Defense Sparks Mids in 11-4 Win Over Holy Cross
WORCESTER, Mass. - Navy’s defense played one of its best games of the season, holding Holy Cross (2-8, 2-3 Patriot League) to a season-low four goals, including one in the opening half, en route to an 11-4 victory over the Crusaders in men’s lacrosse action Sunday afternoon at Kuzniewski Field in Worcester, Mass. With the win, Navy (5-6, 3-3 PL) is now tied with Lehigh for fourth place in the Patriot League standings behind Army West Point (5-0), Loyola (4-1) and Boston (3-2).
“I’m proud of the way the team played today,” said Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “The first half was the best we’ve played all season. Brady (Dove) controlled the faceoffs, the offense took advantage of the opportunities presented and the defense gave them nothing. Our offense and the clearing game got a little slopping in the second half, but thanks to stellar defense they were unable to score enough to put pressure on us. Winning on the road in league play is not easy, so it was a job well done by the Mids today.”
Holy Cross got on the scoreboard first when senior attackman Jon Vogel targeted his shot off an assist from fellow attackman Sean Kirkpatrick on an extra-man opportunity at 13:10 in the first quarter. That goal, however, would be the last for the Crusaders in the opening half, as Navy rattled off the next seven to take a 7-1 lead into the break.
Six players accounted for the Mids’ seven goals in the opening 30 minutes of play, including first-year starting attackman Chris Hill (Jr / Novato, Calif.), who scored back-to-back goals off assists from Ray Wardell (Jr / Babylon, N.Y.) and Ryan Wade (So / Coronado, Calif.). Navy scored five goals on seven shots in the first quarter, but just two on 11 shots in the second quarter. Scoring those two goals for the Midshipmen were junior attackmen Dave Little (Vienna, Va.), who has scored 10 goals in the last two games, and Jack Ray (Wyckoff, N.J.), who missed seven games with a foot injury before returning to the field last weekend against Lehigh.
Navy pushed its lead to seven in the opening minutes of the third quarter when long-stick defensive midfielder Matt Rees (Sr / Sykesville, Md.) scored the first of his game-high three goals in transition at the 10:43 mark to give the Mids an 8-1 advantage.
The Crusaders answered 33 seconds later when Vogel fed Kirkpatrick for Holy Cross’ first goal in 33 minutes. The Crusaders made it 8-3 with 7:12 to play in the third when senior attackman Jack Orlieb used a Sean Mullaney pass to net his fifth goal of the season.
Holy Cross’ defense forced the Mids to turn the ball over seven times in the third quarter and held Navy off the scoreboard for 15-and-a-half minutes before Rees scored back-to-back fourth quarter goals in transition off assists from short-stick defensive middies DJ Plumer (Jr / Stevensville, Md.) and John Trainor (Sr / Northport, N.Y.).
Navy scored its third straight goal of the fourth quarter and took its largest lead of the game (+8, 11-3) when second-year middie Greyson Torain (Glen Burnie, Md.) scored his second unassisted goal of the contest at the 5:21 mark.
Scoreless for just over 20 minutes, Holy Cross put up its final tally of the game when Vogel won the foot race against the Navy defense from around the cage and scored his second of the contest with 2:39 remaining.
While defense played a huge role in keeping the Crusaders off the scoreboard in the opening half, limiting them to just eight shots, so, too, did the play of faceoff specialist Brady Dove (Sr / Stevensville, Md.) which kept the ball in the hands of his offense. Dove was 9 for 10 in the first half and 16 for 19 for the game. On the opening faceoff of the second half, Dove collected his 600th career win becoming the first player in program history and the third in Patriot League history to win 600 career faceoffs.
Rees led all scorers with his first career hat trick, punching in three goals on four shots. He became Navy’s all-time goal scorer among close defensemen and long-stick defensive midfielders, scoring 15 over his career. Meanwhile, he trails former teammate Pat Kiernan (2011-14) by one in the career points category among the same group of players.
Meanwhile, Torain finished with three points on two goals and an assist and has amassed 16 points over the last three contests.
Vogel (2), Kirkpatrick and Ortliebe accounted for Holy Cross’ four goals which were the fewest scored by a Navy opponent since the Mids defeated Sacred Heart, 7-1, last April.
The Mids return to action next Saturday when they travel to Hamilton, N.Y. to face Colgate with faceoff slated for 2:00 pm. A free live video stream will be available on the Patriot League Network, while Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller will have the call on 1430 AM / 99.9 FM WNAV beginning at 1:45 pm.
### Go Navy ###