Mids Fall Short in Home Opener Against #2 Maryland
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Despite a record-breaking performance by faceoff specialist Brady Dove (Sr / Stevensville, Md.) and a spectacular offensive presence that saw seven different players score, the 10th-ranked Navy men’s lacrosse team (0-2, 0-0 Patriot League) dropped a tough 15-12 decision to #2 Maryland (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) in its home opener Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
“Tough loss ... good game, but a tough loss,” said sixth-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “I think the tale of the game was missed opportunities. We didn’t cash in on those opportunities and they did.
“I do think there were some things that we were excited about and we will continue to get better.”
The opening half saw the lead change hands five different times and neither team held better than a one-goal advantage as the Terps held a 6-5 lead going into the break thanks to a goal by rookie midfielder Jared Bernhardt who punched in the go-ahead goal with 0.1 left on the clock.
Navy knotted the game up a final time (6-6) when long pole Matt Rees (Sr / Sykesville, Md.) caused one of his team-high five takeaways and initiated a fastbreak that eventually led to a goal by short-stick defensive midfielder DJ Plumer (Jr / Stevensville, Md.) just over a minute and a half into the second half.
Maryland broke open the game when it scored four straight goals, including three in a minute and 30 seconds (9:48, 9:03, 8:18) to take a four-goal lead (10-6) with just over eight minutes to go in the third period.
The Mids showed their resolve by trimming the deficit to two with back-to-back goals by attackmen Chris Hill (Jr / Novato, Calif.) and Ryan Wade (So / Coronado, Calif.).
The Terps, however, had the final say in the quarter, as senior middie Colin Heacock slithered past the Navy defense and put Maryland up 11-8 with just five seconds remaining.
Maryland scored the first three goals of the final stanza, including a pair by All-American attackman Matt Rambo, to take its largest lead of the day at 14-8.
The Mids rallied to score four of the final five goals of the game, but it wouldn’t be enough to take down the Terps who won their 24th consecutive season opener.
Eight players scored for the Terps, including senior attackman Dylan Maltz who paced the team with four goals. Rambo scored three goals and added three assists, while Heacock contributed five points on two goals and three assists.
There were a number of positives in the game for the Mids, including their faceoff game. Dove won a school-record and Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium record 21 draws among the 29 he took on the afternoon. Ironically, his 21st win which broke the record was also his 500th career victory. The previous school record was 20 set originally by Dan Sullivan against Maryland on April 8, 1995 and was tied nearly a decade later by Chris Pieczonka against Syracuse in the 2004 National Championship Game. Meanwhile, the stadium record was set in 2011 by Logan West against Towson with 19 wins and later tied three other times including twice by Dove. With his 21 wins, Dove jumped past Boston U.’s Sam Talkow on the Patriot League’s career faceoff wins leader board into third and trails Loyola’s Graham Savio who has 523 wins.
“Brady has been locked in this year,” noted Sowell. “He’s off to a tremendous start to the season.”
Navy also found success on the offensive end of the field where seven players accounted for the Mids’ 12 goals. Wade, a first-year starter who showed in Tuesday’s opener against Johns Hopkins that he could distribute the ball, led all scorers with seven points on four goals and three assists. It marked the most points scored by a Navy player against Maryland in nearly 40 years. Syd Abernethy scored six goals and added an assist in Navy’s 16-15 victory over the Terps on April 18, 1981. Ironically, Navy’s 12-goal output in Saturday’s loss marked the most goals by the Mids in the series since that same game. Additionally, Wade’s four goals are the most by a Navy player in the series since Geoff Walker punched in four against the Terps on April 6, 1996.
Hill and sophomore midfielder Drew Smiley (Shrewsbury, Mass.) turned in a pair of goals, while midfielder Colin Flounlacker (Sr / Stevensville, Md.) turned in a career-high four points on a goal and three assists.
Defensively, Navy forced all 11 of Maryland’s turnovers with Rees leading the way with five. He is now just one of two players in program history with over 60 career caused turnovers (63) and trails record holder and former teammate Pat Kiernan by 11. Meanwhile, Rees, who joined the program’s all-time ground balls list following the opener, moved into 15th with 143 over his four seasons.
While Navy falls to 0-2 on the year, it marks the first time in program history that it has played its first two games against teams ranked in the top 10.
“It’s like going from the frying pan into the fire,” said Sowell in regards to playing #8 Johns Hopkins on Tuesday and #2 Maryland on Saturday. “They are both really good times, but I feel like we are right there as well. We need to prove that, but I think we have plenty of time and lacrosse left to play this season.”
The Mids return to action next Saturday when they travel to Delaware to face the Blue Hens. The second game of a doubleheader, the men’s game is scheduled to start at 3:00 pm. Delaware will provide a free live video feed on its web site, while Joe Miller will be on hand to call the game on 1430 AM / 99.9 FM WNAV. Radio coverage of the lacrosse game will be joined in progress following the Army-Navy men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader played in Annapolis at 11:00 AM and 1:30 PM.
### Go Navy ###