Navy vs. Lehigh
March 11, 2008
The Game Story:
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Turning in his first collegiate hat trick, junior midfielder Sean Standen (South Hadley, Mass.) was one of eight different players to score for the Midshipmen as the 11th-ranked Navy men's lacrosse team rolled to a 14-3 victory over Patriot League foe Lehigh (3-4, 1-1 Patriot League) Tuesday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Mids, who are now 5-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play, have won 23 consecutive games against the Mountain Hawks.

Not only did Standen score goals a plenty, so, too, did Gregory Clement (Dallas, Texas) (Sr./A), Tim Paul (Parkton, Md.) (So./A), Nick Mirabito (Binghamton, N.Y.) (Sr./A) and Patrick Moran (Annapolis, Md.) (So./M). All four players pitched in a pair of goals, while Mirabito added a career-high four assists to finish the game with six points.

Navy's defense complemented its offense, holding Lehigh without a shot in the opening period and 23 for the game. It marked the fourth time this season that Navy's opponent has been held scoreless in the opening 15 minutes of action, including the third straight game. The Mountain Hawks scored their first goal of the game at 8:29 in the second and would not score again until two minutes into the fourth quarter.

"I can't really be critical of anything today," said Navy head coach Richie Meade. "We made good decisions and I was particularly pleased with the way we controlled the ball at attack.

"We've been working hard over the last several weeks to improve and I think we are accomplishing that. We were able to get a lot of guys playing time today and hopefully the game experience will pay off down the line for some of our young players."

"Certainly the better team won today," said first-year head coach Kevin Cassese. "Navy's poles extended so far out, we couldn't execute our game plan. They were terrific today."

Much like Saturday's game at Lafayette, the Mids opened up a four-goal lead by the early minutes of the second quarter. Moran punched in a pair of goals, including the game's opening goal just 1:05 into the contest. His goal at 13:30 in the second, a nicely-played bouncer, pushed Navy's lead to 4-0. Mirabito, meanwhile, fed Navy's final three goals in the run.

Lehigh briefly interrupted Navy's run when Max Dahlem fired in a shot off an unsettled play at 8:29. Navy keeper Matt Coughlin (Brightwaters, N.Y.), who finished the day with six saves, came out of the goal to help run down a loose ball. After Lehigh came up with the ball, Coughlin dashed back to the cage where he barely got squared off before Dahlem turned a defender and scored his ninth goal of the year.

Navy answered seven minutes later when senior Clement scored an extra-man goal off a pass from none other than Mirabito. His goal at 1:39 was the first of six straight goals for the Mids.

The Mids ended the half leading 6-1 after Clement tucked in his second goal with just 14 ticks remaining in the opening half. Coughlin stepped up and made a sensational save against defenseman Dan Honeywell that sent Coughlin to the ground. Coughlin scooped up the ball and sent the outlet pass to Paul who was stationed at mid-field. Paul sprinted to the box and made the pass to Clement who sent it sailing over the shoulder of Lehigh keeper Eric Spirko.

Navy outscored Lehigh 4-0 in the third quarter, which featured several impressive plays by the Midshipmen. Paul fired a shot at 12:17 that came out of his stick so hard and so fast, Spirko never moved and reacted only after the ball has behind him. Less than a minute later, Lehigh was called for being offside. Junior defensive midfielder Geoff Leone quickly grabbed the ball as the official blew his whistle, throwing the ball from the sideline to Mirabito, who was unmarked on the crease, and Mirabito one-timed it past Spirko.

The Midshipmen owned a 10-1 lead after three quarters and went on to outscore the Mountain Hawks 4-2 in the final stanza. Two of the four goals were scored by faceoff specialists Mikelis Visgauss (Setauket, N.Y.) and Dan Decker (Randallstown, Md.) who each won the draw and took it to the cage. For Decker, it was his first collegiate goal. Meanwhile, also scoring his first collegiate goal was rookie Brian Striffler (Virginia Beach, Va.) who score the first goal of the fourth quarter for the Midshipmen at the 10-minute mark.

Navy has won 15 consecutive Patriot League games and holds a 30-2 record against league opponents since joining the league in 2004. The Mids have won four straight Patriot League Tournament titles and have risen to the top as the team to beat.

"I guess it's a compliment for people to put a target on your back as the team to beat," said Meade.

The Mids will be back in action on Saturday when they face Holy Cross at 1:00 pm Eastern, 12:00 pm Central in The Patriot Cup held at Texas Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. The Navy-Holy Cross contest is part of a four-game event that features a pair of high school games, as well as two Div. I college contests. The Episcopal School of Dallas and St. Mary's (Annapolis) High Schools will open the day with a game at 9:30 am, followed by Navy-Holy Cross at 12:00 pm, followed by a 3:00 pm tilt between Rutgers and Army and the Highland Park, Memphis University School game wraps the day at 5:30 pm. There will not be radio coverage of the contest, however, fans who are unable to attend the game can follow along via Gametracker on www.NavySports.com(.)