- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 16, 2005

Navy can close in on the chance to play host for the Patriot League tournament, clinch a share of the league’s regular-season title and further bolster its NCAA tournament resume with a victory over a top-five team today.

However, the seventh-ranked Midshipmen (8-2, 4-1 Patriot) are playing No. 5 Army (9-1, 4-0) at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, meaning all that is secondary to beating their archrival.

“There’s no priority, there’s no playoffs, there’s no home field,” Navy coach Richie Meade said. “I don’t care about any of it. We haven’t talked to our team about it. I think they would be disappointed, given how we’ve approached this game for the last 10 years, to talk about anything but who we’re playing and what time we’re playing.

“There’s political ramifications, but that will be decided after this battle has been concluded. I guess diplomats will decide on the terms. That’s not for the combatants to be concerned about.”

Navy can play host to the Patriot tournament with a win today by at least two goals, thus securing the head-to-head goals tiebreaker against Bucknell (6-3, 4-1) and Army — the Black Knights beat Bucknell 7-6 and Bucknell topped Navy 8-7 — coupled with an Army defeat of Holy Cross next week. That convoluted scenario, though, won’t overshadow the significance of the first Army-Navy game featuring two top-seven teams since 1982.

“If you reach back into antiquity, in the ‘60s, the lacrosse world shuddered and quaked on the day of the Army-Navy lacrosse game,” Meade said. “It’s cool with the interest from alumni. But I think it’s good for the sport of lacrosse. Just seeing the intensity, it’s good for kids to see two teams can line up, pound each other to death and have so much respect for each other at the end.”

UVa’s ‘unique challenge’

Coach Dom Starsia earned his 138th victory at Virginia when the Cavaliers upended North Carolina last week, sending him past Jim Adams for the most wins in school history. He probably didn’t expect the milestone to be followed by one of the most demanding weekends of his career.

The third-ranked Cavaliers (8-1, 2-0 ACC) visit No. 2 Duke (11-1, 2-0) today, with the winner earning the ACC regular-season title and top seed in the April 29-May 1 conference tournament in Baltimore. Virginia then plays host to No. 15 Denver (6-2) tomorrow night in a game postponed by snow Feb. 28.

“Our approach is that it’s a unique challenge,” Starsia said. “We told the kids, we only have Duke in mind. From the minute the Duke game ends, I need [your] undivided attention. … With an [opponent] the caliber of Duke, if we tried to do a little bit of both, we’d probably get a little bit of nothing done.”

The Pioneers, who stunned Virginia in Colorado last season, don’t have it any easier. They visit Yale today and then travel to Charlottesville for tomorrow’s game.

Kass gets a look

Georgetown freshman goalie Miles Kass made the first start of his career Wednesday, making 10 saves in the fourth-ranked Hoyas’ 14-10 victory at Mount St. Mary’s. However, senior Rich D’Andrea will re-assume his starting gig today when the Hoyas (7-2) play host to Loyola (4-4).

“God forbid that, if Rich gets hurt, I didn’t want the first time [Kass] was put under the gun was in that situation,” Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. “It was better to get him some good experience. Miles had a very impressive day, and it gave us the opportunity to give Rich a little mental holiday as well as preparing the goalie of the future. The future could be next week in respect to what happens to athletes physically.”

Meanwhile, the Hoyas will be without defenseman Reyn Garnett, who has battled back problems all year, because of a hamstring injury today. Jerry Lambe will start in his place at close defense alongside John Trapp and Rob Smith.

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