NAVYSPORTS.COM - The Official Web Site of Naval Academy Varsity Athletics - Mids to Meet Air Force in Saturday's Men's Lacrosse Opener
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Mids to Meet Air Force in Saturday's Men's Lacrosse Opener

Feb. 5, 2016

GAME 1: NAVY (0-0, 0-0 PL) vs. Air Force (0-0, 0-0 SoCon) | 2016 Media Center
 When Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 | 11:30 am (ET)
 Location Annapolis, Md. | Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium | Directions
 Tickets Buy Online | 1-800-US4NAVY | Available at the Stadium
 Live Video Stream Patriot League Network (Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller)
 Listen Navy Lacrosse Radio Network (Joe Miller)
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Game Notes Navy Get Acrobat Reader | Air Force Get Acrobat Reader | Patriot League Get Acrobat Reader
 Season Statistics Navy | Air Force | Patriot League
 More on the Mids Media Guide | Game Promotions
 Social Media @NavyAthletics   |  Facebook | Instragram

Game Day Storylines

• Not only does Navy open up its 109th season of men's lacrosse on Saturday morning when it plays host to Academy rival Air Force, it also officially kicks off the 2016 season as the first game among Div. I programs.  Action is set for 11:30 AM at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
• Saturday's contest will be carried live by 1430 AM / 99.9 FM WNAV with Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller handling the call.  Coverage begins with the Navy Lacrosse Pregame Show at 11:15 AM.  The game will also be streamed online for FREE via PatriotLeague.TV, while live stats will be available at NavySports.com.
Rick Sowell heads into his 17th season overall and fifth as Navy's head coach, after successfully guiding the Midshipmen to a 9-5 record that included a program-record five one-goal victories in 2015.  The nine wins by the Midshipmen were the most since a string of six consecutive double-figure winning seasons ended in 2009.  Additionally, Navy produced a 6-2 Patriot League record en route to capturing a share of its sixth Patriot League regular-season crown and earning the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament.
• Navy is 4-0 in season openers under head coach Rick Sowell.  The Mids have won 14 consecutive season openers dating back to 2002.
• Navy Is looking to take a 6-1 advantage in the all-time series against Air Force after capturing a 9-8 victory over the Falcons in last year's season finale.
• The Mids will look to build upon their defensive success of last season.  Navy finished the 2015 campagin ranked 13th nationally in scoring defense (8.57) and held 10 of its 14 opponents to single digit goals.
• Navy returns 85.5 percent of its point production, including 85.4 percent of its goal scoring.  The Mids return eight of their top nine scorers, including each of the top four.
• After winning a share of the 2015 Patriot League regular-season title, Navy has been picked to finish second in the Patriot League by the conference coaches and SIDs.  The Mids return nine starters, including 2015 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Chris Fennell.
• Navy opens the season ranked 18th in the USILA Coaches and Cascade/Maverik Media top-20 polls.  It's the first time Navy has been ranked to open the season since 2010, when the Mids stood 11th.

Returning Players
• Navy returns nine of its 10 starters off last year's team, including its starting attack which accounted for the Mids' top three scorers.  Senior co-captain Patrick Keena returns as Navy's top point producer (36) and assist man (22), while sophomore Jack Ray was third on the team in points (26) and paced the team in goals (20).  Senior T.J. Hanzsche was second on the team in scoring with 33 points (20-13).
• Members of Navy's starting midfield lineup from a year ago - Spencer Coyle, Colin Flounlacker and Kevin Wendel - return, however, expect the Mids to shuffle the midfield squads to balance the strengths with the addition of rookie Greyson Torain and the emergence of sophomores Casey Rees and Ray Wardell.  Wendel is the veteran member of the group and was the midfield's top point producer a season ago with 24 points on 20 goals and four assists.
• Defensively, Navy has strength in numbers.  The Mids' close defense will be made up of junior Chris Fennell, the 2015 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, and co-captain Jules Godino, who started all 14 contests a year ago.  Sophomores Michael Strack and Hiram Carter have been battling for the final starting spot .  Junior Matt Rees made a smooth transition from close defense to long pole a year ago and will continue to be a force in the middle.  Meanwhile, Second-Team All-Patriot League goalkeeper John Connors returns for his third season as a starter between the pipes.  He posted an 8.57 goals-against average and a 50.9 save percentage last spring.
• First-Team All-Patriot League Brady Dove will look to continue his dominance in the faceoff game after winning 62.6 percent of the draws he took last season.  He finished the year ranked eighth in the country.  Additionally, he is just 54 wins away from becoming the school's all-time faceoff wins leader.  He also needs just 62 ground balls to become the program's record holder.

Navy vs. Air Force - The Series
• Eighth-year Air Force head coach Eric Seremet enters the season returning eight starters off last year's team that produced an 8-7 record.  The Falcons were slow out of the gate, dropping their first three games before winning eight of their next 10 contests.  However, Air Force ended the year with back-to-back losses to Quinnipiac and Navy
• The Falcons return four of their top five scorers, including sophomore attackman Chris Walsch who topped the team with 55 points on a team-best 37 goals and 18 assists.  Also returning are sophomore attack Nick Hruby (23-6=29), senior middie Christopher Allen (17-4=21) and junior middie Austin Smith (9-8=17).  Air Force graduated the team's top distributor Keith Dreyer who owned 44 points on 23 goals and 21 assists.
• Luke Leathers (Sr.), Sean LaVine (So.) and Alex Warden (Sr.) return to anchor a defensive unit that stood 15th in the country in scoring defense (8.73).  Additionally the Falcons were 14th in caused turnovers.  LaVine produced 20 takeaways, while Warden posted 19.  The Falcons did lose Kyle O'Brien, who led the way with 23 caused turnovers and and 43 ground balls.
• Doug Gouchoe returns for his senior year between the pipes where he owned an 8.62 goals-against average and a 52.8 save percentage.  Gouchoe did not play in last year's game against Navy due to a broken hand he suffered the week prior.

Navy vs. Air Force - The Series
• Saturday's contest marks just the seventh meeting between the two Academies.  After better than a decade layoff, the two rekindled the series a year ago with the Mids escaping Colorado Springs with a 9-8 victory in the season finale.  
• Navy owns a 5-1 lead in the series, including a 4-1 mark in games played in Annapolis.
• Air Force earned its first win in the series on March 25, 2003, when a three-goal second quarter propelled the Falcons to a 5-3 haltime advantage, a lead it would not give up en route to an 8-6 victory.
• Navy has scored double figures against the Falcons in four of the six previous meetings, while Air Force has been held to single digits in all six games including four or fewer three times.

Navy vs. The SoCon
• Navy owns a 13-2 record (86.6) against the eight-member Southern Conference or "SoCon."  The Mids have played just three SoCon foes - Air Force (5-1), Jacksonville (0-1) and VMI (8-0).
• Formed just two years ago with then start-up programs Furman and Richmond, the conference was originally known as the Atlantic Sun.  New to the conference this season is Air Force, who had previously been a member of the ECAC Lacrosse League before it dissolved a year ago.  The Falcons played as an Independent last spring.
• Saturday's contest against Air Force marks the 12th straight season the Mids have faced a team either currently in the SoCon or had previously been part of the league at the time of the contest.
• Last year the Falcons split the faceoff duties between Josh Radjenovich (74-144, 51.4) and Luke Toscano (83-158, 52.5).  Radjenovich looks to be the go-to guy as he returns for his sophomore season.

Record Watchers
• Attackman Patrick Keena needs 11 assists to join Navy's top-20 career assists list.  He heads into the season with 34 assists.  Just six players have added their names to that list since 2000, the last Sam Jones (59) and Tucker Hull (53) in 2014.
• Junior Brady Dove enters the year ranked 10th on Navy's career ground balls list with 161.  He needs 11 to tie ninth-place Chad Donnelly (1997-00) and 61 to tie record holder William Wallace, who grabbed 222 from 2004-07.
• Dove is also ranked among the Mids' top faceoff specialists.  He stands third on the list with 310 draws, just three shy of tying second-place William Wallace (2003-07).  He needs 53 wins to tie record holder Chris Pieczonka, who amassed 363 from 2002-05.
• Senior keeper John Connors is ranked 14th on Navy's career saves chart (273), needing just one to tie former Navy goalkeeper coach and All-American Ray Finnegan.  He needs 82 saves to reach the Mids' top 10.
• There are four active players who are among the top 11 on Navy's career caused turnovers list.  Junior All-American Chris Fennell stands seventh with 30, junior pole Matt Rees is one behind in eighth, junior short stick defensive middie John Trainor is 10th with 25 and co-captain Jules Godino is tied for 11th with 22.




 

 

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