ANNAPOLIS -- Two games, two blowouts and already the Navy lacrosse team is in trouble.
"I didn't like anything about the way we played today," Navy coach Bryan Matthews said yesterday after Rutgers coasted to a 13-6 victory over the Midshipmen on the Naval Academy's artificial turf field.
Navy (0-2) was trounced, 14-7, by No. 3 Virginia last Sunday, but had a right to expect a better fate yesterday against a Rutgers team that was beaten, 17-9, by No. 1 Loyola last Saturday.
It never happened, as the Scarlet Knights (1-1) controlled the ball most of the afternoon and built a 9-2 lead by the end of the third quarter before Navy rallied.
The Midshipmen scored three straight goals in the first 2 minutes, 30 seconds of the fourth quarter to reduce the lead to 9-5 and stir hopes for a big comeback.
But Rutgers senior attackman Steve Luciano brought Navy back to earth when he waltzed in on goalkeeper Kevin Farrington and scored from point-blank range at 3:58 of the final quarter.
Luciano (three goals, two assists) led Rutgers, and John Quinn (four goals, one assist) was virtually a one-man show for Navy.
A little more than two minutes after Luciano's goal, Navy's Farrington got called for a three-minute penalty after he bumped into referee Ted Scocos while leaving the field to get a new stick.
The penalty against Farrington led to an extra-man goal by Rutgers freshman attackman Matt Cameron at 8:21 of the fourth quarter to make the score 11-5.
Scocos told the Rutgers bench, "I think he [Farrington] ran into me on purpose."
Moments before the three-minute penalty, Scocos had called illegal procedure on Farrington for playing with a broken stick.
That prompted Farrington to toss his stick across the field. Scocos told Farrington to go pick up the stick, and it was after Farrington picked up the stick that he collided with Scocos as the two were heading toward the sidelines.
"That three-minute penalty call hurt Navy's chances a lot," said Rutgers coach Tom Hayes. "There is no quit in a Navy team, but that made it nearly impossible for them to come back."
Hayes said yesterday's victory will "give us confidence for Johns Hopkins next week. We're going to need it."