ANNAPOLIS, Md.. -- The Navy men's soccer team jumped out to a 3-1 halftime lead, then coasted in the second half for a 4-2 victory over Lafayette in front of 674 fans at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility on Saturday night.
The victory was Navy's third in a row and moves the Midshipmen's record to 4-2-1 overall and 1-0-0 in the Patriot League. Lafayette falls to 2-5-1 overall and 0-1-0 in the league standings.
The story of the game was the big performance by Navy sophomore Joseph Greenspan. Greenspan tallied Navy's first two goals of the game, then secured Navy's first hat trick since 2007 (Doug DeVuono vs. Florida Gulf Coast) with a penalty-kick goal early in the second half for a three-goal, six-point effort. The three goals are a Glenn Warner Soccer Facility record on the men's side.
"We are hoping to be able to be dangerous enough to strike from anywhere and for Joe to pick us up tonight is great to see," said Navy head coach Dave Brandt. "Joe's goals were coming. It was just a matter of time and he took advantage tonight."
Navy has now scored 11 goals in the last three games after scoring just three goals in the season's first four games. In the first half of Navy's last two games at GWSF, the Midshipmen have scored eight goals (five vs. Richmond; three vs. Lafayette).
"It's obviously always good to score goals. I think guys are getting their timing back and starting to find their rhythm and starting to play well," said Brandt. "We want to be dangerous all over the field and score in a lot of ways and we are starting to do that."
Navy wasted little time getting on the board as Greenspan tallied his first goal of the night. Junior Alex Wilson (Phoenix, Ariz.) had a fantastic effort on the endline, outworking a Lafayette defender for the ball. Wilson then slipped a pass to Greenspan, who slid the shot past the keeper inside the left post for a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute. The assist was Wilson's fourth of the season.
Nineteen minutes later, Greenspan took a perfect cross from the right sideline by Patrick Sopko (Gloucester, Va.) and headed it from the middle of the box inside the left post for a 2-0 Navy lead.
After Lafayette scored in the 41st minute, Navy freshman Derek Vogel (Long Beach, Calif.) tallied a big goal right before halftime in the 43rd minute for his second goal of the season, coming in back-to-back games. Vogel took a perfect corner kick from Thomas Shiiba (Swarthmore, Pa.), streaked in and chipped a shot into the left corner for a 3-1 lead right before intermission.
Greenspan closed out his hat trick after drawing a foul in the box and receiving a penalty kick in the 47th minute. Greenspan easily shot over the Lafayette keeper to the right corner for a 4-1 Navy cushion early in the second half.
Lafayette would cut the lead to 4-2 in the 82nd minute, but could get no closer and Navy is now 3-0-1 under head coach Brandt in Patriot League openers.
The win snapped a 10-game winless streak against the Leopards, which was tied for the longest-active winless streak against one opponent. In addition, Navy's four goals were the most against the Leopards since scoring six goals in the 1937 meeting. Lastly, Navy's four goals were the most in a Patriot League game since scoring four goals against Army on Oct. 28, 2005.
Lafayette outshot Navy, 16-10, including 11-5 in the second half and drew eight corner kicks to Navy's four. There were 32 combined fouls called and seven yellow cards were doled out. Gavin Snyder (Jr. / Severna Park, Md.) tied a career high with five saves in goal.
Navy will travel to Pittsburgh, which is 6-1-2 on the season, for a Tuesday night tilt beginning at 7:00 PM. The Mids will then head to Chester, Pa., and PPL Park to face Army in the first Army-Navy Cup on Sunday, Sept. 30, beginning at 2:00 PM. For tickets, call 1-800-298-4200.