Undefeated Lafayette Turns Back Navy, 15-8
Junior midfielder Brian Striffler scored two of Navy's eight goals.
March 12, 2010
EASTON, Pa. -- Lafayette scored 10 second-half goals, including four straight to open the third quarter, en route to claiming a 15-8 victory over the 17th-ranked Navy men's lacrosse team (3-3, 2-1 Patriot League) Friday evening at Rappolt Field in Easton, Pa. The 15th-ranked Leopards, who improved to 5-0 on the year and 1-0 in conference action, came into the game averaging 14.0 goals per game and thanks to seven different goal scorers, Lafayette scored 15 goals for the third time this season.
"I'm disappointed with the result," said Navy head coach Richie Meade, whose Midshipmen came into the game with a flawless 10-0 record against the Leopards. "I was impressed with them and how they played on both sides of the field. They are a dangerous team because of how well they move the ball and their offense has a great feel for one another.
"We had plenty of chances to score in this game, however when we needed to shoot the ball well, we failed to do so. It's tough to play from behind and we struggled to put a few goals together."
Navy scored the game's first goal when sophomore attackman Ryan O'Leary (East Meadow, N.Y.) fed senior midfielder Joe Lennon (Westminster, Md.) on the left wing for a goal just 1:11 into the contest. The lead would not only be short-lived, it would be the last for the Mids as Lafayette scored four straight goals to take a 4-1 advantage with less than one minute having elapsed in the second quarter. Two of the four goals were a result of extra-man opportunities.
The Mids finally put some offense together when O'Leary and Lennon once again worked together with Lennon's 15-yard shot rippling the top of the net with 8:40 to go in the opening half. The Mids trimmed the Lafayette lead to 4-3 when junior midfielder Brian Striffler (Virginia Beach, Va.) face-dodged his defender and his overhand shot found its way past Lafayette keeper Vinny DePasquale eith 3:34 to play.
Bitten a handful of times by goals scored in the last minute of play, Navy's defense was caught sleeping as senior midfielder Steve Serling fed fellow middie Kevin Dunbar from behind the cage with just 20 seconds remaining for the final goal of the half and a 5-3 advantage.
Lafayette scored back-to-back goals just 12 seconds apart and in the first 1:08 of the second half to spark a huge run. The Leopards scored four straight goals to open the second half and with 9:45 remaining in the third, Lafayette owned a 9-3 lead leaving the Mids to climb out of a huge hole.
"That was the turning point in the game," said Meade. "That was our downfall and we just couldn't recover."
Navy scored two more times in the third (Striffler and senior attackman Brendan Connors), while Lafayette scored another to take a 10-5 lead heading into the final stanza. Lafayette scored five more goals in the final quarter, including one man-down goal, one extra-man goal and a final goal on an open cage en route to capturing a 15-8 win.
The seven-goal loss was the largest margin of defeat in a Patriot League contest, regular season or tournament, by the Mids. The 15 goals marked the most goals scored against Navy by a Patriot League foe and the most goals scored by a Navy opponent since Johns Hopkins put up 15 against the Mids a year ago in Baltimore.
Lennon, Striffler and junior attackman Andy Warner (Corning, N.Y.) paced Navy with two goals apiece, while Preseason All-American Tom Perini led Lafayette with four goals. Sophomore keeper RJ Wickham (Penn Yan, N.Y.) made 16 saves between the pipes for the Mids, while DePasquale stopped 17 shots.
Lafayette ended the game outshooting the Mids, 54-39, while also owning the ground ball category with a 41-26 advantage.
"We made a lot of mistakes in this game and to their credit, they capitalized on them. Right now I feel like we need to keep our poise, regroup and get ready to play Towson on Tuesday night."
Navy will have little time to reflect on this performance as the Mids will be back on the road Tuesday evening when they travel to Towson to take on the Tigers at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Faceoff is slated for 7:00 pm and will be air lived on 1430 WNAV with Pete Medhurst calling the action