March 12, 2011

Navy Gets Healthy, Beats Lafayette

from press release

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Navy men's lacrosse team (2-4, 1-2 Patriot League) jumped out to an 8-0 lead early in the second quarter and never looked back as the Mids dealt Patriot League foe Lafayette (2-3, 0-1 Patriot League) a 15-6 loss Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.  

It was a pleasant return home for the Midshipmen, who, after opening their season on Feb. 12 at home, had played four-straight games on the road. Along the way, heartbreak had set in as Navy dropped a pair of one-goal decisions to nationally-ranked Loyola and Bucknell, while top-10 ranked North Carolina ousted the Mids by two.

That heartbreak, however, was erased Saturday when Navy put together its most complete game to date, playing to near perfection at every phase of the game.  One of the most troubling stats of the season for the Mids has been their lack of success at the faceoff “x” which snowballed into various other deficiencies. And while Navy’s faceoff corps would once again face a formidable foe in all-league performer Cesar Munoz, Navy junior Logan West (Berlin, Md.) was perhaps the biggest difference maker in the Mids’ win over the Leopards.

West, who began to turn his game around in the fourth quarter of last Monday’s Bucknell contest, dominated the “x” on Saturday, winning 16 of the 23 draws he took and in turn, put the ball in the offensive players’ hands.

“I think confidence is what I had been missing,” said West, who came into the game having won just 43.7 percent of his draws.  “In the opener I played pretty well, but then it started to go downhill for me in the second half of the Loyola game and I found myself in a slump.  I couldn’t seem to get into any rhythm.

“I think our wing play today was probably the best I’ve seen it all year.  I couldn’t have done it without them.”

There is certainly a correlation that can be made between faceoff possession and Navy goals.  The Mids won six draws in the opening quarter and scored seven goals, while in the third quarter Navy claimed seven faceoffs and in turn stuck five goals.

Navy opened the game on an 8-0 run, featuring a 7-0 advantage after the first quarter of play.  Junior Nikk Davis (Cockeysville, Md.), who scored a pair of goals in the final 18 seconds of play to force overtime at Bucknell, punched in the game’s first goal less than two minutes into the contest.  The flood gates opened from there and continued into the second quarter where sophomore middie Jay Mann (Cockeysville, Md.) scored 52 seconds into the second frame with a 10-yarder from the right wing to cap the 8-0 run.

Lafayette finally got on the scoreboard with 11:42 to go in the second quarter when all-league attackman Tom Perini capitalized on an extra-man opportunity, sending a hard-driven shot past Navy keeper RJ Wickham (Penn Yan, N.Y.) from 10 yards out.  Just 36 seconds later, Navy defenseman Peter Rogers (San Diego, Calif.) got caught up in the netting and Lafayette midfielder Will Heffernan capitalized by curling around and sticking his shot.

After nearly 10 minutes without a goal, Navy senior middie Andy Warner send his 12-yard shot top shelf to give the Mids a 9-2 advantage with 5:03 to go in the opening half.

The Leopards put together a run to close out the half with Heffernan scoring his second of the day, beating Navy defenseman Michael Hirsch (Schwenksville, Pa.) on the crease, followed by an unassisted goal by Doug Prusoff who bullied his way past defensive middie Jordan Seivold (Minnetonka, Minn.) and somehow threaded his shot past Wickham.

Senior midfielder Franklin Floyd trimmed the Mids’ lead to four at 9-5 just minutes into the third period when he cleared the ball and waltzed into the box untouched.

The Mids would gain control, however, scoring back-to-back goals just 22 seconds apart, including a strike by senior pole Tom Mansfield (Port Washington, N.Y.), who, racing down the field in transition, scored his first-collegiate goal.

A roll dodge by Prusoff midway through the third period resulted in a Lafayette goal, but Navy’s defense would keep the Leopards off the scoreboard for the final 22 minutes of the game to preserve the win.

Navy, meanwhile, scored three more in the third and once in the fourth to produce the most goals in a game since defeating VMI last year, 16-5.  Freshman attackman Tucker Hull (Charlotte, N.C.) scored a pair of goals in the third quarter, including a man down goal with 5:32 to go.  Lafayette’s Perini took a shot following a Navy penalty which took out the legs of one of his own players.  Following a stoppage of play, the ball was awarded to Navy.  A heads-up play, team captain Marty Gallagher (Wayne, Pa.) sent a long pass to Taylor Reynolds (Babylon, N.Y.) who fed Hull on the doorstep.

It was the Mids’ first man-down goal since Joe Lennon pumped one in at Army on April 12, 2008.

Seven different players scored for Navy, including three - Hull, Warner and freshman Sam Jones (Annapolis, Md.) - who recorded hat tricks.  All three players have produced a point in each of the six games this season, while Warner owns one of the nation’s longest point scoring streaks.  Ranked 20th, he has turned in either a goal or assist in 18-consecutive games dating back to last year’s Lehigh contest (March 2, 2010).

Jones, who has scored a goal in every game this season, paced the Mids with a career-high six points (3G, 3A).  He continues to move his way closer to Navy’s top-10 freshman points, goals and assists list.  He has amassed 25 points on 16 goals and nine assists.

Hull, meanwhile, moved into a tie for eighth on Navy’s all-time freshman assists list, turning in his 10th helper of the year.  He is tied with John Hawley (1985) and Jim Shulson (1975) and is three shy of tying seventh-place Mike Chanenchuk.

Defensively, it was Navy’s best effort to date, holding the Leopards to six goals.  It’s the fewest goals the Mids have given up since defeating Holy Cross, 12-3, on March 20, 2010.  

“I think this week we focus on communication, getting fills and sliding at the right time,” said Hirsch, a three-year starter for the Mids.  “We were leaving RJ hung out to dry and we just couldn’t continue to let that happen.  Our team has been putting up goals and I think we are of the mindset that if we can hold our opponent to under 10 goals, we will win.”

The Midshipmen have a quick turnaround playing host to Towson Tuesday evening at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.  Faceoff is set for 7:00 pm with 1430 WNAV providing wall-to-wall coverage with Pete Medhurst on the call.


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