March 10, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — After finding itself down by four goals midway through the second quarter, the 15th-ranked Navy lacrosse team (5-2) went on to score nine of the next 10 goals in the game to earn a 10-8 come-from behind victory over Lehigh (1-5) Tuesday night at Ulrich Sports Complex in Bethlehem, Pa. After trimming the lead to two (5-3) at the half, Navy scored seven goals in the third quarter to pull away from the Mountain Hawks and improve to 2-1 in the Patriot League.
The four-goal deficit is the largest the Mids have overcome to win a game since March 23, 2002, when Navy trailed 4-0 in the opening quarter and came back to win an 11-10 triple overtime thriller against Stony Brook.
After the two teams exchanged goals early in the opening quarter, Lehigh staged a 4-0 run that featured back-to-back goals by attackman Ricky Cornetta who willed his way past multiple Navy defensemen on the crease. The Mountain Hawks scored three goals on their first four shots and five goals on their first eight.
Navy, meanwhile, was held without a goal for nearly 24 minutes before rookie midfielder Nikk Davis (Cockeysville, Md.) picked up a loose ball five yards off the crease and poked in his first collegiate goal at the 2:50 mark in the second quarter. A minute later, sophomore middie Brian Striffler (Virginia Beach, Va.) sent an overhead bouncer from 10 yards out to get Navy to within two at the half.
“Coach really stressed to us the importance of playing hard,” said Striffler, who punched in a pair of goals for the Mids. “Not that we weren’t playing hard, but we needed to give a better effort. Our midfield line tried to play our part in getting us back into the game and we were able to put some balls in goal.”
After a stern halftime talk by 15th-year Navy head coach Richie Meade, the Mids came back onto the field with sticks ablazing. Navy scored five straight againt the Mountain Hawks, including a hard crank shot by junior midfielder Patrick Moran (Annapolis, Md.) just 29 seconds into the half.
The equalizer (5-5) came at the 12:54 mark in the third when junior Joe Lennon’s (Westminster, Md.) shot was blocked at the crease, but sophomore attackman Andy Warner (Corning, N.Y.) was there to pick up the ground ball and send it over Lehigh keeper Conor Murphy’s shoulder. Two minutes later, Navy took the lead for good when junior attackman Brendan Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) see-sawed back and forth along the right side of the crease before he sent a shot from his knees that rippled the back of the net.
Navy went on to score goals six minutes apart, including a spectacular Evan Sullivan-to-Patrick Moran extra-man goal with 3:32 to play in the quarter, to take an 8-5 lead.
After Lehigh’s offense was shut down for nearly 20 minutes (6:08 2nd), the Mountain Hawks finally stopped the Navy run with 1:16 on the clock when Cornetta’s shot ricocheted off Navy keeper RJ Wickham (Penn Yan, N.Y.) and bounced straight to Adam Johnston who stuck in his second of three goals on the night.
Navy, though, scored a pair of goals in the final 35 seconds of the period, including a the first collegiate goal by senior close defenseman Thomas Zimmerman (Owings Mills, Md.). After Zack Schroeder (Deer Park, N.Y.) stripped Lehigh draw specialist Will Scudder, Zimmerman picked up the loose ball and ran straight to the goal where he stuck the shot.
Lehigh mounted a short-lived comeback in the fourth quarter, as both Cornetta and Johnston produced their third goals of the contest. And despite outshooting the Mids 13-4 in the final quarter, the Mountain Hawks’ upset hopes would not be, dropping their 24th straight game in the series.
The Midshipmen will be back in action on Saturday (3:00 pm) when they make the trek to Worcester, Mass. to battle Holy Cross. Pete Medhurst will be on hand to call the action beginning at 2:45 pm with the Navy Lacrosse Pregame Show on 1430 WNAV.
### Go Navy ###