Navy vs. Saint Joseph's
February 17, 2007
The Game Story:
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy junior attackman Nick Mirabito produced his eighth-collegiate hat trick to lead the ninth-ranked Navy men's lacrosse team (1-0) to a 10-3 victory over Saint Joseph's (0-2) Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Celebrating its 100th season of lacrosse, Navy now owns an 84-15-1 record (.845) in season openers and has won six in a row dating back to its 16-2 victory over Saint Joseph's in 2002.

"I think everything is going to be hard for us this year, but that's part of coaching a young team," said head coach Richie Meade, who earned his 100th win at the Academy. "I thought it was a pretty good start for us. Had we shot the ball better in the first half, it would have been a much different ball game. I think it was a combination of their goalkeeper playing a very good game and we didn't shoot very well. Once we got to a three-goal lead, it changed how Saint Joseph's played."

Navy got on the board quickly with an unassisted score by freshman midfielder Basil Daratsos (Niskayuna, N.Y.) just 1:10 into the contest. Nine minutes later, Saint Joseph's senior Mike O'Neill found a gap and evened the score.

The Hawks took their only lead of the game at the 8:12 mark in the second period when middie Alex McColough fed sophomore attack Alex Lopes for the go-ahead goal. Navy, though, went on to score three-consecutive goals, including a back-to-back markers 15 seconds apart to take a 4-2 lead. Senior attack Ian Dingman (Deferiet, N.Y.) rippled the net at 7:07 to knot the game at two apiece, before Terence Higgins (Chappaqua, N.Y.) and Matt Guido (North Caldwell, N.J.) scored at 5:34 and 5:19, respectively. Saint Joseph's closed the gap at the end of the first half to 4-3 when O'Brien fed his second goal of the afternoon, this one to rookie midfielder Peter Slowik.

Navy's defense, anchored by senior goalkeeper Colin Finnegan (Arnold, Md.), held Saint Joseph's scoreless in the second half, as the Midshipmen outscored the Hawks, 6-0. Dingman tacked on his second goal of the day just four minutes into the third quarter off an assist by second-year defensive midfielder Geoff Leone (Massapequa, N.Y.). With his pair of goals, Dingman inched closer to the 150-career points mark as he currently owns 148 points in four seasons. Meanwhile, it marked Leone's first points in a Navy uniform.

Mirabito scored his first of three second-half goals at the 10:29 mark in the third quarter, as freshman Tim Paul (Parkton, Md.) provided the assist. Mirabito, who has recorded 17 multi-goal games in his career, has produced a goal or an assist in every game (32) he has played at Navy.

Higgins found Guido with 4:03 remaining in the third quarter, as Guido turned in his first-collegiate multi-goal performance.

Mirabito gave Navy a 9-3 lead with back-to-back goals at 12:58 and 11:42 in the final quarter before Paul punched in his first goal in a Blue & Gold uniform at 7:56 to post the final 10-3 margin.

Navy finished the contest with a 47-18 advantage in shots, while also edging the Hawks in ground balls, 41-30. The Mids' face-off game was strong, as William Wallace (Bloomfield Village, Mich.) (4-6), Mikelis Visgauss (Setauket, N.Y.) (5-7) and Dan Decker (Randallstown, Md.) (2-2) combined to win 11 of the 15 draws.

Navy's defense held Saint Joseph's without an extra-man goal on its three tries, while Finnegan earned his first-collegiate win in goal by making nine stops, six of those in the second half.

The Midshipmen return to action next Saturday when they travel to Easton, Pa., to face Lafayette in their Patriot League opener. Action is set for 1:00 pm at Rappolt Field.