Navy vs. Delaware
May 14, 2005
The Game Story:
ANNAPOLIS, MD -- The Navy men's lacrosse team scored six consecutive goals during the second and third quarters and held off a furious Delaware rally to defeat the Blue Hens, 9-7, in the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse First Round Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The third-ranked and fifth-seeded Midshipmen, who improved to 12-3, will face the winner of Saturday night's Virginia-Albany game next Saturday in the quarterfinals at Homewood Field on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. Delaware, which was making its third NCAA Tournament appearance and its first since 1999, ends its season with an 11-6 record. The Blue Hens' 11 wins are tied for the third most in a single season in Delaware history.

The Blue Hens stayed with the Midshipmen early, and a goal by Andy Hipple off an assist from Dan Hechtkopf tied the game at 2-2 just eight seconds into the second quarter. However Navy scored the final four goals of the first half, and goals by Nick Mirabito and Seth DiNola just nine seconds apart gave the Midshipmen an 8-2 lead with 9:11 remaining in the third quarter.

However Delaware, which was playing without its second leading goal scorer in senior Dave Powers who had broken his hand in practice this week, answered by scoring the final three goals of the quarter. Hechtkopt ignited the run with an unassisted goal at the 4:57 mark to break Delaware's 24:55 scoreless drought, and he found Drew Turner for a goal with 2:31 remaining to bring the Blue Hens within four. Jordan Hall then scored his team-leading 29th goal of the season with 24 seconds on the clock to make it an 8-5 game heading into the final quarter.

Clipper Lennon scored an unassisted goal with 8:30 remaining to put Navy back up four, but Hipple found Turner for a goal with 2:28 left and Joe Trentzsch scored off a feed from Hall to bring Delaware within two and extend his scoring streak to 19 straight games. The Blue Hens then won the ensuing faceoff and Cam Howard fired a shot past Navy goalkeeper Matt Russell, but the goal was disallowed as Delaware had called a timeout before Howard got his shot off. Neither team would score again as the Midshipmen held on for the two-goal victory.

Navy, which advanced to the national championship game last season, held a 41-32 shot advantage and a slim 36-35 edge in groundballs. Alex Smith, the nation's leader in faceoff percentage, won 11 of 20 faceoffs for the Blue Hens. Russell stopped 13 shots in the Navy goal, while Chris Collins (above) made 12 saves for Delaware.

"I was pleased with our effort all year," Blue Hen head coach Bob Shillinglaw said. "Our guys hustled their hearts out. We went down 8-2 and our guys could have decided to ride it out, but they kept playing hard and they just came up short. We didn't capitalize on some things early and that hurt us."

The Midshipmen, who entered the game leading the nation by allowing just 6.33 goals per game, struck first when Billy Looney scored an unassisted goal with 9:45 remaining in the opening quarter, but Howard made it a 1-1 game with an unassisted goal at the 5:11 mark. Cody Shea gave Navy a 2-1 lead after the first period after scoring off a Ben Horn feed with just 10 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Hipple's goal early in the second tied the game, but Mirabito scored off an assist from Tommy Wallin with 9:36 left and just 1:50 later scored off a William Wallace feed to give the Midshipmen a 4-2 advantage. Graham Gill found Horn for a goal with 3:34 to play before Wallace scored an unassisted goal with 2:13 remaining as Navy took a 6-2 lead into halftime.

Marabito scored his third goal of the game off an assist from Wallace with 9:20 to go in the third quarter and it looked like Navy might pull away when Chris Pieczonka found DiNola for a goal nine seconds later, but the Blue Hens scored five of the final six goals.

Navy, which improved to 16-2 all-time against Delaware including 9-0 in Annapolis, got three goals from Mirabito, a goal and two assists from Wallace, and a goal and an assist from Horn. Turner scored a team-high two goals for the Blue Hens, while Hechtkopf, who made his first career start in place of Powers, added a goal and two assists. Hipple and Hall each contributed a goal and an assist for Delaware.