- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 3, 2004

Billed as a clash between two of the nation’s top defenses, yesterday’s Georgetown-Navy men’s lacrosse game did not disappoint.

Sophomore attackman Ian Dingman scored with 1:54 left to thwart a late rally by the host Hoyas and seal a 7-5 win for the sixth-ranked Midshipmen (7-1), who have won six consecutive games for the first time in 15 years.

Despite holding the edge in groundballs and shots, the fourth-ranked Hoyas (5-2) struggled to create quality scoring chances against the Mids’ defense, which entered the game ranked second nationally with a 7.12 goals-against average.

“We felt like if we could take away Georgetown’s inside game and make them shoot the ball from the outside that we’d have the opportunity to hold them,” Navy coach Richie Meade said. “Holding them to five goals — you should win that game.”

Navy opened the scoring at 1:13 when junior midfielder Dan Harris fired an unassisted goal past Hoyas goalkeeper Rich D’Andrea. On the subsequent draw, Georgetown established its offensive set and tied it when freshman midfielder Garrett Wilson ripped home a shot at 12:23.

Following the surprising outburst of offense, the game suddenly shifted to a defensive battle. While Georgetown struggled to set up its offense and move inside, Navy scored four of the next five goals to take a 5-2 lead before senior attack Neal Goldman scored a late man-advantage goal for the Hoyas.

In the third quarter, the Mids clamped down even harder, holding the Hoyas scoreless on five shots. Meanwhile, Navy’s offense restored the three-goal lead when Joe Bossi scored his 18th of the season.

“We were throwing the book at them in terms of what we had offensively, but we couldn’t get inside,” Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. “We had some shots that I’d like to think we’re going to make a good percentage of the time, but today they didn’t fall, and that’s going to happen.”

Down 6-3 entering the final stanza, the Hoyas had the ball for the first five minutes of the quarter but were not able to penetrate. With 8:04 remaining, however, the momentum turned when senior midfielder Walid Hajj stole the ball at midfield and threaded a pass to sophomore midfielder Peter Cannon, who raced into the slot and fired a shot past Navy keeper Matt Russell.

Just over a minute later, another Navy turnover led to a Hoyas score, as sophomore attack Sean Denihan took a pass down low to the right of the crease and unleashed a bad-angle shot that beat Russell.

Russell, however, atoned for his mistakes by turning away two potential game-tying shots, including one by Hajj, before Dingman put the Hoyas away with his team-leading 21st goal of the year.

“I saw all outside shots today, and I can’t ask for anything more from the defense,” said Russell, who finished with 14 saves. “Our defense has been playing real strong all year.”

The much-anticipated battle between Georgetown’s Andy Corno, ranked first in the nation in faceoffs, and Navy’s Chris Pieczonka, ranked second, turned out to be a nonfactor. Corno, who has a lower leg injury, was rarely used after the first quarter, allowing Navy to hold a 9-6 edge in draws.

Navy’s Meade was impressed with the way his squad dominated early despite increased academic demands this week at the academy.

“Most of those guys are working on five hours of sleep a night studying for exams,” Meade said. “The juniors had an electrical engineering exam yesterday at 5:45 in the morning. To have them come out with as much energy as they have — we haven’t had that in the past.”

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