A fired-up Navy men's lacrosse team controlled play virtually the entire game and held host UMBC scoreless for the final 25 minutes to register an 11-4 victory yesterday in the Eastern College Athletic Conference opener for both schools.
While starting 2-0 for the first time since 1997, Navy spoiled the Retrievers' 2001 debut with a combination of hustle, stout defense and the offensive punch of Ben Bailey, Eddie McKinnon and Dave Pittard.
"The last thing I said to the players was that the result of this game is going to be broadcast all over the world," said Navy coach Richie Meade. "We've been getting e-mails from Navy seals in Afghanistan.
"We wanted them to win an emotional, physical battle. I think we were pretty relentless."
Navy (2-0, 1-0) grabbed command with a 4-0 lead during the first 16 minutes, experienced a brief letdown in the second period, then chased the Retrievers with a five-goal third quarter.
Bailey, a sophomore from Memphis who was slowed by ankle and shoulder injuries last season, emulated his sponsor brother, graduated All-American Adam Borcz, rather well with three goals and an assist.
"He still helps me out and calls me up," Bailey said of Borcz [Calvert Hall]. "Today we were playing for all the guys who played here before."
UMBC hasn't beaten the Midshipmen in Baltimore since 1983 in a series in which the visiting team has won six straight. Navy leads overall, 21-4.
"They took it to us," Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman said. "I think our performance was pathetic. I'm surprised at the way we played considering how we worked for this game. Everything just fell apart."
UMBC returned only six starters from a team that faded down the stretch last season and finished 5-7. In goal was former CCBC-Essex All-American Tim Flanagan, who had not played in an NCAA Division I game.
Flanagan (Curley) didn't perform that badly, but breakdowns among his defensive help and the Retrievers' inability to launch a consistent attack undermined him.
"They were aggressive and we had opportunities and didn't finish," Zimmerman said. "A couple times we didn't have the killer instinct to even shoot the ball. It really started in warm-ups; we looked tentative then and never got over it."
A crowd of 1,743 on a pleasant day in February watched UMBC close to 6-4 early in the third period on its only extra-man score in eight opportunities.
Five minutes later, Navy had tacked on three more goals to pull away convincingly.
McKinnon, Navy's leading returning scorer, added two goals and an assist and Pittard had two goals and two assists. Josh Gerber (Perry Hall) led the Retrievers with two goals.
"You give up only four and you've got a good chance," said Meade. "We kind of lost it a little bit in the second quarter but I still felt good about it because they were on extra-man a lot and didn't score."
Navy 3 1 5 2 - 11
UMBC 0 2 2 0 - 4
Goals: N-Bailey 3, McKinnon 2, Pittard 2, Holton, Bossi, Begley, Fellows; UMBC-Gerber 2, Berry, Shiley. Assists: N-Pittard 2, Bailey, McKinnon, Conklin; UMBC-Ju.Smith, Cahill, Chase. Saves: N-Higdon 11; UMBC-Flanagan 6.