April 18, 2014
Final Stats |
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Despite a spectacular defensive effort anchored by starting goalkeeper John Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.), the upset-minded Navy men’s lacrosse team (4-8) fell a goal short as Johns Hopkins senior attackman Brandon Benn scored four goals to lead sixth-ranked Blue Jays (9-3) to a 6-5 victory over the Mids Friday evening at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
“It was another hard-fought contest by the Midshipmen,” said third-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “Knowing that they (Navy) left it all out there tonight, I can live with that. We don’t play the game to lose, you play to win, but I couldn’t be more proud of the way my guys fought.”
The Mids have lost three one-goal games this season (Georgetown, Loyola, Johns Hopkins), including two in the last three weeks. Plagued by one-goal decisions, Navy is just 1-6 over the last two seasons in games decided by one goal.
“Close ones like this hurt a lot,” said Navy co-captain Pat Kiernan, who was one of 13 seniors honored prior to the start of the contest. “It’s an emotional game and when it doesn’t come out your way, it cuts pretty deep. But our team is so hungry right now. We are looking forward to playing on Tuesday night in the Patriot League Tournament.”
Benn was a force to be reckoned with early in the game, as he scored Hopkins’ first three goals of the contest, including an extra-man stroke just 44 seconds into the game.
Navy, though, answered when senior attackman Sam Jones (Annapolis, Md.) fed junior midfielder Gabe Voumard (Cape May, N.J.) for a 12-yard strike at the 10:19 mark in the opening quarter.
Deadlocked 1-1 after the first quarter of play, the Blue Jays went on a 2-0 run to take a 3-1 advantage that featured back-to-back goals by Benn just 28 seconds apart.
The Mids trimmed the Hopkins lead to one when sophomore attackmen Patrick Keena (Vienna, Va.) and T.J. Hanzsche (Berwyn, Pa.) connected. Keena sent a nifty pass to Hanzsche just two yards off the crease and Hanzsche tucked in what would be his first goal this month.
The Blue Jays would once again push their lead to two (4-2) when second-year attackman Ryan Brown buried an unassisted extra-man goal with 3:21 to play in the opening half.
Navy just over a minute later when senior Tucker Hull (Charlotte, N.C.) scanned the field and while looking for an open teammate, he fired in a 10-yarder for the first of his two goals of the evening and got the Mids to within one at the break.
Johns Hopkins came out of the locker room and needed just 42 seconds to score, as sophomore Holden Cattoni drilled his high-to-high shot past Connors off an assist from Connor Reed. The Blue Jays took their largest lead of the game with 8:04 to play in the third quarter when Brown fed Benn for his fourth goal of the game, an eight-yarder from the left wing to give them a 6-3 advantage. That goal, however, would be Hopkins’ final goal of the game, as the Mids’ defense kept the Blue Jays off the scoreboard for the final 23 minutes of the contest.
Navy clipped the deficit to two when Voumard found Jones at the top of the box and Jones drilled his shot over Hopkins keeper Eric Schneider’s left shoulder. It was Navy’s first extra-man goal since the Lehigh game.
Down 6-4 with under 10 minutes to play, Navy looked to have cut the lead to one when Voumard fired in a shot off a pass from Jones. The shot skimmed the top of Schneider’s stick, clanked off the crossbar and found its way back into the stick of Schneider. It was one of six shots that hit either the post or crossbar by the Midshipmen in the contest.
With 5:27 left in the game, Jones threaded a pass through traffic into Hull who was standing on the crease and sent a shovel shot past Schneider to get to within one at 6-5.
The Mids would have two chances with under a minute to play in the game, but a shot by Voumard was gobbled up by Schneider and a pass intercepted by Pellegrino would dash the hopes of the Mids as Hopkins snapped a two-game losing skid to Navy in games played in Annapolis.
Connors, who produced 14 saves in the contest, was the cornerstone of a defensive effort that held Johns Hopkins to its lowest scoring output of the season and marked just the second time it was held to single digits this spring (lost 13-9 to North Carolina). Navy forced eight of the 10 Johns Hopkins turnovers, including a pair by short stick defensive midfielder Alex Heyward (Charlotte, N.C.) and starting defenseman Jules Godino (Summit, N.J.).
Meanwhile, Navy got a huge lift at the faceoff “x” by freshman Brady Dove (Stevensville, Md.), who won 10 of the 14 draws. Dove drew two faceoff opponents, Drew Kennedy, who came into the game ranked 11th nationally and Craig Madarasz. Neither had an answer for Dove, as both player went 2 for 7 against the Navy rookie. It was the first time since 2010 that Navy has won the faceoff war against Johns Hopkins and significantly better than last year’s performance in which the Blue Jays won 17 of the 20 draws.
With his performance against Johns Hopkins, Dove moved up to 10th on Navy’s career faceoff wins list with 145 and stands fourth on Navy’s single-season faceoff wins list. The 145 wins are the most by a Navy player since Chris Pieczonka set the single-season record in 2004 with 173 wins.
Jones led the way with three points on a goal and two assists, while Hull punched in a pair of goals and Voumard scored a goal and dealt out and assist. Jones moved into a tie for 12th on the Mids’ career scoring list with 140 points alongside former Team USA member Glen Miles (1983-86) and moved into 13th on the all-time assists list with 57.
Benn led the way for the Blue Jays with four goals, their top two scorers on the year were held in check by the Mids. Wells Stanwick, who came into the game ranked ninth in the country in points per game (4.55) and fourth in assists per game (3.27) was held to just an assist, while Ryan Brown who is 11th nationally in points per game (4.30) and third in goals per game (3.20) turned in a goal and an assist.
As good as Connors was in goal for the Mids, Schneider was equally as impressive for the Blue Jays. The senior starter turned away 17 Navy shots, including six in the final quarter.
“Johns Hopkins’ defense is very good, they are an outstanding team. Lets not forget about that,” added Sowell. “You have to credit them for allowing us only to score five goals.”
The Mids have just three days to prepare for its Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinals matchup against third-seeded Lehigh Tuesday evening in Bethlehem, Pa. Faceoff is slated for 7:00 pm at Ulrich Sports Complex and streamed live via PatriotLeague.TV. The game will be also carried live by WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM with Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller on the call.
### Go Navy ###