Navy edges Towson to end 5-game skid Mids' zone defense stymies No. 14 Tigers, 9-8

April 14, 1996|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

It was cause for celebration. The sticks were airborne over Dewey Field in Annapolis yesterday as Navy ended a five-game losing streak with a 9-8 victory over 14th-ranked Towson State.

Navy, which hadn't won in more than a month, was going to savor this moment before thinking about Friday's game with Johns Hopkins.

"I feel good for our players because they've been going through some tough times," said Navy coach Richie Meade. "They deserve to enjoy this and I'm happy that they finally got a reward for all of their hard work."

The Mids (4-6) scored four unanswered goals in the second quarter for a 6-1 lead at the half.

Sophomore midfielder Mike Newton led Navy with three goals, and senior attackman Geoff Walker opened and closed the scoring, getting the unassisted game-winner with 10: 31 remaining.

Goalie Garrett Luebker had 13 saves, but it was the heads-up play of senior defenseman Brian Hay that gave Navy the lead.

Hay made passing an adventure for the Tigers. The future Marine from Garden City, N.Y., was all over the field, intercepting passes, setting up goals and ultimately keeping the Mids' thin playoff hopes alive.

"Brian gives that kind of effort every game, but when you lose, nobody sees it," said Meade. "Physically he's not the biggest guy or the fastest guy, but he's a tough guy, a great captain and a great leader."

Towson State's scoring leader, Matt Clune, was held to two assists. The only Tiger able to exploit the Navy's zone defense was Kevin Sturm. He was impressed with it, despite scoring a game-high six goals.

"Navy did a real good job on their zone play. They just shut us down," said Sturm.

"They really packed it in tight, and every time we moved the ball around, they were right there in our face."

Towson State (3-4) looked as if it might pull off a come-from-behind victory (16-13) as it had last week against Delaware. The Tigers scored three straight goals and pulled to within one when Todd Paradise (Fallston) fed Mason Ray (Dulaney) with 3: 40 left in the third quarter.

Navy attackman J. L. Reppert, a plebe from Loyola High, returned the margin to two with 13 seconds left in the third.

Sturm put the Tigers to within a goal twice in the fourth quarter and might have tied it if Navy junior Chris Messineo hadn't stepped in the way of one of Sturm's fastballs.

"We feel for the seniors, and this was their last game on Turf Field, so we felt we owed it to them to give them a victory," said Reppert. "We're pretty young, and it's taken us a while to gel, but we're finally getting it together."

Navy needs to win its last two games against Hopkins and rival Army to stay in the playoff hunt .

"Navy played a good, hard ballgame and they deserve to win," said Towson State coach Carl Runk.

"We made a lot of mistakes, and we didn't hustle. We just didn't play well."

Towson State .. 1 .. 1 .. 4 .. 2 .. -- .. 8

Navy .......... 2 .. 4 .. 2 .. 1 .. -- .. 9

Pub Date: 4/14/96

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