TOWSON, Md. | The first 30 minutes of Navy’s lacrosse game Tuesday left coach Rick Sowell with little to say.
It was understandable. He’d just watched the Midshipmen and Towson combined for more turnovers than shots and a meager three goals.
“First half, I don’t know what that was,” Sowell said. “It wasn’t lacrosse.”
The same wasn’t true the rest of the way.
Navy eventually breezed to a 10-6 victory at Johnny Unitas Stadium to secure back-to-back victories for the first time in nearly a year.
Indeed, the last time the Mids could feel quite so relieved was the middle of March 2011, when they rattled off defeats of Lafayette, Towson and Holy Cross in an eight-day to rise back to .500 before a collapse that ultimately cost former coach Richie Meade his job.
This time, Navy (3-3) leveled its record a few days earlier. And while the eyesore of a first half —- there were 20 combined turnovers and only 18 shots —- was eminently forgettable, there were also welcome signs as the Mids delve deeper into their season.
They received two goals and an assist from their second midfield. Skilled long pole Pat Kiernan showed again he’s moved past a broken hand, scoring a behind-the-back transition goal to tie it early in the third quarter. And goalie RJ Wickham (nine saves) made some crucial stops when it was still close in the second half.
Independently, all are welcome developments. Put together, it’s could portend a better-than-expected run in the Patriot League in the weeks to come.
“We’ve had a couple down years,” attackman Tucker Hull said. “Nobody knows why, but we have to turn it around. We’ve been running and we’ve been working real hard. We’ve been doing as much as possibly can. It’s just time to get on the field and actually do it.”
It happened in the second half, perhaps with a slight nod to the Tigers (2-3), who swapped goalies at halftime for the third straight game even though Andrew Wascavage allowed only one goal.
Still, there wasn’t much Travis Love could do to stop most of Navy’s close-range shots in what turned into a clinical dissection.
“We were expecting it, but when a goalie only lets one in, I actually was surprised they changed goalies after they held us down that far,” said Hull, who had two goals and three assists. “It was more us that wasn’t playing well, and then we played well in the second half. If we had done that in the first half, it wouldn’t have mattered what goalie was in.”
Regardless, Navy takes a pair of road wins into Saturday’s date with Holy Cross in Annapolis, and a sense things could be on the upswing after an early three-game skid.
“I think it was great we had to turn around and play our only midweek game,” Sowell said. “It’s spring break. At this point, we said ‘We’re on a roll, let’s keep rolling.’ I can’t explain the way we played that first half, but we’re starting to feel good about ourselves. We feel like we’re getting better.”
—- Patrick Stevens