Mids' Offense Comes Alive, Defense Shuts Down #20 Bucknell
LEWISBURG, Pa. — After falling behind 4-2 in the first quarter, the Navy men’s lacrosse team (3-2, 2-0 Patriot League) went on to outscore 20th-ranked Bucknell, 11-4, over the final 45 minutes to capture a 13-8 victory over the Bison (3-2, 1-1 PL) Saturday afternoon at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. The Mids are now 2-0 in conference action for the first time since 2010.
“I felt pretty good when we started 1-0 in the league, but a 2-0 start is exactly how you hope to begin your conference schedule,” said seventh-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell, whose Mids have played four of their first five games on the road, including both Patriot League contests.
For the first time this season, the Mids were able to score the game’s first goal with attackman Dave Little (Sr / Vienna, Va.) finding senior co-captain Jack Ray (Sr / Wyckoff, N.J.) sitting on the crease nearly two minutes into the game.
Bucknell senior midfielder Sean O’Brien targeted his lefty shot crossing from the right wing to the middle to even the game at the 8:12 mark. That goal also sparked a 4-0 run by the Bison that featured a hat trick by O’Brien over a five-plus minute span.
Newly-named Tewaaraton Award Watch List member Greyson Torain (Jr / Glen Burnie, Md.) trimmed the Bison lead to two (4-2) when he took a Ryan Wade (Jr / Coronado, Calif.) pass and buried it past all-league goalkeeper Christian Klipstein with just 12 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Mids got to within one (4-3) 71 seconds into the second stanza when Ray picked up a loose ball and wrapped around the left side of the cage where he beat the defenseman and scored his second goal of the game.
Bucknell answered when O’Brien was forced into a desperation over-the-shoulder shot that sailed over the right shoulder of Navy keeper Ryan Kern (So / Middletown, Del.) to give the Bison a two-goal advantage (5-3).
The Mids closed to within one (5-4) going into halftime when Torain fed rookie attackman Christian Daniel (Owings, Md.) for his first of three goals on the afternoon.
Navy played as complete a half as it has under Sowell when the offense began to feel its oats over the course of the final 30 minutes, scoring six goals in the third quarter alone, whle the defense went to work and gave up just three second-half goals.
The Mids opened the second half on a 3-0 run as Torain found himself wide open on the left side for the game-tying goal a minute into the third and Daniel found the back of the net from eight yards out on the right wing for the go-ahead goal (6-5). Ray gave the Mids’ a two-goal advantage to complete the 3-0 run when he scored on a near-impossible angle, wrapping around the right side of the cage with 9:07 to go in the third.
Bucknell made it a one-goal game with 5:55 to go in the third when O’Brien scored his fifth of the game (of the team’s six goals at that point).
Wade answered for the Mids, scoring back-to-back goals 49 seconds apart to push the Navy lead to three (9-6).
Bucknell inched to within two goals on two more occasions, including 10-8 with 14:12 to go in the game, but Navy scored the final three goals and held the Bison scoreless the rest of the way for the 13-8 victory.
Ray (4G, 1A), Torain (3,2) and Daniel (3,2) accounted for 10 of Navy’s 13 goals, marking just the sixth time during Sowell’s tenure that three Mids posted hat tricks in a single game. Ray, who has scored a goal in seven consecutive games dating back to last year, has scored nine goals in the Mids’ two Patriot League contests. Torain, meanwhile, has produced a point in 12 straight games and has six goals and three assists in the two league victories. Wade extended his point-scoring streak to 15 contests after finishing with two goals and two assists and has recorded an assists in 12 consecutive games.
“It’s taken awhile for it to show up, but we thought we had this kind of offensive performance in us,” said Sowell. “I’ve been incredibly impressed with the way that Jack and Greyson, in particular, have stepped up over the last couple of weeks.”
Defensively senior Michael Strack (North Babylon, N.Y.) shut down the nation’s fourth-leading scorer in Tewaaraton Award Watch List member Will Sands, who posted one assist and three shots on the afternoon. The Mids’ defense also held senior attackman Connor O’Hara, who came into the game with a team-best 13 goals, without a point on just two shots.
“Michael did a tremendous job today,” said Sowell. “The defense as a whole did an outstanding job. The thing about Will Sands is he is not only a great dodger, he’s a strong feeder as well. For us to lock down both Sands and O’Hara speaks volumes about the overall job our defense did today.”
After struggling in the opening quarter (2 of 7), Navy senior faceoff specialist Joe Varello (Kings Park, N.Y.) won 13 of the final 18 draws in the game.
O’Brien ended the game having scored five of Bucknell’s eight goals, while Tommy Sopko, Tom Smith and Reed Malas scored the other three. The Bison used three goalkeepers to post 11 saves on the day.
The Midshipmen return to action on Tuesday evening (7:00 pm) when they face 13th-ranked Penn in a neutral site game played at Tierney Field in Sparks, Md. The game will not be streamed, however, it will be carried live on 1430 AM / 99.9 FM WNAV with Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller on the call beginning at 6:45 pm.
### Go Navy ###