Navy Lax Travels to Lehigh for Patriot League Battle
March 29, 2013
Looking to snap a three-game losing skid, the Navy men's lacrosse team will battle 2012 Patriot League Champion Lehigh on Saturday in Bethlehem, Pa. ... meeting for the 32nd time in series history, the Mids and 18th-ranked Mountain Hawks will face off at 1:00 pm at Ulrich Sports Complex.
The Midshipmen were dealt their third conference loss of the year last Saturday when Colgate attackmen Peter Baum and Ryan Walsh combined for 7 goals in leading the Raiders to an 11-3 win over Navy in Baltimore at the Face-Off Classic. Colgate jumped out to a 4-0 lead and after Navy clipped the lead to 2 at 4-2, the Raiders held the Mids off the scoreboard for 31 minutes and rattled off 7 straight goals of their own en route to the victory.
Meanwhile, after finding itself down 2-1 after the first quarter of play, Lehigh's David DiMaria (3G) helped the Mountain Hawks outscore Holy Cross 7-3 the rest of the way to post an 8-5 victory over the Crusaders last Saturday in Worcester, Mass.
A radio broadcast of Saturday's contest will be carried by WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM and WFED 1500 AM with Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller handling the call ... coverage begins with the Navy lacrosse pregame show at 12:45 pm ... live video and stats links will be available at NavySports.com.
Scouting the Mountain Hawks
Sixth-year Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese has led the 18th-ranked Mountain Hawks to a 6-4 record this spring which features Patriot League wins over Army (10-6) and Holy Cross (8-5) ... Lehigh has also picked up wins over Saint Joseph's (14-1), Villanova (11-9), VMI (18-2) and Penn State (12-10) ... its losses have come at the hands of Denver (18-10), Air Force (15-10), Penn (6-4) and Massachusetts (6-4).
Similar to last year, Lehigh fields one of the nation's best defensive units, giving up just 7.80 goals per game and owning a #7 national ranking.
One of the keys to the success of the defense is reigning Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year sophomore Matt Poillon ... Poillon boasts a 59.1 save percentage which is sixth nationally and his 7.65 goals-against average is the ninth best in the country.
Additionally, All-Patriot League defenseman Ty Souders leads the way with 17 caused turnovers and 21 grounders while Mike Noone has 14 takeaways and 16 ground balls.
Newcomer Tripp Telesco has recently stepped up his production on the defensive end and was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week this past Monday.
Senior David DiMaria is pacing the Mountain Hawks with 40 points on 20 goals and 20 assists and is ranked 16th in points per game (4.00) and assists per game (2.00).
Fellow starting attackmen Dan Taylor and Dante Fantoni have contributed 27 (15-12) and 26 (16-10) points, respectively.
Senior Ryan Snyder has taken the bulk of the draws for Lehigh once again this season, winning 81 of the 153 faceoffs (52.9) and is ranked 28th nationally. He also is pacing the team in ground balls (49), averaging 4.90 per contest.
While Lehigh is ranked in the top 20 in just two categories, the Mountain Hawks fall no worse than 38th in any given stat. Averaging 10.70 saves per game, Lehigh is ranked 38th, while its 29.5 ground balls per game average is 37th.
Navy vs. Lehigh - The Series
Saturday's contest between Navy and Lehigh marks the 32nd game in a series that began in 1910 ... the Midshipmen own a commanding 28-3 series advantage.
The Mids won the first three contests before suffering their first loss in the series, a 4-3 decision in 1913 ... Navy had won 25 in a row against the Mountain Hawks until Lehigh dealt the Mids a 14-10 loss in Bethlehem in 2011. The Mountain Hawks put together their first winning streak against the Mids by tacking on a 9-4 victory over the Mids last spring.
Last year's game marked the first time Navy and Lehigh had met in Annapolis since 2008 ... the two played one another three-straight years in Bethlehem ... Saturday's game marks the fifth among the last six contested in Bethlehem.
Navy owns a 6-1 series advantage in games played in Bethlehem ... the Mids' lone loss at home was the 2011 game.
Since Navy joined the league in 2004, the Mids have scored double-figure goals in six of the 11 contests ... Navy has produced nine goals in three of the other five games during that stretch.
Navy and Lehigh have met twice in the Patriot League Tournament, 2005 and 2006, with the Mids winning both.
Colgate jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and weathered a short-lived rally by the Mids en route to dealing Navy its third straight loss. After Navy cut the lead to two at 4-2, the Mids were held scoreless for over 30 minutes while Colgate reeled on 7 consecutive goals en route to the 11-3 victory last Saturday in Baltimore at the Face-Off Classic.
It was the third time this season that Navy has experienced 20-plus minute dry spells - 51:08 vs. Bucknell, 31:02 vs. Colgate, 22:17 vs. Towson.
The game marked the second straight in which Navy played its foe at a professional sports venue ... the previous week the Mids faced Holy Cross at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.
Navy snapped its four-game streak of being held without an extra-man goal when rookie Patrick Keena found the back of the net in the second quarter ... Keena has scored 3 of the Mids' 6 man-up goals this season.
Junior attackman Sam Jones had his 11-game point-scoring streak snapped by the Raiders ... going into the game, he was the only player on the roster to have scored a point in every game this season.
Meanwhile, sophomore midfielder Gabe Voumard also had his 7-game goal-scoring streak end against Colgate.
Junior midfielder Sean Price fed Austin Heneveld for the Mids' final goal of the game ... it was Price's first collegiate assist.
Rookie T.J. Hanzsche has scored in three games for the Mids and in all three games he has been responsible for Navy's first goal of the game.
Senior defenseman Austin Miller recorded 3 caused turnovers in the loss to move into a tie with former teammate Michael Hirsch (2008-11) for second on the Mids' all-time caused turnover list. He owns 37, while teammate Pat Kiernan has registered 48 over his career.
Navy is outscoring its opponents 19-13 in the opening quarter of its 9 games this season, however, the competition has outscored the Mids, 27-19, in the final quarter.
The Mids own a 41-32 scoring advantage in the first half, but trail 48-36 in the second half (does not include the OT goal by Bucknell).
In Patriot League games, Navy has been outscored by 18 (40-22) ... Navy is struggling in the middle portion of its conference games as the opponent has outscored the Mids 22-10 in the second and third quarters combined.
Navy averaged 12.0 goals per game (48G) in its first 4 contests ... over the last 5 games, Navy is average 5.8 goals per game (29G).
Overall, the Mids are averaging 8.56 goals per game (77G) and in Patriot League contests they are averaging 5.50 goals per contest (22G) ... in nonleague contests, Navy is averaging 11.00 goals per game (55G).
In 4 of Navy's 6 losses this season, it has taken an early lead and lost.
Navy owned a 4-1 lead in the second quarter over Georgetown and lost in OT, 9-8.
The Mids held a 2-1 advantage against Bucknell and were outscored 10-0 over the last 50 minutes to lose 11-2.
Against Towson, Navy held 3-0 and 4-1 leads before succumbing, 8-7.
The Mids jumped out to a 2-1 advantage over Holy Cross early in the second quarter, but dropped a 7-5 decision.
National Leader Board
According to the latest national statistics released on Monday by the NCAA, the Mids are ranked among the top 20 in five categories.
Navy has maintained its position as the nation's leader in caused turnovers for the last 3 weeks, forcing 11.44 turnovers per game. Junior long pole Pat Kiernan is #4 nationally, averaging 2.56 takeaways per game while senior close defenseman Austin Miller is #5, causing 2.44 turnovers per game.
Navy's man-down defense has lost its mojo as of late. The Mids had not surrendered a man-down goal in 3 games and held their opponents to an 0-for-11 mark. However, Navy has given up man-down goals on 8 of its last 17 opportunites over the last 4 contests. The Mids are now ranked 12th, giving up goal on 75.6 percent (31-41) of the opportunities.
Navy is ranked 11th in ground balls per game (33.56) which is a huge improvement over 2012. The Mids were ranked 43rd in ground balls per game, averaging 27.67.
The Mids are also ranked among the top 20 in scoring defense (20th, 9.00) and faceoff win percentage (20th, 53.2).