Navy men's lacrosse team comes up short at Georgetown

Slumping Midshipmen drop 9-8 decision to Hoyas

April 01, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

WASHINGTON — — Navy took too long to rediscover its offense.

After scoring just twice in the first half, the Midshipmen tripled that output in the second half, but time ran out as host Georgetown pulled out a 9-8 decision at Multi-Sport Field on Friday night.

The clock would also seem to be ticking on Navy's hopes of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, as the loss dropped the team to 4-6.

"It's really tough to talk about that," said junior goalkeeper R.J. Wickham, who dedicated his 20-save performance to a former classmate of his from Penn Yan (N.Y.) Academy who died of brain cancer last week. "All you can really focus on is winning the next game. Yeah, it stinks, losing, but you can't think about the playoffs yet. You've got to finish out your season before you think about the playoffs. … Coach wants to get these next three wins, and we can do it. I know we can."

The Midshipmen, who had entered the contest averaging 10.2 goals, could muster just a goal in each of the first two quarters en route to three-goal deficit at halftime.

Just as significant was the team's inability to protect the ball. Navy committed 18 turnovers to the Hoyas' nine, and the team's first six possessions of the game ended in turnovers.

"We knew they were a pressure defense, and we hadn't seen that since Virginia in a scrimmage," coach Richie Meade said. "I thought early on they took the ball from us a couple times, and then I think we held our own."

Despite trailing 5-2 at halftime, the Midshipmen embarked on a 3-1 run capped by a Sam Jones-to-Tucker Hull goal with 2:15 left in the third quarter.

Georgetown (4-4) responded, scoring three consecutive goals over a 3-minute, 45-second stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters.

But Navy scored three times in a 4:02 span, including a goal from freshman long-stick midfielder Pat Kiernan with 23.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore Evan McGoogan won the ensuing faceoff, but three Hoyas players converged on him, and senior defenseman Barney Ehrmann registered his fourth caused turnover of the game by stripping McGoogan of the ball. Senior Ryan Shuler, who shifted from attack to short-stick defensive midfield, scooped up the ground ball and ran out the clock.

"If we had started kicking it before then, I think we easily could've had this game," said Hull, who paced the Midshipmen with four points on three goals and one assist. "But the thing is, Georgetown's a really good team. They've got really phenomenal players, but I don't think any other team out there has more heart than Navy."

Friday night's one-goal outcome was the fourth time in the past five years that the contests have been decided by one goal.

"We knew that coming in, history has a way of repeating itself," Hoyas coach Dave Urick said. "This has been a one- or two-goal game for as long as I can remember. There's been a few others, but over time, it's been a one- or two-goal game, and it's just a great rivalry, and it seems like we bring out the best in one another."

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