Mids Dominate VMI in Lacrosse Opener, Sowell Earns 100th Career Win
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Eleven different players scored goals for the Navy men’s lacrosse team to lead the Mids to 21-7 victory over VMI Sunday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. It marked the 14th consecutive season-opening win for Navy, and the eighth in a row against the Keydets.
Junior attack Patrick Keena (Vienna, Va.) paced the Mids with a career-high nine points, including seven assists. It’s tied as the eighth-most assists by a Navy player in a game and the most since Jon Birsner dealt out eight against Colgate on March 19, 2005. Navy also received big days from junior attack T.J. Hanzsche (Berwyn, Pa.), who produced a career-high tying six points on four goals and two assists, while rookie attack Dave Little (Vienna, Va.) scored four goals and added an assist in his first collegiate game.
“It’s always good to start off your season win a win,” said fourth-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell, who earned his 100th collegiate victory. “We didn’t play a perfect game by any stretch, but all in all it was a great first game. We had a lot of new faces on the field for us today and I was happy to see we moved the ball around well, got some transition goals and played solid defense for most of the game.
“No doubt that we think our faceoff game is a strength for us and it has a trickle down effect in terms of time of possession and just giving our offense a chance to score. Last year we were pretty good with Brady (Dove), but I think we can be even better with what we refer to as the two-headed monster with Brady and Joe Varello.”
Navy, in fact, won 23 of the 32 (71.9) draws in the game, including 21 of the first 26 between Dove (Stevensville, Md.), a 2014 Second-Team All-Patriot League selection, and Varello (Kings Park, N.Y.), a freshman. In the fourth quarter, Sowell gave ample opportunity to Navys other faceoff men, juniors Ted Demiris (Parkton, Md.) and Sean Reilly (Doylestown, Pa.), sophomore Riggs Dawson (Annapolis, Md.) and freshman Mike Germano (Wilmette, Ill.) who combined to win two of the remaining six draws.
With possession came goals aplenty, as Navy jumped out to a 6-1 lead after the first quarter and a 13-2 halftime advantage.
The Mids continued to roll in the third, scoring the first four, including a spectacular behind-the-back strike by sophomore Colin Flounlacker (Stevensville, Md.), before VMI snapped a nine-goal run by the Mids with 7:47 to play in the quarter. The Keydets closed to within 14 on several occasions, and outscored the Mids 3-2 in the fourth, but were unable to get any closer than the final margin.
Among Navy’s 11 goal scorers were five freshmen who recorded the first goals of their careers. Joining Little were Annapolis products Spencer Coyle and David Jones, along with DJ Plumer (Stevensville, Md.) and Chris Hill (Novato, Calif.). Meanwhile, junior midfielder Kevin Wendel (East Islip, N.Y.) produced his first collegiate hat trick with three goals.
Navy junior John Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) earned the start in goal where he made two saves and surrendered four goals, while freshman Noah Pounds (Fair Lawn, N.J.) made two saves and gave up a goal and sophomore Ryan Kelly (Warrington, Pa.) made three stops and allowed a pair of goals.
Senior midfielder Brad Biondello led the way for VMI with two goals in the contest, while freshman attack Cody Sheetz and junior middie Dan Bull each had a goal and an assist.
The Mids held a 48-18 advantage in shots for the game, while picking up 44 ground balls to 21 for the Keydets.
Navy returns to action next Saturday when it plays host to No. 8 Maryland at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium beginning at 12:00 pm. The game will be carried live by WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM, while a live video stream will be available on PatriotLeague.tv with Joe Miller on the call.
“We have some big challenges ahead in our schedule, including Maryland next week who is one of the elite teams in our sport,” added Sowell.
### Go Navy ###