M&T Bank Stadium Plays Host to Army-Navy Lax on Saturday
April 9, 2009
Bragging rights will be on the line this Saturday when 13th-ranked Navy (8-3, 3-2 Patriot League) battles arch rival Army (5-6, 1-3 PL) in the opening game of the Smartlink Day of Rivals ... the 87th edition of the Army-Navy game is slated for an 11:30 am faceoff at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Inside Lacrosse has taken the two most storied rivalries in college lacrosse and paired them up for a spectacular event ... the Army-Navy game will be followed by the 105th playing of the Johns Hopkins-Maryland contest (2:00 pm) ... it's the first time the Star Game will be played on neutral ground.
Tickets for the event may be purchased by calling 410-261-RAVE or by logging on to www.insidelacrosse.com(.)
Senior Bruce Nechanicky led Navy with three goals and an assist, while classmates Tommy Phelan and Andy Tormey anchored a defensive effort that held Maryland to a season-low four goals as the Mids earned a 10-4 victory over No. 8 Maryland last Friday night in front of 15,109 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium ... the six-goal win was the largest margin of victory by Navy over the Terps since 1992 when the Midshipmen earned an 11-3 win ... meanwhile, the last time Navy scored double digits against Maryland was in 1995 when the Terps defeated the Mids, 19-11.
Army is struggling to get out of a funk that has seen it drop each of its last three games, including back-to-back contests against Patriot League foes Colgate and Bucknell ... the Bison scored five straight goals to end the first half and open the second en route to capturing an 8-6 win over the Black Knights at West Point last weekend.
Saturday's game will be televised by ESPNU with Rob Simmelkjaer (play by play), former Virginia All-American Matt Ward (analyst) and former Army head coach Jack Emmer (analyst) calling the action ... Melissa Knowles will patrol the sidelines for added commentary.
Additionally, the contest will be broadcast over the radio waves by (WNAV 1430 AM, WFED 1050 AM) with Pete Medhurst handling the call, beginning with the Navy lacrosse pregame show at 11:00 am ... in addition, the game will be streamed online (audio only) with live stats available at NavySports.com.
Army, who owns a 5-6 record under fourth-year head coach Joe Alberici, has experienced some of the same woes as Navy this season when it comes to tight games ... four of Army's six losses have been by one point with three of the four going into extra minutes.
The Black Knights have lost four of their last five games, including three in a row.
They are fighting to keep their Patriot League Tournament hopes alive ... at 1-3, Army is in a must-win situation to stay in contention for one of the two final spots available in the tournament at the end of April.
Sophomore keeper Tom Palesky has stepped in nicely this season where he owns an 8.28 goals-against average to go along with a 62.3 save percentage, the nation's sixth-best average ... as a team, Army is ranked third in the country, averaging 13.91 saves per game.
The attack combination of Jason Peyer and Jeremy Boltus has paid dividends for Army ... Peyer has scored a team-high 26 goals and added 12 assists for 38 points, while Boltus is second on the team with 36 points on 20 goals and a team-best 16 helpers ... Peyer is ranked 15th in goals per game (2.36) and 18th in points per game (3.45).
Senior Sean Reppard mans the faceoff load, winning 94 of the 204 draws (.461) he has taken ... he leads the team with 35 ground balls.
Army's man down defense is ranked 56th out of 59 teams in Div. I lax ... the Black Knights are stopping just 46.2 percent of the extra-man opportunities.
Army vs. Navy -- The Series
Saturday's contest marks the 87th edition of Army vs. Navy on the lacrosse field and the 77th consecutive year the two programs have battled one another ... it's the longest continuous lacrosse series between Navy and another team.
Navy owns a commanding 55-27-3 series advantage that included 13-straight wins by the Midshipmen between 1998 and 2007 ... the Mids have won 13 of the last 14 contests in the series.
The Mids also own a 51-27-3 advantage in Star Games, winning 10 of the last 11.
Saturday's contest marks just the second time Army and Navy have met on neutral ground (2006 Patriot League Tournament in Hamilton, N.Y.), however it is the first time the Star Game has been played away from either the Army or Navy stadiums.
The MIds defeated Army, 8-5, in the championship game of the Patriot League Tournament in 2006, the only neutral site contest between the two programs.
Since joining the Patriot League in 2004, Navy has faced Army twice in a season three times ... there have been only five times in the 87-game history (dating back to 1924) that the two programs have battled twice in one season (1978 and 1981 in the NCAA Tournament, 2005, 2006 and 2007 in the Patriot League Tournament).
Prior to last year's loss, Navy had scored eight or more goals in 18-straight games against Army.
The Last Time
Sixth-ranked Navy saw its 13-game winning streak over Army come to an end, as the No. 17 Black Knights upset the Mids on senior day at Michie Stadium by a 9-6 margin. Army jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and never trailed despite Navy knotting the game up at 3-3 early in the second period.
Senior attack Justin Bokmeyer put the Black Knights on the board just 55 seconds into the game when keeper Adam Fullerton stuffed a Joe Lennon shot and sent an outlet pass up the middle to Mike Hanna. Hanna charged down the field and found Bokmeyer anchored on the left side of the field for the goal. Less than two minutes later, junior middie Kevin LoRusso bounced a shot past Navy keeper Tommy Phelan to push the lead to two. By the 7:51 mark, the Black Knights held a 3-0 lead thanks to an Alex Rhoads unassisted tally.
The Mids, who took just two shots in the first 10 minutes of action, finally got on the board when Phelan made a stop in goal, sending the outlet to the 50-yard line where long stick defensive midfielder Zack Schroeder awaited the pass. Schroeder sprinted straight up the middle where he stuck in his first collegiate goal with 2:08 remaining. Thirty-six seconds later, the Mids closed to within one as senior Nick Mirabito, fed attack Tim Paul for an extra-man goal off a 10-yarder up the middle.
Navy made it three ina row when Paul tacked on his second goal of the game, shooting at Fullerton's ankles less than two minutes into the second quarter to tie the game at three apiece.
Army scored the remaining two goals of the second quarter, both by junior attack jason Peyer, to take a 5-3 lead into the half.
The Mids closed the gap to one just over a minute into the second half when Mirabito found midfielder Basil Daratsos slicing down the middle who was able to get off his shot before suffering a hard shot by an Army defenseman. But that would be it for Navy in the third quarter, as four of its remaining seven shots were stopped by Fullerton.
Army, meanwhile, built a four-goal cushion by the end of the quarter and by then had the game well within hand.
As a whole, neutral site games have been rare during the 102-year history at the Naval Academy ... just 18 games have been played on neutral ground.
That said, during head coach Richie Meade's tenure, 15 games have been played at a neutral site, including three (Cornell, Holy Cross, Colgate-PL Tourney) last season.
Navy owns an 11-7 overall record in neutral site matches, including a 10-5 mark under Meade.
Over the last five seasons Richie Meade's Midshipmen have become accustomed to playing at least one neutral site regular-season game ... in 2004 Navy played Colgate in Orlando, in 2005, Navy opened the season against Providence by playing at Branford High School in Connecticut and later played Colgate in Orlando ... in 2006, Navy and Bucknell battled one another in San Diego at the First 4 Invitational ... in 2007, Navy faced Holy Cross in Texas ... this season, the Mids dropped a heartbreaker to Cornell in overtime in Long Island on Feb. 23 before taking down Holy Cross, 16-3, at Texas Stadium on March 15 as part of the eight-team, four-game Ford Patriot Cup ... the Mids were tripped up by unranked Colgate, 9-12, in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament on April 25.
Patriot League Success
Since joining the Patriot League in 2004, Navy is 39-6 (.867) against opponents from the conference, including an 8-1 mark in the Patriot League Tournament.
The Mids have lost regular-season contests to Bucknell in `05 and `09, Colgate in `06 and `09 and Army in `08, while dropping the program's first Patriot League Tournament contest last year in the semifinals against eventual champion Colgate ... all five losses were in games played either at the opponent's field or at a neutral site.
The Mids own a 20-1 record at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium against Patriot League competition since joining the conference ... the Mids are 14-1 during the regular season, dropping a 10-9 decision to Colgate earlier this spring, and 6-0 in the conference tournament.
The Mids have produced undefeated marks in conference action twice, 7-0 in 2004 and 6-0 in `07.
Navy has won at least a share of the Patriot League regular-season title in each of its first five years as a member of the league.
Additionally, the Mids have claimed the league's tournament crown four times (2004-05-06-07).
28 different Mids have garnered All-Patriot League recognition, while 16 of the 28 have earned honors multiple times.
Last year, three-time All-American Jordan DiNola was selected as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year ... though Navy has fielded the nation's top-ranked scoring defense four times since joining the league, DiNola is the first Midshipman who has been named the league's top defensive player.
Richie Meade was named the 2004 Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading the Mids to a flawless 7-0 mark in league competition ... he received the award a second time after guiding Navy to a 6-0 record in 2007.
National Leader Board
According to the latest national statistics released on Monday by the NCAA, the Mids are among the top 10 in four categories and among the top 20 in six categories.
Navy's man-down defense has surrendered just four goals this season on 30 attempts and is ranked No. 1 in the country, stopping 86.7 percent of the extra-man opportunities.
After holding Maryland to a season-low four goals, the Mids' scoring defense improve one spot in the rankings where it has nestled in at No. 3, giving up 6.73 goals per game.
Navy (9/1) and Syracuse (1/4) are the only two teams in the country whose extra-man and man-down units are ranked among the top nine ... it's the third straight year Navy has put both units in the top 11.
Second-line midfielder Brian Striffler owns the team's longest active point-scoring streak having produced a goal or an assist in each of the last seven contests.
Junior middie Patrick Moran had his 10-game goal-scoring streak snapped by Maryland.
Along with Moran, attackmen Brendan Connors and Tim Paul have added points in 10 of the 11 games ... Paul was held without a point against Mount St. Mary's (3-3) and Connors was stymied by Holy Cross (3-14).
Five different Navy players have produced hat tricks this season, including one in each of the last two contests ... Brendan Connors turned in a career-high three goals against Georgetown, while Bruce Nechanicky matched his career high with three goals in the win over Maryland (4-3).
Patrick Moran and Evan Sullivan are responsible for a combined nine of the Mids' 12 extra-man goals this season.
Junior midfielder Evan Sullivan has produced eight points (5-3) this season with seven of those eight (4-3) having been recorded during extra-man opportunities.
Tim Paul has scored multiple points in 23 contests during his three-year career at Navy, however, the Bucknell game (2-28) marked the first time the multiple points didn't come from the goals column ... he scored one goal and added a pair of assists ... the other 22 games he has had multiple points, he has also scored multiple goals.
With its come-from-behind win at Holy Cross (3-14), Navy managed to snap a 65-game losing streak when trailing after three quarters of play.
Navy has outscored its opponents by a narrow 45-40 margin in the first half, but comes out a much different team in the second where it owns a 60-34 advantage.
Senior Tommy Phelan has put together back-to-back career-high save days over the last two weeks ... he stopped 15 shots against Georgetown and turned away 16 shots against Maryland ... it was the best save day by a Navy player against Maryland since Mickey Jarboe made 17 saves in 1999 ... meanwhile, it's the most saves by a Navy player overall since Seth DiNola stopped 21 shots by Penn State.
Navy improved to an amazing 47-1 when holding its opponents to six or fewer goals since 2004.
Navy owns a 39-2 record when scoring 10 or more goals since 2004, including a 5-0 mark this season.
The Mids have won 13 in a row when leading at the half, including a 5-0 mark this season ... Navy has won 15 straight when leading after three quarters, including a 7-0 mark this spring.