Water Polo Defeats Nationally-Ranked St. Francis, 14-9
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Behind hat-tricks from senior attacker Sean McDonald (Lansdale, Pa.) and junior attacker Thomas Patterson (Orange, Calif.), Navy (10-14) took down No. 13 St. Francis (13-9), 14-9, on Saturday. The Mids delivered the Terriers just their second loss to an unranked opponent this season.
"This is what I had been looking for!" Navy Interim head coach Mladen Stanicic said with excitement. "We had glimpses of this team's capabilities all along, but it was finally consistent today."
This was the eighth time in 24 contests that Navy held an opponent under 10 goals. The defense was led by goalkeeper Garrett Sabesky (So., Riverside, Calif.), who tallied 10 saves on 19 chances. The Mids defense recorded nine steals with Jack Finch (Jr., San Mateo, Calif.) tallying a team-best three thefts.
"Our defense was quite good for the entire 32 minutes and the resulting counter-attack produced some points," said Coach Stanicic. "We need to continue to build on this, both in tactical sense, but also as a positive momentum."
Both teams played an even first half, as Navy held a slight 7-6 advantage through the first 16 minutes of play.
The Mids had the half's largest lead of two, 4-2, through the first five minutes of the contest. Navy spread the offensive success, as it tallied four different scorers to grab the early lead.
St. Francis battled back, tying the game twice with 5:07 left in the second (5-5) and 3:14 left (6-6). The Terriers used a balance attack, using five different scorers throughout their first six goals.
With a one goal lead of 7-6 at the halftime break, Navy used a 5-0 run in the third period to put itself in the driver's seat with a 12-6 advantage. Patterson sparked the run with his third goal of the contest with 5:07 remaining in the third period.
As the Mids finished off their 7-0 run to extend the lead to seven, 14-6, St. Francis looked to retaliate. The Terriers went on a 3-0 run of their own in a two-minute span, but Navy's defense locked down to win its 10th game of the season.
Navy will look to carry this momentum into next weekend when it faces Mercyhurst on Friday and George Washington/Johns Hopkins on Saturday.