Navy Defeats Lehigh to Finish Patriot League Play Undefeated
April 21, 2012
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The 2012 Patriot League Regular Season champion Navy women's lacrosse team (15-2, 6-0 PL) opened the game on an 8-0 run on its way to beating Lehigh (7-9, 2-4 PL), 14-4, at Ulrich Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Navy concludes Patriot League play with a perfect 6-0 record, becoming the first team to go undefeated in conference play since Holy Cross in 2007.
"It's a huge step for the program," head coach Cindy Timchal said of the undefeated conference season and No. 1 seed. "We wanted to bring the tournament to Annapolis and we are proud of that. However, we still have more work to do and there are more things to be accomplished this season."
Navy has won 15 of its last 16 games and at 15-2, the two-time defending league tournament champions are off to their best start in program history.
The Mids scored the game's first eight goals and held a 9-1 advantage at halftime. The Mids led in shots (38-11), ground balls (12-5) and draw controls (14-7) and were a perfect 13-of-13 on clear attempts.
"We wanted to come out strong today and show that we can be a tough team on the road," Timchal said. "We executed well on the offensive end today, we played tough defensively and draw controls were critical, especially early."
Navy led in first-half draw controls, 10-2.
Junior attacker Jasmine DePompeo (Sayville, N.Y.) scored on a free-position goal 1:11 into the game and freshman midfielder Jess Fellows (Vienna, Va.) scored an unassisted strike 1:35 later as Navy jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.
Sophomore attacker Aimee Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.) next scored at 21:43, followed by a goal from sophomore midfielder Jill Coughlin (Annapolis, Md.) off an assist from DePompeo. DePompeo then assisted on freshman attacker Loren Generi's first goal of the game before adding another goal of her own.
Senior Danielle Vivonetto (Rocky Point, N.Y.) then scored back-to-back goals, with the second from DePompeo as Navy took its 8-0 lead. Lehigh scored its first goal with just 32 seconds remaining in the first half and the Mids responded right back as junior midfielder Kathy Young (Berwyn, Pa.) scored with two seconds to go before halftime as Navy led, 9-1.
Young got her second of the game just 58 seconds in the second and Fellows sandwiched two goals around junior midfielder Beth Young's (Berwyn, Pa.) tally as Navy led 13-1 with 20 minutes remaining.
Navy's offense slowed considerably in the final 20 minutes, as Lehigh outscored the Mids, 3-1, with Generi netting Navy's last strike as the Mids posted the 14-4 win.
DePompeo scored a game-high six points on two goals and four assists, her team-leading seventh five-point game of the season and the 18th of her career. DePompeo now has 192 career points, which is tied for second place on Navy's career scoring chart with 2011 graduate Caitlin Mandrin Hill. Additionally, DePompeo's 41 assists this season are one shy of her own school record of 42, which she set last season.
Generi finished with two goals, three draw controls, three ground balls and a caused turnover. Generi's first goal was credited as the game-winner and her five this season are a school record. Generi also now has 99 draw controls, just three shy of the Navy record.
Fellows notched a hat trick for Navy, her fifth of the year, to go along with two ground balls, one draw control and one caused turnover.
The Young twins each had solid all-around games. Beth had a goal, a ground ball, three draw controls and a caused turnover and sister Kathy had two goals, four draw controls, one ground ball and one caused turnover.
Junior goalie Michelle Verbeeck (Wading River, N.Y.) was victorious in her third straight start. Verbeeck made three saves and allowed just three goals in 52 minutes of play and is now 5-0 on the season. Verbeeck leads the Patriot League with a 7.12 goals-against average and a .500 save percentage.
Senior team captain and defender Kierstin King (Upperco, Md.) had one ground ball, one draw control and one caused turnover. King made her 68th career start, moving into a tie for first place in the Navy record book with 2011 graduate Katrina Nietsch.
Verbeeck and King aided a Navy defense that held its 12th opponent of the season to nine goals or fewer and its third in a row. It was the third time that Navy held its opponent to four goals, its season low. Navy entered the week ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense and the team is now giving up just 7.88 goals per game.
Not only did Navy finish league play at 6-0, the Mids outscored their conference opponents, 98-45, for an average score of 14.23-7.50.
Lehigh was led by Carli Sukonik's three goals, but the perennial contenders will miss the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2006.
The all-time series between Navy and Lehigh is now even at 4-4, with Navy earning its first regular season victory over the Mountain Hawks. Navy is 3-0 against Lehigh in Patriot League postseason play but had yet to win in the regular season.
No. 1 Navy will host No. 4 American (3-3) in the Patriot League Semifinals on Friday at 5:00 PM followed by No. 2 Colgate and No. 3 Holy Cross at 7:45 PM. The championship game will be Sunday at 12 noon. Navy will host the entire tournament. Navy defeated American, 19-6, in the regular season.