Navy comes up short against No. 7 Duke, 7-6 Mids hold own on faceoffs, prevent run-and-gun game

March 16, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Navy goalkeeper Mickey Jarboe jumped around the goal after each daring save. The Navy defense matched Duke's athleticism with rugged man-to-man defense and well-timed slides.

But two lapses ruined the bid for a major upset, wasting the best defensive effort in years by the Midshipmen and denying them the type of quality win they desperately need for an NCAA tournament berth.

On both of those breakdowns, Jared Frood found T. J. Durnan wide-open on the crease late in the fourth quarter as No. 7 Duke escaped with a 7-6 win over No. 15 Navy before 1,066 at Rip Miller Field yesterday. The Blue Devils (4-1) have won four consecutive games.

"I told the guys I couldn't ask them to play better than they played defensively; I really couldn't," Navy coach Richie Meade said. "We kind of showed that we have the ability to play pretty well when we work hard. We should've gone over the hump today. We just didn't get that extra oomph that we needed to get to pull off a game like this.

"It isn't one of those games where you feel horrible. You just feel really disappointed when you play so well. You put so much into this that you hope for your kids that sometime you get something back for all the hard work."

And the game went according to Navy's game plan.

The Mids (3-2) didn't want the Blue Devils to dominate faceoffs, and Navy held its own by winning eight of 17. The Mids didn't want to get in a run-and-gun game with Duke, and Navy held the Blue Devils to a season-low seven goals while being outshot only 43-41.

Navy appeared to be in control late in the third quarter when a crowd of Midshipmen stripped the ball from Frood, who tried to drive through two double teams. Navy immediately pushed the ball in the other direction and went ahead 5-4 when Jamie O'Leary scored with nine seconds left.

"Coach got on me a little bit," Frood said. "I kind of took it personally to do something in the fourth quarter."

Frood assisted on all three of the Blue Devils' fourth-quarter goals. He connected with John Fay on an extra-man opportunity midway through the quarter to tie the game at 5.

With 7 1/2 minutes left, Frood attempted to beat a short-stick defender, but he drew a double team, leaving Durnan free on the crease. Frood made the right decision this time and set up Durnan for the point-blank shot, giving Duke its first lead of the second half.

Two minutes later, a slow slide by the Mids cost them another goal. After a failed double team on Greg Patchak, Navy was scrambling defensively and Frood fed Durnan, who again was the unmarked Blue Devil. That layup put Duke ahead 7-5 -- the first two-goal margin by either team.

The Mids didn't seem to press offensively, taking only four shots in the final two minutes before Mike Newton scored with six seconds left to cut the deficit to one. Navy never had a chance to tie because no one controlled the faceoff as the final seconds ran off.

"I think our guys showed superior confidence there," said Duke coach Mike Pressler, whose Blue Devils lost high-scoring midfielder Nick Hartofilis to a broken finger in Friday's practice. "We just knew if we could get the equalizer, we'd find a way to win. That's the best I've seen Navy play. They could have easily won that game."

Pub Date: 3/16/98

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