Feb. 1, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy rifle team put together a strong home performance on Saturday in its annual Star match versus Army, but came up just short as the No. 5 Black Knights held off the No. 13 Midshipmen by 17 points at 5,800 to 5,783. Scoring on a five-shooter lineup, Navy registered its highest point total in like competitions since the 2006 Star match.
"We came up just short so its a tough result to accept," said Navy head coach Bill Kelley. "We got so close, but we're still not quite at the level where we need to be to beat a top-five team like Army."
"We started out going shot-for-shot with them in smallbore before the second half of the standing section. We lost focus for just those few shots, but that gave them the eventual 20-point advantage that we just couldn't overcome in air rifle."
In the five-counter smallbore competition, the Black Knights registered a 2,884 point score, while the host Mids scored 2,864 points. Sophomore Zach Gibson (Montrose, Colo.) led Navy with a career-high 582 score. Senior Steven Frazier (McDonough, Ga.) and junior Alex Berry (Greensboro, N.C.) followed Gibson in the team scoring with totals of 575 and 571, respectively. Sophomore Jodi Cull-Host (Los Alamos, N.M.) and Dan Jonas(Allentown, N.J.) rounded out Navy's counters with 569 and 567 efforts.
Navy went into comeback mode in the air rifle portion of the match and shot strongly as they netted 2,919 points, which was better than Army's 2,916, but not enough to overcome the deficit from smallbore.
All five Mids registered air rifle scores in the 580's as Jonas and Berry shared the top spot amongst all shooters with identical 586 point totals. Berry's score was a career-high, while Jonas tied his career-high with Saturday's effort.
Cull-Host led the closely packed trio of Navy shooters behind Berry and Jonas with a 585 score. Gibson matched his smallbore score at 582, while Frazier registered a 580.
"At the end of the day we didn't accomplish our goal, which was to beat Army, but outside of the rivalry aspect, I saw a lot of improvement and in the big picture of this season, that's very positive," said Kelley. "We're heading in the right direction and still have a chance to qualify for the NCAAs. I'm happy that the team is showing the will to win and improve."
For NCAA scoring purposes, where four of the top five scores are counted, Navy shot a 2,297 in smallbore and a season-high 2,339 in air rifle.
In the all-time Army-Navy series, the Black Knights hold a 42-31 lead.
The Mids will continue their push for a NCAA bid with a pair of road GARC matches next weekend. Beginning on Saturday, Feb. 8, Navy will shoot versus Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. before heading north to the University of Memphis on Sunday, Feb. 9.