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Fennell and Connors Headline Navy’s List of Men’s Lacrosse All-League Selections

April 25, 2016

Rick Sowell was named the William Lawson Coach of the Year for a second straight year after leading the Mids to a 7-1 conference record at the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament.
Rick Sowell was named the William Lawson Coach of the Year for a second straight year after leading the Mids to a 7-1 conference record at the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament.

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. —  Six members of the seventh-ranked Navy men’s lacrosse team were named to the 2016 All-Patriot League Team announced Monday, including Chris Fennell (Jr. / Milford, N.J.) and John Connors (Sr. / Bellmore, N.Y.) who were named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year, respectively.  Five of Navy’s six all-league selections were named to the 16-player first team, while one was selected to the second team.

Additionally, Navy’s Rick Sowell was named the 2016 William Lawson Coach of the Year after leading the Midshipmen to a 7-1 record in conference play and the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament for a second consecutive year.  The 10 wins by Navy are the most since 2009 when the team last earned an NCAA Tournament berth behind an 11-5 record.  He is the first men’s lacrosse coach in league history to be voted Patriot League Coach of the Year in back-to-back seasons.  

First-Team All-Patriot League
Patrick Keena - Sr. | A | Vienna, Va. | The Landon School; 2016 First-Team All-Patriot League
Pacing Navy with 48 points on 21 goals and 27 assists, Keena is a first-time receipient of Patriot League postseason recognition.  He is the ninth different Navy attackman to garner all-league recognition and the first to be named to the league’s first team since Nick Mirabito in 2008.  Keena is ranked 31st in the country in points per game (3.69) and is 15th in assists (2.08).  His 48 points are the most by a Navy player since Jon Birsner produced 54 points in 2006.  He needs just four points to join Navy’s single-season top 20 points list.  Meanawhile, his 27 assists are the most since Birsner dealt out 36 in 2006.  Keena needs just one assist to add his name to the Mids’ single-season top 20 list.  He owns a team-best 16-game point scoring streak and has dealt out assists in 12 of the Mids’ 13 contests this season.   

A starter in 27 of the 53 games he has played in, Keena became the 32nd player in the program’s 109-year history to reach 100 career points when he dealt out a pair of assists in last Friday’s win over Sacred Heart.  With 101 points (40-61), Keena is tied for 27th on the Mids’ career scoring list and is one of just 13 players in school history who have scored 40 goals and dealt out 60 assists.  He is the first Navy player to accomplish that feat since Mirabito (96-62) in 2005-08.  Addiitonally, Keena stands 13th on Navy’s career assists list with 61.  He trails Mirabito by just one and Ian Dingman (2003-07) by two.

Casey Rees - So. | M | Sykesville, Md. | Boys’ Latin; 2016 First-Team All-Patriot League
Also a first-time All-Patriot League selection and a unanimous pick by the league’s coaches, Rees was Navy’s third-leading scorer overall and top out of the midfield.  After seeing action coming off the bench a year ago, Rees stepped into a starting role in his sophomore campaign where he has flourished.  With 27 points, he has found the back of the net on a team-high 24 occasions.  It’s the most goals scored by a Navy player since All-American Patrick Moran scored 28 in 2010.  Meanwhile, it’s tied as the 10th-most goals scored by a midfielder in program history and the most since Moran’s 28 in 2010.  He has enjoyed a remarkable Patriot League season, scoring 25 (23-2) of his 27 points (24-3) against conference opponents.  He has turned in six hat tricks this season - all against Patriot League foes.  He is the 12th different Navy midfielder to garner All-Patriot League honors and the first since 2014 when Gabe Voumard was named to the first team.

Chris Fennell - Jr. | D | Milford, N.J. | Delaware Valley; 2015-16 First-Team All-Patriot League
Matt Rees - Jr. | LSM | Sykesville, Md. | Boys’ Latin; 2016 First-Team All-Patriot League, 2015 Second-Team All-Patriot League
John Connors - Sr. | GK | Bellmore, N.Y. | Chaminade; 2016 First-Team All-Patriot League, 2015 Second-Team All-Patriot League
To talk about Navy’s defense, one must talk about it as a unit.  That’s exactly the respect the Mids received as All-American close defenseman Chris Fennell, long pole Matt Rees and goalkeeper John Connors all received first-team honors.  While they did not received recognition from the league, starting close defensemen Jules Godino and Hiram Carter, along with short-stick defensive middies John Trainor and DJ Plumer have also played their part in leading the Mids to a No. 1 ranking as the nation’s top scoring defense.  As the stingiest defense in the country, Navy has surrendered 88 goals in 13 games and is the only team in Div. I lacrosse to allow fewer than seven goals per game this year.  The Mids have held 19 of their last 27 opponents to single digits, including 9 of 13 this season.   Among those nine were one-goal performances by Delaware and Sacred Heart.  It’s the first time since 1970 that a Navy defense has held two opponents to 1 or fewer goals in the same season.  The Mids defeated the University of Baltimore, 19-0, and a week later dealt the Philadelphia Lacrosse Club a 15-1 loss.  The year before, Navy held two Div. I programs to one or fewer goals, posting an 11-0 win over Hofstra and a 23-1 victory over the University of Baltimore.  Meanwhile, 14 of their last 25 opponents have had scoring droughts of 20 minutes or more.

Fennell and Rees, who are both on the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, are atop the Mids’ list for caused turnovers this season with 21 apiece which is tied for the fifth most in school history.  They are ranked 18th nationally in takeaways per game (1.62).  Meanwhile, Fennell stands No. 2 (51) and Rees No. 3 (50) on Navy’s career caused turnovers list.  Rees, who was a Second-Team All-Pa is second on the team in ground balls with 58 and is averaging (4.46) the 28th most among Div. I players.

Fennell, who was a unanimous first-team selection this spring, joins Jordan DiNola (2008) as the only Navy players to be named the Patriot League’s Defensive Player of the Year.  He is the only player in program history to earn the award twice and the first in league history to earn it in back-to-back seasons since Army’s Bill Henderson did so in 2010 and 2011.

Connors is the third different Navy player to claim Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year honors, joining two-time winner Matt Russell (2005, ‘06) and RJ Wickham (2010).  He stands No. 1 in the country with his 6.68 goals-against average and is the only keeper under 7.00.  Connors has made 113 saves this spring and owns the nation’s ninth-best save percentage (56.2).  With his nine saves in last Friday’s win over Sacred Heart, he moved into ninth on the Mids’ career saves leader board with 386.  He needs 14 more to become only the ninth player in school history with 400 saves.  

Second-Team All-Patriot League
Brady Dove - Jr. | FO | Stevensville, Md. | Kent Island; 2016, ‘14 Second-Team All-Patriot League, 2015 First-Team All-Patriot League
Earning All-Patriot League honors for a third time in his career, Dove has set nearly every Navy record pertaining to faceoffs and ground balls.  He became the school record holder in career faceoffs (440 to date / 41 games) on March 19, following a 13 for 22 performance against Loyola in what was his 34th career game.  The record was previously held by Chris Pieczonka (2002-05) who had amassed 363 wins in 46 games.  On a 13 for 16 effort against Holy Cross just three games later, he became the first player in Navy history and only the ninth in Patriot League history to reach 400 faceoff wins.  His 440 faceoff wins stands seventh on the Patriot League’s career leader board.  Additionally, Dove set Navy’s career record for ground balls with 237.  The record was previously held by William Wallace, who amassed 222 ground balls from 2004-07.

Dove has won 137 of his 221 draws (.620) this season and stands 13th in the country in winning percentage.  He is 36 wins off the single-season record which is held by Chris Pieczonka who won 173 faceoffs during Navy’s Cinderella run in 2004.  He is the only player in program history to have his name appear three tiems on Navy’s single-season faceoff wins list (163 in 2014, 147 in 2015, 137 in 2016).  Meanwhile, his 76 ground balls this season stand seventh on the Mids’ single-season list.  He also is the only player in school history to be listed three times on the single-season ground balls list (83 in 2014, 78 in 2015, 76 in 2016).  He currently stands 15th nationally in ground balls per game, grabbing 5.85 per contest.

Dove is the fifth Navy faceoff specialist to earn All-Patriot League honors and the only Navy faceoff specialist to be honored three times by the league.

The Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Tournament kicks off on Tuesday when fourth-seeded Army West Point plays host to fifth-seeded Lehigh at 4:00 pm and third-seeded Bucknell plays host to sixth-seeded Holy Cross at 7:00 pm in quarterfinal action.  Top-seeded Navy will face Army, Lehigh or Holy Cross in Friday’s first semifinal beginning at 4:30 PM at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, while second-seeded Loyola will play Army, Lehigh or Bucknell in the second semifinal at 7:30 PM.

The winners of the two semifinals will meet on Sunday in the title game at 1:00 PM at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. All three games will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.

Tickets ($10 adults / $5 Youth) for the 2016 Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Championship may be purchased at the games or in advance by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY, logging on to, or stopping by the Navy Ticket Office located in Ricketts Hall. The Navy Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. There will also be a $5 charge to park at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

2016 Men’s Lacrosse All-Patriot League Team
Offensive Player of the Year:  Pat Spencer, Loyola (Fr., A)
Defensive Player of the Year:  Chris Fennell, Navy (Jr., D)
Goalkeeper of the Year:  John Connors, Navy (Sr.)
Faceoff Specialist of the Year:  Sam Talkow, Boston U. (Jr.)
Rookie of the Year:  Pat Spencer, Loyola (Fr., A)
William Lawson Coach of the Year:  Rick Sowell, Navy

First Team
Cole Johnson, Army West Point , Jr. / A
Reid Weber, Lehigh *, Sr. / A
Pat Spencer, Loyola *, Fr. / A
Patrick Keena, Navy, Sr. / A
Jimbo Moore, Army West Point, Sr. / M 
Cal Dearth, Boston U., Jr. / M
Brian Sherlock, Loyola *, Jr. / M
Casey Rees, Navy *, So. / M
Austin Schultz, Army West Point *, Sr. / D
Tripp Telesco, Lehigh, Sr.  / D
Foster Huggins, Loyola, So. / D
Chris Fennell, Navy *, Jr. / D
Dan Grabher, Army West Point, Jr. / FO
Sam Talkow, Boston U., Jr. / FO
Matt Rees, Navy, Jr. / LSM
John Connors, Navy, Sr. / GK

Second Team
Nate Jones, Army West Point, Fr. / A
Will Sands, Bucknell, So. / A
Zach Herreweyers, Loyola, Sr. / A
Thomas Flibotte, Bucknell, Sr. / M
Marc Buermann, Holy Cross, Jr. / M
Billy Oppenheimer, Lehigh , Sr. / M
Romar Dennis, Loyola, Jr. / M
Greg Wozniak, Boston U., Jr. / D
Matt Gilray, Bucknell, So. / D
David Manning, Loyola, RS-Sr. / D
Brady Dove, Navy, Jr. / FO
Alex Spring, Bucknell, Sr. / LSM (spec)
AJ Barretto, Army West Point, Fr. / GK
Christian Klipstein, Bucknell, Fr. / GK

* unanimous selection



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