Navy Men's Lax Drops Overtime Decision to Loyola
Sophomore RJ Wickham produced a career-high 19 saves in the loss against Loyola.
Feb. 20, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Loyola senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell punched in his sixth goal of the game with just nine ticks left in overtime to lead the 15th-ranked Greyhounds over the 11th-ranked Navy men's lacrosse team, 8-7 OT, Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
In what marked the first matchup between the two programs since Loyola upset Navy in the opening round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament, the Greyhounds dominated the Mids throughout the game. After the Mids opened up a 1-0 lead off a pretty Andy Warner (Corning, N.Y.)-to-Brendan Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) doorstep goal three minutes into the contest, Loyola went on to score three straight goals, all by MacDonnell to take a 3-1 lead with four minutes to play in the second quarter.
Navy trimmed the lead to one when Warner fed 2009 All-American Tim Paul (Parkton, Md.), who stopped on a dime, changed directions and found the narrowest of seams just over the shoulder of Loyola keeper Jake Hagelin.
However, Navy defenseman Michael Hirsch (Schwenksville, Pa.) was flagged for a slash which resulted in an Eric Lusby extra-man goal, giving the Hounds a 4-2 advantage with 1:23 remaining in the half.
Just seconds later, Loyola was called for the first of its three penalties on the afternoon and it led to the first of three goals on the day for senior middie Patrick Moran (Annapolis, Md.) to get the Mids to within one, 4-3, at the break.
The one-goal deficit was admirable for the Midshipmen as the Greyhounds spent the majority of the second quarter on offense. Loyola, in fact, outshot Navy, 21-4, in the second period, putting 13 of those shots on goal. Navy sophomore RJ Wickham (Penn Yan, N.Y.) was sensational between the pipes throughout the game, but made 10 of his career-high 19 saves in the second quarter.
Loyola pushed the lead to 6-3, its largest of the game, midway through the third quarter as MacDonnell and Butts produced goals.
Navy, though, scored back-to-back goals just 37 seconds apart to again pull within one. Warner bulled his way from behind the goal and pumped in his first goal of the afternoon, while Evan Sullivan (Westfield, N.J.) and Moran teamed up a second time on extra-man for the goal with 4:09 remaining in the third period.
The Mids continued to build momentum when Warner stood on the doorstep and sent his shot top shelf to knot the game at six apiece less than three minutes into the final stanza.
Loyola took a 7-6 lead when Collin Finnerty once again found his wingman and MacDonnell scored on a long shot from the right wing.
Navy kept its composure, however, and with 3:03 left in the contest, senior midfielder Joe Lennon (Westminster, Md.) found Moran who let his shot fly from 10-plus yards to tie the game at seven.
The Midshipmen won the ensuing faceoff and got two great looks at the goal. The first was an 8-yard shot by second-year midfielder Nikk Davis (Cockeysville, Md.) whose shot ricocheted off keeper's stick and straight to Paul, who immediately fired back at Hagelin, who again made the stop. Remarkably, the two saves by Hagelin, made with roughly 2:30 left in the game, marked his first two saves of the game.
Time eventually wound down and the game was headed to extra minutes. A turnover by Loyola led to about as good a look as a team can get with under a minute to go in OT. Lusby lost the ball for the Greyhounds and Navy sophomore defenseman Matt Vernam (Shoreham, N.Y.) grabbed the ball and set up a 4-on-3 opportunity for the Mids. Vernam got the ball to Warner at the top of the box, who then found an open Ryan O'Leary (East Meadow, N.Y.) right on the door stop, but Hagelin smothered O'Leary's shot.
Following the successful clear attempt and a few tosses around the box, Loyola got the ball into the hands of MacDonnell who drove in from the right wing and managed shimmy his shot over the shoulder of Wickham for the game-winner with just nine seconds left.
MacDonnell finished the game with six goals on 18 shots, just three fewer shots than Navy mustered as a team. The six goals are the most goals scored by a Navy opponent since Rutgers' Delby Powless punched in seven in leading the Scarlet Knights to a 13-8 victory over the Mids on March 15, 2003.
All seven of Navy's goals came from its starting lineup, including Moran who recorded his second straight hat trick. Warner scored a pair of goals and added an assist, while Paul and Connors accounted for the remaining two goals. Amazingly Navy's seven goals were scored on seven shots on goal, as Hagelin came up with his three saves late in the contest.
Meanwhile, Wickham's 19-save performance was the best by a Navy keeper since former Navy team captain Seth DiNola turned away 21 shots on goal in a losing effort against Penn State (5-4) on April 12, 2003.
"I'd rather have three saves and win than have 53 and lose," said Wickham. "MacDonnell is a great player. But we have to get better as we move forward."
"RJ did everything he needed to do," said Navy head coach Richie Meade. "Defensively I think we played fairly well. We had some individual breakdowns, but overall we did a pretty good job and we found ourselves on the defensive side of the field way too much."
In fact, Navy finished the game with 24 turnovers, 13 of which came from the starting offensive group.
"We just had too many turnovers," said Meade. "We didn't handle the ball well enough to win. I felt like they had the ball almost the entire second quarter and that's pretty much reflective in the number of shots they had."
"You can't win a game with that many unforced errors," said Moran, who was responsible for two turnovers, including a pass that was intended for O'Leary that went awry on the opening faceoff of the overtime period.
One facet of the game the Midshipmen did a much better job this week than last was on faceoff. Senior Robby Battle (Herndon, Va.) and sophomore Logan West (Berlin, Md.) combined to win 12 of the 19 draws against one of the most successful specialists in the country a year ago, John Schiavone. Battle won nine of the 15 draws, while West was 3 for 4.
"It really ended up being a good matchup," said Battle, who gained the starting job late in the year a season ago. "I thought the wing play this week was head and shoulders above last week and with so many stalemates today, to main factor ended up being who could pick it up off the wing."
The Midshipmen will look to regroup for next Thursday's nationally-televised contest against No. 4 North Carolina. Dave Ryan and Matt Danowski will call the action on CBS College Sports with faceoff set for 7:00 pm at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The game will be also be streamed online via Navy All-Access at www.NavySports.com, while fans can tune in to 1430 WNAV to hear Pete Medhurst call the game.