When Bryce Dabbs collected a pass from sophomore midfielder Erik Hoffstadt and stuck a shot in the top right corner of the net to give Navy a 2-0 lead just 4 minutes, 8 seconds into its contest with No. 4 North Carolina Saturday, the junior midfielder ended the team’s 0-of-7 drought on extra-man opportunities.
But the Midshipmen’s struggles continued as they misfired on three more man-up chances for the remainder of the game, which was won when the Tar Heels scored four unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to escape with a 9-8 decision.
One opportunity that the team let slip by was a two-man advantage to begin the third quarter. Despite senior attackman Thomas Wood and junior attackman Marcus Holman serving 45 seconds of one-minute penalties they had been flagged with near the end of the second quarter, North Carolina junior defenseman Kieran McDonald forced Dabbs to turn the ball over, and by the time Navy had regained possession, the penalties had run out.
Midshipmen coach Rick Sowell did not seem especially perturbed by the missed opportunity, pointing out that sophomore midfielder Pat Durkin scored a goal 1:55 after the end of the man-up chance to give the team a 7-3 advantage with 12:20 left in the third quarter.
“It’s too early in the game,” Sowell said. “If we scored, yeah, it would’ve been nice. I think we came back and scored anyway. We scored the next goal. So from that standpoint, it just took us a little longer and we had to do it from a six-on-six versus a six-on-four. But obviously, we want to take advantage of those situations. We didn’t. We didn’t let it bother us. As we talked about it in the locker room, yeah, we’d like to score, but if we don’t, we’ve still got to play 29 more minutes in the second half. And we were able to come back and score the next goal. Unfortunately, I think we gave one back shortly thereafter. But I don’t think that play by any means had much bearing in the outcome of the game.”