- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 25, 2009

LEWISBURG, Pa. | Colgate brought two of the nation’s most potent offensive weapons into the Patriot League tournament. Navy countered with a pair of dominant defensive performances - not to mention an emerging offensive option of its own.

Andy Tormey and Matt Vernam helped shut down the Raiders’ explosive offense, and Joe Lennon scored the last of his four goals in triple overtime as the Midshipmen rallied for a 9-8 victory at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.

Vernam held national player of the year candidate Brandon Corp to an early goal, and Tormey limited Kevin Colleluori to a goal on three shots as Navy moved within a victory of its sixth straight NCAA tournament berth.

“Our mindset was, if we took him out of the game, they probably wouldn’t be in sync offensively,” Tormey said. “They run through Brandon and him so much. … Our goal was to shut down Colleluori.”

And so the Mids (10-4) did, setting up a Sunday meeting with top-seeded Bucknell for the Patriot title. The Bison (9-6) defeated Army 10-8 in the first semifinal.

Lennon made it happen, doubling his career high in goals as part of a stout midfield performance for Navy. Eight of the Mids’ nine goals came from the midfield, including the final four.

The Raiders led 8-6 late in the fourth quarter before Lennon rallied Navy. He scored with 2:51 left to halve the deficit, then sauntered in from midfield before burying a 15-yard dart with 1:21 remaining to force overtime.

Lennon committed a turnover coming out of a timeout in the second extra period, a miscue that ultimately didn’t hurt Navy. He didn’t waste his next opportunity, zipping the winner in from 10 yards out 74 seconds into the third overtime.

The Mids’ precarious postseason possibilities likely would have dissipated with a second loss to the Raiders (9-5).

“It just seems a little early to end the season,” Lennon said. “We’re just happy to be playing on Sunday.”

Navy has Tormey and Vernam to thank. Corp and Colleluori combine to average more than eight points, and they had six goals in a 10-9 victory in Annapolis last month.

Corp nearly locked up a victory late in the game. With the Raiders nursing an 8-7 lead, his shot on an empty cage sailed wide - handing possession to Navy to set up Lennon’s tying goal.

Still, Colgate possessed a frightening array of offensive options.

“When you go into overtime and they have Brandon Corp and Kevin Colleluori, you get nervous,” coach Richie Meade said. “I thought Andy and Matt Vernam both did a good job.”

It was an impressive reversal of some early-season problems for the Mids, who lost twice in the Patriot League for the first time since entering the league in 2004. It was also Navy’s first one-goal victory of the season - and perhaps its pluckiest win so far.

“Playoffs are when people come out to play and play their best,” Tormey said. “And we all played our best tonight.”

No. 6 Duke 16, No. 1 Virginia 5: Ned Crotty had four goals and four assists to help Duke (11-3) cruise past Virginia (13-2) in the ACC tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C., stretching the Cavaliers’ losing streak against the Blue Devils to seven games.

No. 8 North Carolina 16, No. 11 Maryland 10: Billy Bitter had three goals and two assists as the Tar Heels (11-4) won an ACC tournament game for the first time since 1996, snapping a 21-game losing streak against conference opponents. Joe Cummings had three goals for the Terrapins (8-6).

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