- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 1, 2004

BALTIMORE — Matt Russell encountered few things he couldn’t overcome this season. Then he dislocated his right shoulder in the second half of yesterday’s NCAA men’s lacrosse championship at M&T; Bank Stadium.

Navy’s first-team All-American goalie stayed in the game for more than seven minutes before giving way to freshman reserve Colin Finnegan with 8:01 left and the score tied at 11-11.

“It was tougher to come out,” said Russell, who was supposed to leave for Jacksonville, Fla., today to spend the summer on the USS John F. Kennedy. “I made two saves with it, and both saves I re-dislocated it and both clears I re-dislocated it. I realized I wasn’t going to do the team any good.”

The nation’s most consistent goalie throughout the season, Russell energized Navy’s run through the regular season and the tournament after taking over as the starting goalie in the season’s third game. He struggled in the semifinals against Princeton and then fell victim to Syracuse’s precise shooting yesterday.

Late in the third quarter, Russell checked an Orange attackman and believed he had separated his shoulder. He had it popped back in between quarters and continued to play, though the Midshipmen burned a timeout with 12:15 left to reset the shoulder again.

Finally, less than a minute after Syracuse scored on a 6-on-4 to tie it, Navy coach Richie Meade decided to yank Russell.

“He’s one of the toughest kids,” Navy midfielder Ben Bailey said. “You can’t crack him. I think that’s why he’ll be a good [Navy] SEAL one day. He’s got two more years of great lacrosse.”

A look ahead

Lost in the emotional setback was Navy’s relative youth. The Mids have several key players graduating — including attackman Joe Bossi, midfielder Bailey and long pole Thomas Morris — but the bulk of the team’s core returns next year.

That includes attackman Ian Dingman, who had two goals and two assists yesterday.

“We’re going to keep the same intensity throughout the [offseason] that we had during the season,” Dingman said. “We’re going come into preseason working hard and stay in shape in the offseason. It’s kind of mandatory for us to do that, but we’re going to come in and work hard. … Now, this is the expectation of our program. As it was for the players at the beginning of the season, now it’s the expectation of the school.”

All-America teams picked

Russell was joined on the All-America first team by Maryland attackman Joe Walters, Georgetown midfielders Walid Hajj and Brodie Merrill and Maryland defensemen Chris Passavia and Lee Zink.

Dingman was a second-team selection, along with Georgetown faceoff specialist Andy Corno and Virginia defenseman Brett Hughes. The third team was littered with area players, including Navy’s Bailey and Mitch Hendler, Maryland’s Paul Gillette and Bill McGlone, Georgetown’s Andrew Braziel and Virginia’s Tillman Johnson and Matt Walsh.

Syracuse attackman Mike Powell became only the fourth player to earn first-team All-America honors for four seasons, joining Hopkins’ Doug Turnbull (1922-25) and Del Dressel (1983-86) and Maryland’s Frank Urso (1973-76).

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