Navy Lax Bounces Back with 13-7 Win Over Bucknell
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — With the loss of All-American midfielder Casey Rees (Jr / Sykesville, Md.) to a knee injury in November and most recently attackman Jack Ray (Jr / Wyckoff, N.J.) with a foot injury, Navy men’s lacrosse coach Rick Sowell has called his offense a work in progress. On Saturday, Navy’s starting offensive unit looked like a veteran group as it combined for 20 points (11G, 2A) en route to leading the Midshipmen (2-3 / 1-1 Patriot League) to a 13-6 victory over Bucknell (2-3 / 0-2 PL) at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The 13 goals marked the most by the Mids this season, while the 23-point output was their best since last year’s 13-goal, 10-assist performance in the win over Bucknell in Lewisburg.
“It takes some time to build chemistry,” said Sowell in response to the pieces coming together for Navy on offense. “We are a work in progress, but things are coming together for us.
“Today was a well played game and the offense got it going early and often for us. The defense gave up those first couple of goals at the start of the game, but it settled down and played some really good defense for about 50 minutes.”
Those two goals Sowell referenced gave the Bison a 2-0 advantage just two-minutes, thirty seconds into the contest as junior middie Sean O’Brien and junior attackman Connor O’Hara scored a pair of unassisted goals just 56 seconds apart.
Navy answered the challenge by scoring five of the next six goals to give the Mids a 5-3 lead at the end of the opening quarter. A lead it would not relinquish the remainder of the contest.
Attackmen Ryan Wade (So / Coronado, Calif.) and Chris Hill (Jr / Novato, Calif.) triggered the run for the Mids, as Hill scored three in a row for Navy and Wade provided assists on four of the five goals, including all three by Hill.
Bucknell trimmed the Mids’ lead to one (5-4) just over a minutes into the second period when senior middie Tommy O’Connor broke free from his defender and sent his shot top shelf.
From there Navy’s defense clamped down and held the Bison scoreless for better than 26 minutes (13:47 2nd Qtr - 12:34 4th Qtr), as Navy went on a 5-0 run over the course of the second and third quarters and featured a pair of goals by second-year midfielders Drew Smiley (Shrewsbury, Mass.) and Greyson Torain (Glen Burnie, Md.). Long pole Matt Rees (Sr / Sykesville, Md.) got the stadium rocking when he took an outlet pass from short-stick DJ Plumer (Jr / Stevensville, Md.) and fired in his third goal of the season off a 20-yard shot.
Navy’s final goal of the third period brought the fans to their feet when Torain single-handedly fought through Bucknell’s 10-man ride and finessed his way past the defense to give Navy a 10-4 lead going into the final 15 minutes of action.
Bucknell trimmed the lead to five when Tewaaraton Award candidate Will Sands found O’Hara cutting in from the middle of the field for the third of his game-high four goals.
Navy, though, would score three in a row (13-5) and featured the fourth goals of the day for both Torain and Hill. Sandwiched between them was a spectacular goal by middie Ian Burgoyne (So / Darien, Conn.), who spun off his defender and sent his underhand shot past Bucknell keeper Christian Klipstein. It marked Burgoyne’s first collegiate goal.
The Bison went on to score the final two goals of the game, but it would not be enough to overcome what had been an eight-goal deficit in the fourth quarter.
Wade (0G, 5A), Hill (4G, 1A) and Torain (4G, 1A) all finished the game with five points to lead the Mids. Wade’s five assists were a career high and tied as the third most during the Rick Sowell era. Meanwhile, the four goals and five points for both Hill and Torain were career bests. Hill had never scored more than two goals in a game, while Torain had pitched hat tricks in just three previous appearances.
After making just two stops in the opening half, rookie keeper Ryan Kern (Middletown, Del.) made six stops in the second half including three on Bucknell’s four shots in the third period.
O’Hara scored four of Bucknell’s seven goals, while Sands finished the game with four points on one goal and three assists.
The Mids will have little time to relish their victory as they return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Philadelphia, Pa. to face #8 Penn. Game time is slated for 4:00 p.m. at Penn Park in Philadelphia, Pa., NOT the Quakers’ normal home facility, Franklin Field.
### Go Navy ###