Navy steps up, downs Georgetown

7-5 win should boost Mids to a ranking in top five

College Lacrosse

April 04, 2004|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - The rarefied air of a top five ranking is beckoning the Navy men's lacrosse team.

That step into elite company was ensured yesterday when the No. 7 Midshipmen dominated the majority of the game, received outstanding play from goalkeeper Matt Russell and upended No. 4 Georgetown, 7-5, before 1,235 chilled fans at Kehoe Field.

With fifth-ranked North Carolina - a team Navy has beaten on the road - losing at Johns Hopkins, the Midshipmen could rise to as high as fourth, which has been foreign territory to them for some time.

The victory was the team's sixth straight, marking the first time the Mids have accomplished that since 1989. With a 7-1 record, they have already exceeded their win total of last season.

"I was very impressed with Navy when I watched them on film," Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. "And nothing happened to change that. This is one of the better Navy teams I've seen in a while. They're an impressive group."

With five different players scoring, the Mids started quickly, never trailed, then held off a fourth-quarter Hoyas assault with a continuation of tight close-in defense and Russell's six saves in the period.

"Our defense played a hell of a game," Russell said. "I saw all outside shots today. You can't ask for anything more. This feels awesome, right up there next to beating Army."

Dan Harris scored the first goal only 1 1/2 minutes into the game to give Navy an early lead. The Hoyas came back to tie a little more than a minute later on a score by Garrett Wilson, but a goal by Joe Bossi, with one of three feeds in the game from Jon Birsner, regained the lead for the Mids and Graham Gill followed with a man-up goal to make it 3-1.

"We've been struggling at the beginning," said Birsner. "Last week against Army was the first time we jumped out with transition goals right away. And Georgetown has one of the more aggressive defenses, so taking advantage of our transition, our defensive middies, was important."

While one of the nation's top faceoff men, the Hoyas' Andy Corno, struggled against plebe Tommy Wallin (9 of 10 won), the Mids took a 6-3 lead on Bossi's goal, assisted by Birsner, at 8:51 of the third quarter and the Hoyas committed too many turnovers to rally.

Georgetown (5-2) peppered the net in the final period, cutting the margin to 6-5 on Sean Denihan's second goal at 7:09, but a failed Hoyas clear caused by Ian Dingman, and subsequent goal by Gill, sealed the outcome.

"We had a bad feeling from last year. They dropped us, 4-3, in overtime. We let it slip," said Birsner.

"Obviously, Tommy Wallin, a tough kid from New Jersey, getting all those faceoffs was a big thing for us," said Navy coach Richie Meade. "And our goalie really played well. It's going to be tough to score on him if you're shooting outside 11 or 12 yards. I felt if we could take away their inside game and hold them to five goals, we should win.

"This is a good group of guys. They don't have an ego at all. I believe it's a good team."

Now, so do a lot of other people.

Navy 3 2 1 1 - 7 Georgetown 1 2 0 2 - 5

Goals: N-Gill 2, Bossi 2, Dingman, B. Looney, Harris; G-Denihan, Miaritis, Cannon, Goldman, Wilson. Assists: N-Birsner 3; G-Denihan 2, Hajj, Miaritis. Saves: N-Russell 14; G-D'Andrea 10.

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