was off the field where the Black Knights suffered their primary damage.
Head coach Joe Sottolano, who had been at West Point since 1992 and became head coach in 2000, was fired after an Academy staff member filed a sexual harassment complaint against him. Sottolano had a record of 391-286-5. He led the Black Knights to seven NCAA tournaments as the academy’s all-time winningest coach.
On the field, Nick Dignacco, a left-handed pitcher who finished the season with a 6-3 record and 2.34 ERA, was named team MVP.
Lacrosse: The class of 2014 is the second class in a row to go undefeated (4-0) against Navy and earned a Patriot League tournament berth all four seasons. The Black Knights finished the season with a record of 9-6 and a No. 20 ranking in the final United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Coaches Poll.
Hockey: Winning its first Atlantic Hockey Association playoff game in six years, Army lost to No. 5 Robert Morris in the best-of-three, first-round conference playoff. The Black Knights finished 6-28. C.J. Reuschlein led the team in scoring with 11 goals and 11 assists.
Further, women’s soccer player Molly McGuigan and nationally ranked gymnast Kip Webber were the recipients of Army's highest athletic honor when they were named as the top athletes in the Class of 2014.
The trophy, presented to the male and female cadets who display the "most valuable service to intercollegiate athletes during a career as a cadet," was first awarded in 1904.
McGuigan starred for four years as a defender and ranks among the most decorated players in the history of the program. The 2013 co-captain is a two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, earning back-to-back honors in 2010 and 2011. During her career, McGuigan played an instrumental role in keying a Black Knight defensive unit that ranked No. 1 nationally in goals against.
As a starter in 77 games, McGuigan played a key role in helping to lead Army to 41 shutouts, along with scoring three goals and four assists for 10 points that included a pair of game-winning goals.
Webber, a four-time NCAA qualifier, was a senior finalist for the Nissan-Emery Award, the highest collegiate award in gymnastics. He completed his career with a USAG All-America certificate following a second-place finish on vault at the USA Gymnastics Championships.
He also competed in floor exercise and vault his final year at the NCAAs, where he advanced to the preliminary round in the latter for the third time in four years. He qualified as an all-rounder in 2011 and 2013, advancing to the next round in floor exercise and vault in 2011 and in all-around in 2013. When Webber advanced past the first round in 2011, he was the first Army gymnast to do so since 2006.
Army's school record holder in floor exercise, vault and still rings, Webber set a career-high 15.45 on vault and tied his mark in floor exercise (15.25) during his final home meet. At the NCAA Qualifier he ranked 13th on vault (15.012 average) and 48th in floor exercise (14.388 average).
As a junior, Weber was the ECAC co-champion in all-around, the fourth Black Knight to claim the title and first since Steve Marshall in 1995. At the 2014 ECAC Championships, Webber finished first in the prelims on vault. At the 2011 ECAC Championships, Webber had third-place finishes on still rings and vault; he earned the bronze in floor exercise the year before.