Balanced Scoring Leads No. 16 Navy to 6-2 Win
March 3, 2009
EMMITSBURG, Md. -- The 16th-ranked Navy men's lacrosse team paired a swarming defensive effort along with a balanced offensive arsenal to defeat Mount St. Mary's, 6-2, at the Waldron Family Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, snapping its two-game skid. Six different players provided goals for the Mids, including junior midfielder Joe Lennon (Westminster, Md.) who paced the team with one goal and two assists.
"I thought we gave a good effort today, especially on the defensive end of the field," said Navy head coach Richie Meade, who earned his 150th collegiate win. "We just played with a lot more focus on defense and in turn gave them very few scoring opportunities
"Had we shot just a little bit better in the second quarter, we could have blown the game open. I thought we did a terrific job sharing the ball and getting a balanced effort from our offensive players."
Navy's defense smothered the Mount from the opening whistle, surrendering just three shots in the opening period. On the flip side, the Mids peppered Mount St. Mary's sophomore keeper T.C. DiBartolo with 23 shots in the opening half, including 18 in the second period.
Navy began the game with an accurate arm, ringing up the Mount three times on five shots. For the second straight game, Lennon started things off for the Mids, sending an unassisted shot from in tight over the shoulder of DiBartolo to give Navy a 1-0 lead just two minutes into the contest.
Mount St. Mary's, though, would answer as a defenseman Matt Nealis picked up a ground ball off an errant Navy play and ran coast-to-coast to even the game with 8:43 remaining in the first period. It would be its last for better than 53 seconds, however, as Navy's defense created 11 Mount turnovers, while the Mids' offense held possession of the ball throughout much of the game.
Navy took the lead for good at the 4:46 mark in the opening period when sophomore midfielder Brian Striffler (Virginia Beach, Va.) bounced in a shot for his second goal of the season. The goal sparked a 5-0 run by the Mids over three quarters of play and featured a goal with just four seconds remaining in the first period by starting attack Andy Warner (Corning, N.Y.), who sliced from behind to the cage around the crease where Striffler found him for the goal.
Junior midfielder Patrick Moran (Annapolis, Md.) scored just his second even-strength goal of the season on a worm-burner from 10 yards out on the first of two assists by Lennon at 2:05 in the second quarter.
The Mids pushed their lead to four (5-1) at 5:12 in the third quarter off a spectacular play by senior defensive midfielder Geoff Leone (Massapequa, N.Y.). After Mount St. Mary's attempted to pull out and spread the Navy defense, Leone jarred the ball loose and jump-started the Mids' transition game. Fellow defensive midfielder Zack Schroeder (Deer Park, N.Y.) took off with the ball, finding Tim Paul (Parkton, Md.) in the box, who one-timed it to Warner behind the net, who then found Brendan Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) right on the doorstep for the Navy goal .
Navy scored its final goal of the game on a Lennon-to-Bruce Nechanicky (Montgomery Village, Md.) extra-man score, as Nechanicky came streaking through the middle to punch in a five-yarder.
The Mids surrendered their final goal of the game with just 39 ticks left in the game as Mount St. Mary's leading scorer Cody Lehrer sent a high eight yard shot over the shoulder of Navy rookie keeper RJ Wickham (Penn Yan, N.Y.) on an extra-man play.
"It was important for us to come back after Saturday's loss and play well," added Meade. "I thought the team responded well, but we need to just keep moving forward and improving."
The Mids return to action on Saturday when they play host to Lafayette in a men's and women's Patriot League doubleheader. The Navy men kick off the day's action at 12:00 pm, followed by the women's game at approximately 3:00 pm. The men's contest is set to be aired live on 1430 WNAV.