- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2007

Navy has found scoring threats just about everywhere it has turned in the first month of the season.

And that, perhaps more than a typically staunch defense, is a promising sign for the fourth-ranked Midshipmen.

The Mids (7-0, 4-0 Patriot), who visit No. 17 Bucknell tomorrow, have scored at least nine goals in every game and reached double figures in four of their last five outings. That includes a 15-10 thrashing of Colgate on Wednesday ignited by six straight goals to start the game.

“Last year, it seemed like we were waiting and waiting and waiting for the offense to click,” midfielder William Wallace said. “Against all these Patriot League teams we were getting nine, maybe 10 or 11 goals on some teams we should be scoring more against. For us to get up early, start fast and get up into the mid-to-high teens on some of these teams is good for our offense.”

Wallace and the rest of the midfield have some responsibility for the surge. Wallace has six goals and has won 49 of his 71 faceoff attempts (69 percent), and Billy Looney has nine goals and eight assists. But the most intriguing player in the group might be freshman Basil Daratsos, who scored four goals against Colgate and has nine on the season.

The strong offense has helped Navy jump to its best start winning its first eight games in 1986.

“It’s good not to lose,” Navy coach Richie Meade said. “We thought there was a lot of room to grow on the team, and we’re still trying to grow. … We’re getting there. We haven’t played the type of schedule that a team like Johns Hopkins has played or Georgetown has played. We’re playing the people we’re playing, and we’re trying to get better. It’s good to be 7-0 this deep into the season.”

Rubeor’s seven spot

No. 2 Virginia (6-1) no doubt would be ecstatic if it can receive an encore performance from attackman Ben Rubeor today when it plays at No. 3 Johns Hopkins (4-1).

Rubeor scored seven goals last week against Towson, the most at Virginia since Doug Knight scored eight against Syracuse in 1996.

“That game was as fine a game by an attackman as I’ve seen in a long time,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. “It was a combination of his being alert and being on top of his game and a matchup he could overpower a bit. Ben just knows that for us right now, the attack has to carry the mail. He’s been more than willing to step up to the plate.”

The Cavaliers face a surging Hopkins team coming off a 17-9 rout of Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. It could set up as a rare high-scoring game between the two schools; the last time both teams reached double figures was in the 1999 NCAA tournament. Of course, six of the nine meetings since then have been decided by two goals or less.

No lack of choices

While Virginia-Johns Hopkins is the week’s most attractive matchup, the other games in the area aren’t shabby, either. No. 6 Duke (5-2) makes its second trip inside the Beltway in less than a month when it visits No. 7 Georgetown (4-1).

Meanwhile, No. 9 Maryland (5-2, 0-1 ACC) plays host to No. 11 North Carolina (6-2, 0-1) at Byrd Stadium.

The Terrapins have won 11 of the teams’ last 12 meetings, but four of the last five victories were decided by three goals or less.

Steady at the top

Top-ranked Cornell (5-0) became the first team atop the Inside Lacrosse poll to remain there for more than a week, and the Big Red found a curious way of doing so — not playing.

Cornell, though, has since won at Duke to solidify its top spot entering today’s game at Yale. The same could not be said of Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Princeton and Duke, each of which lost after rising to the No. 1 position.

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