Navy vs. Penn State
April 12, 2002
The Game Story:
Five-Goal Third Period Propels No. 15 Navy Lacrosse To Victory

4/12/2002

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The 15th-ranked Navy lacrosse team scored five goals in the third period, sparking the Mids to a crucial 9-7 victory over ECAC rival and 17th-ranked Penn State before 2,068 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Friday night.

"We had a very good effort tonight," said Navy (5-3, 3-2 ECAC) head coach Richie Meade. "Our defense did a remarkable job by holding Penn State's offense to seven goals. We took control of the game in the third period, and I don't think we felt like they would come back on us."

Navy's Adam Reel (So./Hampstead, N.H.) opened the scoring 7:59 into the game when he fired an unassisted tally past Nittany Lions (5-5, 0-4 ECAC) goalkeeper Chris Garrity -- an Annapolis native. Penn State's Sean Droogan knotted the game at 1-1 with 4:24 remaining in the opening frame, and neither team would score again for the next 14-plus minutes.

Joe Bossi (So./Skaneateles, N.Y.) scored on a Graham Gill (Fr./Medford, N.J.) pass with 4:27 to in the first half to put the Mids ahead, 2-1. However, Nittany Lions freshman Will Jones tallied just 46 seconds later to tie the game at two goals apiece before halftime.

Navy began its five-goal third period just 17 seconds in when defenseman Marshall Croft (Sr./Richmond, Va.) scored on his first-career shot. Team captain Eddie McKinnon (Sr./Davidsonville, Md.) upped the Mids' lead to 4-2 46 seconds later on Greg Conklin's (Jr./Syracuse, N.Y.) first-of-three assists on the evening.

McKinnon scored Navy's third-consecutive goal with 7:32 to go in the third off a pass from Dan Neverosky (Jr./Blue Bell, Pa.) to put the Mids up 5-2 before Penn State's Will Driscoll stopped the run with a tally of his own nine seconds later. Navy's Dan Kretz (Jr./East Setauket, N.Y.) scored with 5:48 to go in the period on a Conklin pass, and Ben Bailey (So./Memphis, Tenn.) completed the Midshipmen's third-period romp with an unassisted tally exactly two minutes later.

Driscoll scored the second of his four goals on the night 33 seconds into the fourth period to slice Navy's lead to 7-4. Conklin scored on a set-up from Bailey 22 seconds later to push the Navy lead back to four. However, PSU's Tim Emmick scored an extra-man goal with 9:22 remaining to cut the Mids' lead to 8-5.

McKinnon completed his hat trick one minute later off a Conklin pass to put his team up 9-5. Driscoll tallied twice more, once with 6:34 remaining and once with 3:31 to go in the game, to pull the Nittany Lions to within two goals (9-7) of Navy. But the Navy defense, led by back-to-back saves by Kelly Award candidate Jon Higdon (Sr./Edgewater, Md.), held the visitors scoreless the rest of the way.

A great deal of the Mids' success in their traditional possession offense can be attributed to the face-off skills of junior Chris Dingman (Deferiet, N.Y.). Dingman, who entered the game as the country's 19th-leading draw man, won 14 of his 18 draws on the night -- including 10-of-13 in the second half.

"Chris did a great job facing off tonight," said Meade, whose team next plays Tuesday afternoon at Mount St. Mary's (4 p.m.). "He has been really focused in that department this year, and (assistant coach) Mark Goers has done a tremendous job in helping him out. Chris will be a big part of our game strength for the rest of the season if he can continue at this pace."

Higdon turned aside 11 shots in picking up his sixth victory of the season, while Garrity made 13 stops for the Nittany Lions.

With McKinnon's three goals, he now has 72 goals and 43 assists in his Navy career. His 115 points tie him with Karl Rippelmeyer (1958-60) for 16th on the school's all-time scoring list. Ironically, Rippelmeyer also registered 72 goals and 43 assists during his time in the Navy Blue and Gold.