Navy Lax Returns Home to Face No. 4 North Carolina
RJ Wickham made 14 saves in last year's game against the Tar Heels.
Feb. 23, 2012
After dropping a tough 13-7 decision to Jacksonville a week ago at the Moe's Southwest Grill Classic in Florida, Navy returns home Saturday to play host to nationally-ranked (4/5) North Carolina ... the Mids are looking to avenge last year's two-goal loss (10-8) against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill ... the 27th edition of the Navy-Carolina series is set for a 12:00 pm faceoff at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The Mids are coming off a frustrating loss that saw Jacksonville score six second-quarter goals and take an 8-2 lead into the half ... while the Mids clipped the lead to 10-7 with 14 minutes to play in the game, the Dolphins' defense would be stout and the offense would be accurate in dealing Navy its first loss of 2012.
Ten different players pitched in goals to lead North Carolina an 18-8 victory over Detroit last Saturday in Chapel Hill ... the Tar Heels owned an 8-3 lead at the half, but an eight-goal third period put the game out of reach as UNC improved to 3-0 on the season.
Saturday's contest will be broadcast over the radio waves by WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM with Graham Whaples handling the call, beginning with the Navy lacrosse pregame show at 11:45 am ... the game will also be streamed online via Navy All-Access (subscription) with live stats available at NavySports.com.
Taking the Field In ...
10 Navy has lost just five games (47-5) when scoring 10 or more goals since the start of the 2004 season ... Navy is 1-0 this season when achieving that feat.
9 Over the last 13 Navy-Carolina meetings, the winning teams has scored nine or more goals 12 times with the one exception being the 2008 NCAA Tournament contest that Navy won, 8-7.
8 Navy scored eight goals against the Tar Heels a year ago ... four of the five players who accounted for the eight goals return this year and three of the four are sophomores - Tucker Hull (2), Sam Jones (2), Taylor Reynolds (2) and Harrison Chaires (1).
7 Seven different players have provided points for the Mids this season ... Tucker Hull, Sam Jones and Pat Durkin have scored goals in both contests.
6 Sophomore attackman Tucker Hull has recorded six hat tricks in his 15-game Navy career, including two this season ... he led the Mids with six goals against VMI in the opener on Feb. 11 ... it's the most goals by a Navy player since Taylor Harris scored six against Holy Cross on March 26, 2006.
5 Sophomore attackman Sam Jones pushed his point scoring streak to six-straight games after scoring a goal against Jacksonville last Sunday ... he opened the season with a remarkable nine-point (5-4) effort against VMI ... it's the most points scored by a Navy player since Dennis Nealon produced 12 points against Washington College on March 20, 1991.
4 Four of Navy's 2012 opponents are ranked in the 2012 USILA Coaches Preseason Poll - Johns Hopkins (3), North Carolina (4), Maryland (7), Colgate (20), while Army, Bucknell, Towson and Jacksonville are receiving votes.
3 This is the third-straight year in which Navy and Johns Hopkins have faced one another on Feb. 25.
2 In each of Navy's two games this season, the opponent has scored two goals on two shots on goal.
1 Over the last four seasons, 22 (9-13) of the Mids' 62 contests have been decided by one goal.
Carolina rookie attackman Jimmy Bitter is the younger brother of former Navy lacrosse standout and 2009 graduate Matt Bitter.
Navy junior defensive midfielder Jordan Seivold grew up with Carolina Blue running through his veins ... his father, Joe, was a four-time All-American lacrosse player at UNC during the mid-80s, earning first-team honors in 1984 and `85 ... his uncle, Gary, was a three-time All-American who was named the MVP of the 1986 NCAA Championship in which North Carolina won ... his older brother, Johnny, was a midfielder for Carolina from 2001-04 ... meanwhile, his mother, Joan, was an All-American soccer player for the Tar Heels and won two national championships ... Jordan grew up in Chapel Hill and also lived in Efland before moving to Minneapolis, Minn. in his eighth-grade year.
More on the Tar Heels
In his fourth season as head coach, Joe Breschi has his fourth-ranked Tar Heels off and running with a 3-0 record ... North Carolina opened the season with a 14-10 victory over then 17th-ranked Penn State and followed up with a 20-7 victory over Mercer and an 18-8 win over Detroit.
As one of the most proficient offenses in the country, North Carolina is averaging 17.3 goals per game, while the defense is giving up 8.3 goals per outing.
Seventeen different players have accounted for the Tar Heels' 52 goals, including the attack combination of Davey Emala and Jimmy Bitter who are leading the team with seven goals apiece.
Sophomore midfielder Pat Foster has dealt out a team-high five assists to complement his three goals this season ... two of his three goals, meanwhile, have been scored on extra-man offense.
The Tar Heels have been without two of their top three scorers from a year ago ... both Nicky Galasso (So., A) and Thomas Wood (Sr., A) have been sidelined with injuries ... Galasso was the nation's top-scoring freshman a year ago with 56 points on 24 goals and 32 assists, while Wood produced 34 points (21-13).
Sophomore R.G. Keenan is one of the nation's top faceoff specialist ... he has won 48 of the 61 draws (78.7) to date and has scooped up a team-high 18 ground balls.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Steve Rastivo has surrendered 19 of the 25 goals and owns an 8.44 goals-against average ... meanwhile, he has made 30 saves for a 61.2 save percentage.
The Tar Heels own a staggering 146-89 advantage (+57) in ground balls, thanks in part to the faceoff play.
North Carolina holds a slight 14-12 series lead over the Mids ... after Navy put together a five-game winning streak (2003-07) over UNC, the Tar Heels have now won four of the last five including each of the last three.
The Mids hold an 8-4 edge in games played in Annapolis, winning three of the last four ... UNC, however, dealt Navy a seven-goal loss (11-4) in its last trip to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on this exact date two years ago.
In terms of regular-season meetings, Navy has won six of the last nine.
Seven of the last 13 games in the series have been decided by one goal.
The two teams had met every year during the regular season since 1996, however a scheduling glitch in `08 prevented them from their annual contest ... ironically, the two teams would end up meeting in the `08 NCAA Tournament with the Mids scoring an 8-7 win.
2011 Navy-North Carolina Recap
No. 12 North Carolina scored four of the game's final five goals to secure a 10-8 victory over Navy at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill. A typical Navy-North Carolina duel, fans were treated to an up-and-down game that featured five ties, including three in the second half of play.
Both teams put together impressive runs in the opening half of play, including four-straight goals by the Midshipmen that was spearheaded by freshman attackman Tucker Hull, who netted Navy's first goal of the game with just 16 ticks remaining in the opening period. Freshmen Sam Jones and Harrison Chaires, along with senior Andy Warner would all punch in goals for the Mids as Navy built a 4-1 advantage with 7:22 remaining in the first half.
Carolina sliced into the lead on a pretty play from senior attackman Billy Bitter just 32 seconds later. However, Navy took a 5-2 advantage with under six to go when a save by junior keeper RJ Wickham led to a fantastic transition goal by the Mids. Wickham sent his outlet pass to second-year defensive midfielder Jordan Seivold who was off to the races. Sprinting from end to end, he found Jones who targeted a long shot from the left corner.
North Carolina, though, found a hot stick thanks to freshman faceoff specialist R.G. Keenan who was near perfect on the evening. He kept generating possession for the Tar Heels and over the course of one minute and 30 seconds, the Tar Heels scored three goals and knotted up the game at 5-5. The equalizer came from defenseman Ryan Flanagan, who sent his shot right through Wickham's legs.
Navy wasted little time in breaking the tie coming out of intermission, as Jones perfectly threaded his pass from behind the goal to junior attackman Taylor Reynolds who, despite being triple teamed, fired in his point-blank shot.
The Mids' lead would be short-lived, however, as middie Jimmy Dunster's shot on the run managed to catch the inside post, tying the game for the third time at 6-6.
A resilient Navy team fought back to take the lead for a final time in the game when a slide to Warner resulted in an uncovered Hull, who scored for the second time in the game on a two-yarder at the 12:35 mark.
The Mids held the lead for the better part of four minutes, but Carolina rookie Nicky Galasso began taking control of the game, fueling the Tar Heels. First he found Dunan Hutchins cutting in from the left side of the crease to tie the game and then he took a pass from Will Campbell and snuck it past Wickham on a lefty low to low shot. Galasso's goal at 7:57 in the third was North Carolina's first lead since scoring the game-opening goal.
Nearly three minutes later, midfielder Jay Mann sent a hard shot that would be deflected back into play by Carolina keeper Chris Madalon. Reynolds scooped up the ball and spun around to pocket his second goal of the contest and send the game into its fifth tie.
Following a Navy timeout with two minutes to play in the third quarter, middie Pat Foster gave the Tar Heels the lead for good, when he sent a 10-yard shot from a tough angle on the left wing in past Wickham.
Flanagan provided the insurance goal just six seconds into the final quarter, picking up the ball off a faceoff win by the Heels and firing it in for his second goal of the evening.
The Tar Heels dominated the game in almost every category, including winning 18 of the 22 faceoffs. Meanwhile, they owned a 40-28 advantage in shots and a 42-23 edge in ground balls. Neither team scored an extra-man goal, including the Mids who were 0 for 4.
Navy Vs. The ACC
The Mids own a 100-94-1 (51.5) record against the four-member Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
Navy has faced all four teams multiple times, including long-standing rivalries with Maryland and North Carolina.
Navy, who trails North Carolina 14-12 in its series, has faced the Tar Heels every year since 1996 ... the series first began in 1975.
The Mids, who battle Maryland on April 6 in College Park, have faced the Terps 86 times and have played one another every year since 1946 ... the series first began in 1924.
Virginia owns a 31-18 advantage over Navy with the two last meeting in the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2005.
Navy leads the series with Duke, 24-10, last meeting in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
Jacksonville 13, Navy 7 -- A Look Back
Jacksonville outscored Navy 6-1 in the second quarter to put the game out of reach for the Mids, as the Dolphins dealt Navy a 13-7 loss last Sunday in the second game of the Moe's Southwest Grill Classic played at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
Navy never held the lead in the game, as Jacksonville took a 2-0 lead right out of the gates.
Although the final score would not reflect it, Navy dominated Jacksonville in nearly every statistical category -- shots 42-24, ground balls 36-18, faceoffs 15-9, turnovers 12-20, caused turnovers 12-3.
One category Jacksonville did lead was saves ... Peter DeLuca came up with 17 saves, while Navy's RJ Wickham and Nolan Hickey combined for just six saves ... Wickham was replaced by Hickey at the half in what was Hickey's first collegiate appearance.
Navy senior faceoff specialist Logan West won 15 of the 24 draws he took against the Dolphins ... in doing so, he became just the fourth player in program history to reach the 200-win milestone for his career.
Sophomore attackman Tucker Hull paced the Mids with three goals, marking the second-consecutive game in which he has pitched a hat trick ... he opened the season with a six-goal effort against VMI.
Sophomore attackman Sam Jones extended his point scoring streak to six straight games dating back to last year's Georgetown games, scoring a goal against the Dolphins.
Junior close defenseman Austin Miller replaced an injured Pat Kiernan on the wing of faceoffs, picking up a career-high six ground balls.
Junior Jay Christopher made his first-career start on defense.