Navy's 13 seniors will play their final collegiate game when the two programs face off at 1:00 pm at Byrd Stadium.
The Mids haven't played a team ranked No. 1 in the country since 2005.
For a second-straight year, Tucker Hull and Sam Jones were named Navy's outstanding offensive players.
Navy and Maryland meet for the 87th time in series history Friday night in College Park.
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Ryan Wellner is in his fifth season at the Naval Academy where he works primarily with Navy’s defense, as well as the Mids’ faceoff unit.
Last spring, Navy’s defense gave up 8.57 goals per game and was ranked 13th nationally. It was the fewest goals the Mids’ have allowed since 2009 when they surrendered under 8.00, while its ranking was its best since finishing 2010 ranked 13th with its 8.67 average. Additionally, Navy’s defense caused the eighth-most turnovers in the country, posting 8.07 takeaways per game. It’s the second time in the last three seasons Navy has finished the year among the top 10 in the country in caused turnovers. The cog in the wheel of success for the Mids’ defense in 2015 was sophomore Chris Fennell, who was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and a Third-Team All-American. He is just the second Navy player to earn the honor and the first since Jordan DiNola in 2008.
Meanwhile, First-Team All-Patriot League faceoff specialist Brady Dove took his game to a higher level. Dove finished eighth nationally with his 62.6 winning percentage, the highest a Navy player has ranked since 2007 when William Wallace finished fourth with a 64.2 winning percentage.
In 2014, Dove anchored a faceoff squad that won 55.9 percent of its draws to rank 18th in the nation. Individually, Dove won 56.4 percent of his draws and was ranked 20th in the country. Meanwhile, anchored by 2014 Honorable Mention All-American long stick midfielder Pat Kiernan, Navy surrendered 9.36 goals per game game to rank 20th.
In 2013, the Midshipmen finished No. 2 in the country in caused turnovers, averaging 10.00 per contest led by starting defenseman Austin Miller who was seventh nationally with 2.31 takeaways, while Kiernan stood 12th with 2.00 caused turnovers. Navy also improved in ground balls, jumping from 43rd in 2012 to 29th in 2013, which stemmed from the play of the defense. Averaging 5.23 ground balls per game and ranked 32nd in the country, Kiernan was active both on offense as well as the wings of faceoffs.
In 2012, he guided Navy’s man-down unit to a No. 8 nationally ranking, as the Mids allowed just 10 extra-man goal all season (.750). The previous two seasons the Mids had been ranked 29th and 36th. Meanwhile, the defense as a whole improved and was ranked 14th nationally after surrendering 8.92 goals per game. Senior RJ Wickham anchored the defensive efforts from the goal where he was ranked ninth nationally in saves per game (11.25) and 10th in save percentage (.570).
Wellner joined the Navy staff in the summer of 2011 after a three-year stint alongside Sowell at Stony Brook where he primarily worked with the defense and the Seawolves’ faceoff game. In his three seasons at Stony Brook, the Seawolves produced a 32-14 record (.696), including an impressive 15-1 mark in America East action. The Seawolves captured the America East regular-season title in 2010 behind a 13-4 record and punched their ticket to what was only the program’s second NCAA Tournament appearance (2002) by way of defeating Albany, 11-7, in the America East Championship Game. After dropping a 14-8 decision to UMBC in what was the first America East contest of 2009, Stony Brook has won 15-consecutive regular-season America East contests.
Wellner helped develop long stick midfielder Steven Waldeck into a three-time America East selection as well as 2009 Honorable Mention All-American. Waldeck finished his career with a school-record 112 ground balls and was ranked fifth nationally in ground balls per game, averaging 6.59. Additionally, he was the nation’s leading scorer among all long poles in 2009.
He was instrumental in improving the Seawolves’ faceoff game, as Adam Rand evolved into one the country’s premier draw specialists. In 2010, Rand won 61.6 percent (266-432) of the faceoffs he took 266-432, the third-best percentage in country, while his 432 attempts went down in the record books as an NCAA record. He won 29 draws against Siena on Feb. 20, 2010, which are the second-most wins by an individual in NCAA history, before taking 28 faceoff wins at Binghamton on April 17, 2010, the NCAA’s third most victories.
Prior to his arrival at Stony Brook in 2009, Wellner spent the 2008 campaign as the men’s assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Washington & Lee, helping lead the Generals to a 9-6 record. He also served as the defensive coordinator for three seasons at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey where he helped guide the Ducks to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. Wellner’s defensive units produced a pair of All-America defensemen and ranked among the Div. III top 10 in scoring defense.
A 2000 graduate of Mary Washington College with a bachelor of science in business management, Wellner also served as an assistant coach at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (2004) and Chaminade High School (2003). Additionally, he was the Director of the New York Lacrosse Academy and served as the Director of Operations for the National Lacrosse League from 2001-2003.
A four-year letterwinner at Mary Washington, he served as captain of the lacrosse team his senior year and earned the school’s Outstanding Senior Award in 2000.