Navy beats Penn in OT, 13-12

March 13, 1994|By Bill Tanton | Bill Tanton,Sun Staff Writer

Navy and Pennsylvania staged a lacrosse thriller at the Naval Academy's Turf Field yesterday that was like two different games.

Navy sparkled in the first half, while Penn played poorly. The Midshipmen led 9-4 at intermission and looked as if they were in control.

But coach G. W. Mix's Quakers came roaring back, outscored Navy 8-3 in the second half to make it 12-12 and force sudden-death overtime.

Two minutes, 55 seconds into overtime, after each team had had chances to win, Navy junior Matt Long scored from 12 yards out for the 13-12 victory.

Seconds before Long's game-winner, Penn had a fast break anthrew the ball away. Then Navy (3-1) got a fast break and plebe John Hanna (Broadneck) passed to Long, and Long (Severn) fired it past Penn goalie Steve Bassford (Boys' Latin).

Long, who said he has been called Spike since "before I was born," was one of two Navy players who scored three goals. The other was Charles Bertrand.

Only four Penn players scored, but each had three goals -- Andy Crofton, Vern Briggs, Andy Rodriguez and Paul Duncan.

"We had to win this game if we wanted the season to go where we wanted it to go," Long said. "If John Hanna hadn't seen me open when he did, I don't know what might have happened."

Navy has beaten Air Force and Washington College and lost to Virginia.

"You have to give Penn a lot of credit for the way they came back," said Navy coach Bryan Matthews.

"We played like a good team in the first half, but in the second half, we were sloppy and Penn played well. Penn made it tough for us."

Mix, a graduate of Gilman and Penn, said it was the toughest loss he has experienced in four years as coach at the Philadelphia school. Mix was hardly able to talk, he was so disappointed.

"Our kids played very hard," he said softly. "It was a tremendous accomplishment for us to get where we were at the end. But Navy has a nice team. They're well coached."

Penn opened the scoring on a goal by Crofton 2:25 into the game. Rob Bailey tied it 1:13 later.

Bertrand scored two in a row to put Navy on top 3-1, but Briggs and Crofton scored to tie it at 3.

Navy got a goal from Chris Golini and then two goals within 20 seconds by Jamie Slough and Long for a 6-3 lead.

When Bertrand scored unassisted with 1:44 left in the half to give Navy a five-goal lead at the half, few in the crowd of 1,043 would have guessed what was about to happen.

Crofton scored the first goal of the second half to pull Penn to 9-5, Slough scored for Navy and then the Quakers scored twice (Crofton and Briggs) to make it 10-7 at the end of three quarters.

Penn outscored Navy 5-2 in the final period of regulation. Rodriguez, a freshman from Farmingdale, N.Y., had all three of his goals in that period. His goal on an assist from Crofton with 6:06 remaining tied the score at 12 to force overtime.

Navy plays Duke in Annapolis next Saturday. Penn plays Villanova on Wednesday night.

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