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Russell Headlines Navy's List of 2004 Lacrosse All-Americans

5/31/2004 - Men's Lacrosse
Russell Headlines Navy's List of 2004 Lacrosse All-Americans

Sophomore goalkeeper Matt Russell garnered First-Team All-America recognition announce at halftime of the National Championship Game Monday.

BALTIMORE, Md. - Seven members of Navy's nationally-ranked lacrosse team earned All-America honors announced at halftime of Monday's Div. I NCAA Lacrosse National Championship Game between second-seeded Navy and fourth-seeded Syracuse. It marked the most Navy players named to the All-America list since 1975, the last time the Midshipmen appeared in the National Championship.

The breakdown included one first-teamer, one second-teamer, two third-teamers and three honorable mentions. Sophomore Matt Russell (Madison, Conn.) became Navy's first First-Team All-American since the 2000 campaign in which goalkeeper Mickey Jarboe garnered first-team kudos. Russell made a name for himself after being inserted into the starting lineup March 5 at North Carolina, Navy's third game of the season, and leading the Mids to 14-2 record thereafter. He is ranked No. 2 in the nation in goals-against average, giving up 103 goals in 924 minutes for a 6.69 GAA, while warding off 57.6 percent of the shots fired his direction.

Sophomore attack Ian Dingman (Deferiet, N.Y.) garnered Second-Team All-America status after leading the Mids with 62 points on 36 goals and 26 assists. His 62 points are etched in at No. 6 in the Mids' single-season scoring record book and the most by a Navy player since Mike Buzzell set the record in 1979 with 85 points. His 36 goals are tied for the 13th most in school history. Meanwhile, with two goals and two assists against Syracuse, he became just the 24th player in Academy history to score 100-career points and Navy's first true sophomore to gain 100 points. He will open the 2005 campaign ranked 21st on the Mids' all-time scoring list.

Along with Russell, junior Mitch Hendler (Reisterstown, Md.) helped spearhead Navy's top-ranked defensive unit. Hendler, who was named to the second team, was assigned the opposition's top scorer in every game this season, including First-Team All-Americans Mike Powell of Syracuse, Ryan Boyle of Princeton, Jed Prossner of North Carolina and Joe Walters of Maryland. Of the 18 games this season, Navy's defense gave up double-digit scoring just four times with three of the four coming in losses. Hendler was also named to the NCAA Lacrosse All-Tournament Team.

Senior Ben Bailey (Memphis, Tenn.) exhausted his eligibility at the top of his game by earning Third-Team All-America recognition. A four-year starter at midfield, Bailey produced four goals in Navy's four NCAA Tournament contests, including a pair against Princeton in the semifinals and one against Syracuse in the National Championship Game. In addition, he scored a trio of goals in Navy's overtime loss at home against Johns Hopkins. He finished the season with 23 points on 20 goals and three assists.

Like his midfield teammate, junior Graham Gill (Medford, N.J.) turned up the heat during NCAA Tournament action. The Honorable Mention All-American scored seven goals and added an assist during postseason play, producing a pair of goals in three of the four tourney contests. In doing so, Gill was named to the NCAA Lacrosse All-Tournament Team. He finished the season as Navy's fourth-leading scorer, the top out of the midfield, with 34 points on 24 goals and 10 assists. Gill was responsible for two very memorable game-winning goals against then No. 1-ranked Maryland and Cornell.

Navy's season was described by many as that of a Cinderella story. If that is true, then senior attack Joe Bossi (Skaneateles, N.Y.) was the star of the fairy tale. Bossi was named an Honorable Mention All-American and produced 50 points on 44 goals and six assists. He more than doubled his goal total from his first-three seasons COMBINED, and with 44 goals, he produced the third-most goals by a Navy player in a single season. To put it in perspective, only five other players in Navy's storied history have scored 40-plus goals in a season. Bossi was responsible for nine game-winning goals over the course of the season and led Navy with nine man-up goals.

The Mids' final Honorable Mention All-America selection was sophomore Steve Looney (Silver Spring, Md.). Along with Russell, Looney was named Navy's MVP for the season. If there's any question why, it's easy to explain. Looney is on the field nearly the entire game, playing on the wing of face-offs, while taking a face-off himself occasionally, playing defensive midfield and he also runs on the Mids' third offensive midfield line. He and teammate Chris Pieczonka (Hamburg, N.Y.) broke the Navy single-season record for ground balls with Pieczonka setting the record with 93 and Looney right behind with 85 for the 2004 campaign. Thought of more as a defensive player, Looney finished the season fifth on the Mids' scoring list with 24 points on 13 goals and 11 assists. He scored a career-high three goals against Hobart in the regular season and came back to score a pair against the Statesmen in the Patriot League Championship, including the game winner, and was named the MVP of the league's postseason tourney. Looney is Navy's first non-offensive midfielder to gain All-America status.

G-o N-a-v-y



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