Navy takes its best shot, but Brown scores, 12-5

May 15, 1994|By Dick Lee | Dick Lee,Special to the Sun

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Navy pushed Brown around with its physical play early on, but the Midshipmen couldn't overcome the scoring touch of a former Baltimore high school star and the play of Brown's goalie and lost, 12-5, in their opening-round NCAA Division I lacrosse playoff game yesterday.

Brown forward David Evans, from Loyola High, scored five goals and had one assist, and goalie Jay Stalfort made 24 saves to frustrate the Midshipmen, who outshot the Bears 48-34 and led them in ground balls 55-53.

With the victory, Brown (12-4) advanced to a quarterfinal game at Loyola on Saturday. Navy ended its season with a 7-6 record.

Brown pulled away from a 2-2 tie with eight goals in a span starting 5:34 into the second quarter to 14:10 of the third quarter. Brown, which trailed, 2-1, at the quarter, led 5-2 at the half and 10-2 after three quarters.

"It's a little frustrating because we out-ground-balled them and we outshot them. And that will usually win it for you," Navy coach Bryan Matthews said. You've got to beat the goalie. And Stalfort was just too tough today.

"I have to congratulate Brown. They were the better team today, and they deserved to win."

After Navy had dominated the first 14 minutes of the quarter, including Rich Costello's goal five minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead, Evans started Brown's turnaround when he scored at 14:09 after intercepting a clearing pass 35 yards out. Evans started in alone on Navy goalie Garrett Luebker (13 saves), but when Luebker came out to confront him, the Brown sophomore bounced the ball into the goal from 25 yards away.

Brown controlled the faceoff and, 26 seconds later, Jeff Iserson scored for a 2-1 lead at the quarter.

Navy again dominated early in the second quarter, forcing Stalfort to come up with two saves. Jamie Slough, the Mids' All-America attack, tied the score in the fifth minute when he raced through the defense and shot from in close.

Brown started to take control and Jeff Iserson put the Bears ahead for keeps, 3-2, on a man-up goal at 5:34. Evans then gave Brown the momentum and its 5-2 halftime lead with goals at 12:10, on a back-handed shot, and at 13:53 on a textbook cut-and-pass play from Rob Gutheil.

When Iserson made it 6-2 only 41 seconds into the third quarter, the momentum shifted to Brown.

Navy closed to 10-4 on goals by Slough 1:52 into the last quarter, and Bob Bailey, with a man up, at 7:14 of the finale. But Brown's Robin Prince scored two in a row for a 12-4 lead with 4:22 to play.

"There's no question that the quick goals just before halftime had some of our kids doubting," Matthews said. "But we're resilient, and when we're out-shooting our opponents we're not intimidated.

"But give Stalfort credit. He had our players second-guessing our shots." Slough said. "We didn't know what to expect [of the goalie]. We had seen him once on tape. But you can't do anything when the goalie plays that well. And he played exceptionally well today."

Evans, whose father, Chip, is the equipment manager at Loyola, credited the victory -- Brown's 12th in a row after four opening losses -- to the team's playing as a unit.

"The team functioned as a team should; when we needed to make another pass to make something work, we made it," Evans said.

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