Navy’s Varello and Kern Earn Patriot League Lacrosse Recognition
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Navy lacrosse players Joe Varello (Sr / Kings Park, N.Y.) and Ryan Kern (So. / Middletown, Del.) were named the Patriot League Faceoff Specialist of the Week and Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week, respectively, after guiding Navy to a 9-8 Star Game victory over archrival Army on Saturday and securing at least a share of the Patriot League regular-season crown for the third time in the last four years. In addition to the Navy tandem, Loyola’s Pat Spencer (offense), Foster Huggins (defense) and Aidan Olmstead (rookie) were among those players recognized by the league office on Monday as Patriot League Players of the Week at their respective positions.
Earning his fourth faceoff specialist of the week citation (2.12, 2.26, 3.5, 4.16) this season, Varello won 12 of the 20 draws against Army’s John Ragno, including 6 of 9 in the second half. One of Varello’s most important faceoff wins of the day came with under seven seconds to go in the opening half. After Army’s Matthew Donovan gave the Black Knights a 5-4 lead with 6.8 seconds remaining in the half, Varello won the ensuing faceoff and found long-stick midfielder Jeff Durden (Cumming, Ga.) open for the game-tying buzzer beater.
Behind his 12-for-20 effort, Varello moved into the top 10 (ninth) on Navy’s single-season faceoff wins leader board with 133, while holding steady and #6 on the career list with 222. Additionally, he paced the team with seven ground balls, as he moved into a tie for 15th on the Mids’ all-time single-season ground balls list with 65.
A year after earning USILA National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Army in the 2017 Star Game, Kern once again put a solid effort together to lead the Mids to their fourth straight victory in the Star Game. Kern recorded nine saves, including seven in the second half. After Army closed to within one (9-8) at the 6:19 mark, the Black Knights fired off seven shots to just one by Navy. Among those seven shots, Kern would face a flurry of three shots in the final 13 seconds. Conor Glancy’s shot steered wide at 0:13, while Kern warded off Sean O’Brien’s shot before it caromed off his stick with 0:04 left and Austin Colvin’s narrowly missed as his shot sailed just wide of the right post as time expired.
This is the second time Kern has been honored by the Patriot League this season. He also earned conference accolades following his 18-save performance against Lehigh on March 24.
The Midshipmen (8-4, 7-1 Patriot League) will step out of conference to play their regular-season finale next weekend when they travel to Syracuse (7-4, 4-0 AAC) to play the Orange. Meeting for the first time since the 2004 NCAA Championship Game, the two teams will face off at The Dome beginning at 2:00 pm. ACC Network Extra will live stream the contest, while Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller will have the call on 1430 AM / 99.9 FM WNAV.
### Go Navy ###