Torain, Varello Spark Mids in Home Opener
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — All-American midfielder Greyson Torain (Jr / Glen Burnie, Md.) scored a pair of goals and assisted on a third as the Navy men’s lacrosse team (1-2) went on a three-goal run in the third quarter to break a 4-4 tie en route to a 7-5 victory against UMBC (1-1) on a snowy Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
“Sometimes the first one (win) is the hardest one, but we grinded it out and am happy to get the win today,” said seventh-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell.
For a second straight week, Navy played in less than desirable conditions, as a mix of snow and rain fell throughout the game in what was the Mids’ home opener. A sloppily-played opening quarter saw the Mids take just four shots, while committing an equal number of turnovers. UMBC, meanwhile, capitalized on just one of its eight shots as second-year attackman Ryan Frawley beat Navy’s short-stick defensive midfielder at the crease to put the Retrievers up 1-0 in the first quarter.
It took nearly 19 minutes for the Mids to get on the scoreboard, but Navy scored early and often in the second period, outscoring the Retrievers 4-1 in the second quarter to take a 4-2 lead into the break. Veteran attackman Dave Little (Sr / Vienna, Va.) took a Christian Daniel (Fr / Owings, Md.) pass and threaded it over the shoulder of UMBC rookie keeper Tommy Lingner at 11:17 in the second for the Mids’ first goal of the contest. On the ensuing play, faceoff specialist Joe Varello (Sr / Kings Park, N.Y.) won the draw himself and barreled towards the cage where he would punch in his first collegiate goal to give Navy its first lead at 2-1.
UMBC answered by once again attacking Navy’s short-stick defensive midfielders with junior Gunnar Schimoler firing in a goal from the left wing to knot the game for a second time (2-2).
The Mids grabbed the lead with 5:26 left in the half when Daniel successfully came up with a loose ball and found the back of the net. The play began when teammate Casey Rees’ (Sr / Baltimore, Md.) shot was blocked in front of the crease by defenseman Nick Griffin and Daniel, who was Johnny on the Spot, picked up the ground ball for what was his lone goal of the game.
Just 21 seconds later, rookie midfielder Logan Spilker (Severna Park, Md.) took an Ian Burgoyne (Jr / Darien, Conn.) outlet and ran past UMBC defenseman Nick Doyle to score his first career goal and put the Mids up by two (4-2) at halftime.
Freshman attackman Trevor Patschorke scored back-to-back goals for UMBC to open the third quarter to knot the game for a third time at 4-4 with 6:18 to go in the third quarter.
Navy’s defense would buckle down, however, and hold the Retrievers scoreless for the next 15-plus minutes, while the Mids’ offense put together a 3-0 run. Sparking that run was Torain, who played a part in each of Navy’s three goals during that span. Torain kicked the run off when middie Ryan Wade (Jr / Coronado, Calif.) found Torain, whose bounce shot from 10 yards out found its way into the goal. A minute later, Torain spotted attackman Jack Ray (Sr / Wyckoff, N.J.) on the crease who powered his shot in. With 2:08 remaining in the third quarter, Little set a perfect screen for Torain whose runner from the left wing sailed over the shoulder of Lingner.
“We showed some character in scoring those three goals after UMBC tied it up in the third quarter,” added Sowell.
UMBC junior middie Billy Nolan would tack on a goal with 5:29 to go in the final stanza, but it would not be enough.
For the second game in a row, Navy had the benefit of offensive possession thanks to the outstanding play of Varello, who was rewarded for his work a week ago (12 for 18) by being named the league’s faceoff specialist of the week. In Saturday’s win, Varello won 12 of the 15 draws where he faced three different players, including a pair of poles.
“There’s not a lot of room for error in the game of lacrosse today, so when you lose a player like we did in a specialized area, it’s tough,” said Sowell in regards to Varello sitting out the opener three weeks ago. “He certainly has made his impact felt and helping to get us those extra possessions is key.”
“There was a lot of communication between myself and the wings and when they put the poles in, my objective was just to keep it out of the reach of the poles. Almost all of the ground balls were taken by our wings which was exactly what we were looking for.”
Six different players accounted for the Mids’ seven goals, while Torain, who extended his point-scoring streak to 10 straight games, paced the Mids with three points (2G, 1A).
“I think we are leaving some goals behind,” said Torain, who alongside Daniel, leads the team with six points this season. “Overall we are getting better, but we’ve been saying for three games that we are getting closer. We have to put it together offensively.”
Wade has now dealt out an assist in each of the last 10 games and has points in each of the last 13, while has goals in each of the last five contests.
Defensively, Ryan Kern (So / Middletown, Del.) made 10 saves between the pipes, while close defenseman Hiram Carter (Sr / Apopka, Fla.) recorded two caused turnovers and in doing so moved into the Mids’ all-time top 20 record book with 14 for his career. Freshman long-stick midfielder Jeff Durden (Cumming, Ga.) led the team with five ground balls and forced one turnover.
“I’m really excited about our defense,” said Sowell. “We lost some pretty good players to graduation and I think we are settling in as a unit.”
Patschorke led the Retrievers with three points on two goals and an assist, while Frawley had a goal and an assist. Lingner, who was named to the USILA National Team of the Week last Monday, allowed seven goals while making seven stops.
Navy opens Patriot League play next Saturday when it travels to Boston to battle the Terriers at Nickerson Field beginning at 1:00 pm. A free live video stream will be available on PatriotLeague.TV, while the game will also be carried live on 1430 AM / 99.9 FM WNAV with Joe Miller on the call.
### Go Navy ###