- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 13, 2004

Navy’s men’s lacrosse season unraveled last March after a close road loss. This season an overtime victory away from Annapolis could provide the Midshipmen a much-needed boost.

The Mids (2-1) upset then-No.5 North Carolina 9-8 last Friday on midfielder Clipper Lennon’s overtime goal. The victory, which came a week after a 12-9 home loss to Ohio State, allowed Navy to jump back into the Inside Lacrosse rankings at No.16.

The win over a likely NCAA tournament team was impressive, but just winning a tight game on the road is significant for the Mids. Last season Navy won its first three games but then dropped a 10-9 decision at Massachusetts to begin a 1-6 slide that eliminated the Mids from postseason contention.

But thanks to the defeat of North Carolina — which improved the Mids to 2-8 in one-goal road games since 1998 — Navy has momentum going into a four-game stretch of Patriot League games beginning today when Bucknell (2-1) visits Annapolis. Navy, which defeated Lafayette in its Patriot opener last month, also will face Hobart, Colgate and Army before the end of the month.

“Bucknell’s a good team,” Navy coach Richie Meade said. “I think Hobart is at the same level if not a little bit better because they’re a bit deeper. Colgate we think has an outstanding goalie, and, of course, Army is Army. We have our hands full right now. It’s crunch time. Coming out of North Carolina with a win was a big thing, but we’re going to have to play well to beat these teams.”

An important figure is sophomore goalie Matt Russell, who lost the competition for the starting job to junior Seth DiNola in the preseason but drew his first career start against North Carolina and made 12 saves. DiNola has been switched to defensive midfield even though he has never played in the field.

“Seth is a great leader, but we don’t feel he played as well as he could have against Ohio State,” Meade said. “We had a guy on the bench, and we thought it was the right time. … Matt’s the goalie. Obviously, he played very well in his first start on the varsity, but we thought he had that potential. We knew we would be strong in the goal, and Matt’s the guy right now.”

Jekyll and Hoya?

Georgetown also got a much-needed victory last weekend, trouncing then-No. 8 Cornell 14-4 at Harbin Field. Sophomore midfielder Peter Cannon, who had one career goal entering the game, scored three as the Hoyas (1-1) bounced back from a humbling season-opening loss to Maryland. Eight Hoyas scored in the rout.

“It’s going to be like this throughout the year,” Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. “We can be pretty good, and we can be pretty average. There’s not a lot of margin of error. … We’re not going to have one guy, or two guys, that carries the brunt of our scoring. We have to be balanced.”

Next up for the Hoyas is their ECAC opener at Penn State this afternoon. The Nittany Lions reached the NCAA tournament for the first time last year but have struggled during a 2-2 start.

“They’re still trying to find themselves,” Urick said. “We’re seeing a lot of combinations out there. I think they’re looking for the right mix of guys at the attack and the midfield.”

Up-tempo Terps

Suddenly, second-ranked Maryland looks like an offensive juggernaut.

The Terrapins (2-0), who play host to No. 17 Towson today, have totaled 31 goals in routs of Georgetown (14-5) and Duke (17-12). It’s just the second time in the last six seasons Maryland has reached double figures against consecutive top-10 opponents.

“If you look at our stats, the thing that’s somewhat out of line is the shooting percentage,” coach Dave Cottle said. “We’re shooting at a high percentage, and it’s going to come down eventually. Shooting at 38 percent isn’t something that normally happens.”

In addition to the excellent shot selection, the Terps have spread their scoring opportunities around. Fourteen players have scored for Maryland, but only five have more than one goal.

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