Here is the opening installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Teams are scheduled to appear according to the chronological order in which their seasons ended. So Monday begins with a visit with Navy.
The good: As the Midshipmen learned last year when longtime coach Richie Meade was dismissed, the bottom line is wins and losses. In that department, the team improved from last year’s 4-9 record, going 6-6 this season. After a 2-4 mark in the Patriot League, Navy went 3-3 in the conference, including a victory over tournament champion Colgate. “That’s a baby step,” coach Rick Sowell said. “I wasn’t here a year ago, so I almost cringe saying that. This was a transition year and what we went through, ultimately we feel good about our program. … At the end of the day, we did improve upon last season.” … For a team sitting out the Patriot League and NCAA tournaments for the second year in a row, the Midshipmen ended the season on a high note with an 8-2 upset of then-No. 9 Johns Hopkins April 21. The win was akin to ending a tough round of golf with a birdie on the 18th hole. “We weren’t going to be playing in our conference tournament,” Sowell said. “It appeared to be the last game of our season, and we were playing for nothing more than pride. To go out and beat a top six or seven team in the country, you could go out in a lot worse ways, that’s for sure.” … Out of several key individual performances, the play of RJ Wickham was instrumental in Navy’s improvement. The senior goalkeeper registered an 8.87 goals-against average and a .570 save percentage after compiling a 9.26 goals-against average and .491 save percentage last spring. “What can I say about RJ?” Sowell said. “When people outside the team weren’t believing in him, he bounced back and had a tremendous senior season capped off by a game for the ages. To beat Johns Hopkins at home with an 18-save performance is special.”