17th-Ranked Mids Post 11-5 Win Over Delaware on the Road
NEWARK, Del. — Midfielders Greyson Torain (So / Glen Burnie, Md.) and Drew Smiley (So / Shrewsbury, Mass.) scored three goals apiece, while goalkeeper Ryan Kern (Fr / Middletown, Del.) made 14 stops between the pipes to lead the 17th-ranked Navy’s men’s lacrosse team (1-2, 0-0 Patriot League) to an 11-5 win over Delaware (1-2) Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium in Newark.
“It really feels good to get a check in that win column after starting off 0-2 against two very good teams,” said sixth-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “We had a little sense of urgency going into this game which can be one of the hardest situations to then capitalize on. I thought we responded well in practice throughout the week and I was pleased to see us show up today and play the way we practiced.”
Navy clicked on both ends of the field from the opening whistle, as the Mids opened up a 4-0 lead with just under two minutes to play in the opening quarter. Two of those four goals were unassisted tallies by Smiley who made his first career start.
Delaware finally got on the board when second-year attackman Joe Eisele slipped the Navy defense and was able to thread his five-year shot past Kern. It was one of the few shots that would get past Kern on the afternoon as the rookie starter made a career-best 14 stops in goal, including five saves on eight shots by the Blue Hens in the opening quarter.
“Ryan is a heck of a talent,” said Sowell. “We didn’t do him any favors scheduling Johns Hopkins and Maryland for his first two career appearances, but he is a great competitor. I actually think he benefitted from playing those two games and he is starting to settle down and get comfortable.”
Navy scored the first three goals of the second stanza, including a pair by Torain, to extend its lead to six (7-1) with 8:34 remaining in the half.
Delaware would answer just over a minute later when Andrew Romagnoli found rookie attackman Charlie Kitchen five yards out from the crease. Kitchen made a spectacular catch on the high pass and plunked it in over Kern, as the Blue Hens would go into the break down five (7-2).
Delaware trimmed its deficit to three (7-4) by holding the Midshipmen scoreless in the third, while Kitchen and senior captain Will Hirschmann both punched in goals.
Navy was able to climb out of its third quarter funk and outscore the Blue Hens 4-1 in the final quarter to earn its first win of the season. Among the fourth quarter scoring was a nearly impossible goal scored by Torain with just one second remaining with the timer on. Torain stuck his shot it from the left side of the cage at a tough angle to produce just his third career hat trick and first since last year’s Maryland contest (4.19).
Joining Smiley and Torain in the scoring column were Dave Little (Jr / Vienna, Va.) with two and Ryan Wade (So / Coronado, Calif.), Chris Hill (Jr / Novato, Calif.) and DJ Plumer (Jr / Stevensville, Md.) who each contributed one goal. Smiley, who turned in his first multi-goal game of his career last Saturday in the loss to #2 Maryland, recorded his first collegiate hat trick and totaled a career-high four points with his assist in the fourth quarter on a Little goal. Navy also got a little help from its second midfield with Taylor Esoldi (Jr / San Diego, Calif.) and Ian Burgoyne (So / Darien, Conn.) both recording their first career points with assists.
Navy was once again aided in its possessions by the faceoff game with Brady Dove (Sr / Stevensville, Md.) (8 of 12) and Joe Varello (Jr / Kings Park, N.Y.) (5 of 7) collaborating to win 13 of the 19 draws.
The defense, meanwhile, returned to form as it held the Blue Hens to a season-low five goals. Delaware came into the contest ranked fifth nationally, averaging 15.5 goals in a 14-13 loss to Bucknell and an 18-5 victory over Mount St. Mary’s. Navy kept the Blue Hens off the scoreboard for the first 14-plus minutes of the game and another 14-minute stretch between the third and fourth quarters.
“Kudos to our defense,” said Sowell. “Ryan did a great job in goal, but I think our entire defensive line stepped up and limited Delaware’s opportunities and took any undue pressure off our offense.”
Long-stick defensive midfielder Matt Rees (Sr / Sykesville, Md.) came into the game ranked #1 nationally in caused turnovers per game (4.00) and forced two Delaware turnovers while posting a team-high tying five assists.
Navy opens Patriot League play next Saturday when it plays host to Boston University at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium beginning at 12-Noon. A free live video stream will be available on PatriotLeague.TV with Joe Miller on the call. The game will not be carried by 1430 AM / 99.9 FM WNAV, however, as it will air the Navy vs. Bucknell men’s basketball game live from Lewisburg, Pa. with Pete Medhurst calling the action..
### Go Navy ###