- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 6, 2002

Ben Bailey is a promising midfielder for Navy's lacrosse team. Maryland defenseman Chris Passavia is arguably the top takeaway defender in the nation.

Matched last night in the game's final seconds with the sixth-ranked Terrapins clinging to a one-goal lead, Passavia's savvy and experience edged Bailey's potential, and Maryland escaped with a 6-5 victory over No. 16 Navy before 2,647 at Byrd Stadium.

Maryland led 6-3 late in the fourth quarter before Navy began to press offensively. The Midshipmen (5-4) scored twice in the final 1:07, the last coming with 22 seconds remaining. Mids senior Michael Schaal won the faceoff popping the ball out forward and securing it and coach Richie Meade called a timeout in an unsettled situation.

Bailey got the ball up top after the timeout with Passavia guarding him. Maryland's sophomore defender beat a Navy double screen and read Bailey from the start of the play. Bailey cradled the ball, took him right, but Passavia checked his stick away to seal the win.

"[Passavias] fast and quick," said Bailey, who led the Mids with three goals. "You saw the last play of the game, he knew exactly when I was getting my hands free, and just got me when I wasn't holding on. We came in talking about [all-American Michael] Howley, and it seemed like they let Passavia run free. He just knows when to do it. I started to get my hands back [to shoot] and let go of my stick a little bit, he was right there."

Meade knew his Mids would have to play a near-perfect game and dictate a slow tempo against Maryland (7-2) to have a chance against the more athletic Terrapins. Meade got the grind-it-out affair he wanted, but Maryland is no stranger to a slow-down game.

North Carolina and Duke played Maryland in comparable fashion, and using that experience, the Terps' experience won out. Previously this season, Maryland fell to Duke 9-8 in double overtime and dropped North Carolina 7-5 in similarly slow games.

Senior attackman Mike Morsell led the Terps with a hat trick, and Dan LaMonica added one goal and three assists. This is the fourth straight season Maryland has dropped Navy by a 6-5 score.

"I respect how hard their team played," said Terps coach Dave Cottle, whose defense held Navy to one goal in a 45-plus minute span and scoreless for 28:53. "They really competed I didn't know if I'd like a 6-5 game, but I'm very happy with it. We are who we are. We're a good defensive team, we're a useful offensive team, and we've got to find a way to get to 10 most games and we've got a chance to win."

Maryland extended its one-goal halftime lead to 5-3 on Morsell's third goal of the game 6:08 into the third quarter and 6-3 on a goal by Mike LaMonica late in the third. Maryland threatened to blow open the game in the second half, but could not find the back of the net. Navy goalie Jon Higdon played well, and stopped nine shots, but had some help from his cage. Maryland hit two posts, a crossbar and the side of the net in the final 30 minutes.

Navy, traditionally a man-to-man team, mixed in a 3-3 zone and stifled Maryland. The Terps were held to a season-low one shot in the first quarter, but converted on it, giving them a 1-0 lead. Their previous quarter low was five against Bucknell and North Carolina.

Maryland's man-down defense continued to be a disappointment. The third-ranked unit a season ago allowed two goals in the first quarter, both by Bailey. Maryland has allowed 16 man-down goals this year after giving up 17 last season. After 15 minutes, Navy led 2-1.

Notes Maryland received a boost in the midfield from former Terrapin football player Guilian Gary this week. Gary, a senior, has been practicing with the team since Monday, and suited up with the No. 11 jersey. The No. 21 uniform, which Gary wore for the football team, is the only number in Maryland lacrosse history to be retired (Frank Urso). Gary did not see action last night.

Gary played lacrosse at Horseheads High School in upstate New York with midfielder Nate Watkins, who entered the game second on the team in goals (13). Gary was a second-team All-ACC selection as a wide receiver this season for the ACC champion Terps. He became the first Terp to lead the football team in punt returns for three straight seasons.

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