Despite self-described slump, Navy's Jones never in danger of being benched

Midshipmen coach expressed confidence that sophomore attackman would rediscover his rhythm

March 27, 2012|By Edward Lee

In the aftermath of scoring the game-winning goal in Navy’s 12-11 upset of then-No. 12 Colgate, sophomore attackman Sam Jones rejoiced in a showing that included three goals and two assists.

The Severna Park native and graduate also admitted that he had been mired in a slump, telling the school’s website, “I’ve been in a slump the last few games and the fact that my teammates trusted me means the world.”

Coach Rick Sowell took note of Jones’ struggles, but insisted that the coaches did not consider benching Jones, who tied sophomore attackman Tucker Hull for the team lead in goals (23) and points (38) last season.

“No, not at all,” Sowell said. “We do have some other attackmen who have improved to the point where they deserve playing time. And we’ve rotated all of our attackmen. … We’ve been getting so much production out of Tucker that – not that I was anticipating that he couldn’t continue but – it was going to be tough to keep pace. So we needed other guys on offense to step up, and it just so happened that on Saturday, it was Sam’s turn. But we never considered benching Sam for one second.”

Prior to his outburst against the Raiders, Jones had registered three goals and three assists in four contests, including just one assist in the team’s 12-7 victory over Lafayette March 10 and zero points in a 10-6 win against Towson three days later.

Despite his troubles, Jones never gave the coaches a reason to demote him.

“He continued to work hard in practice, and the coaching staff knew and his teammates knew that it was just a matter of time,” Sowell said. “The good news was we were winning games without him playing as well as we know he’s capable of playing. So I’m sure to score the last two goals for us does wonders for your confidence. So hopefully, that will have an impact because we’re certainly going to need him to continue to play well. There’s no guarantee that things are going to work out that well for the next game, but you hope that it does and he can continue to play well down the stretch.”

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