The Midshipmen ran wild on the Virginia Military Institute Keydets to capture their season opener with a commanding 10-2 victory. Navy exploded with 4 unanswered goals in the third quarter to pull away in front of a vibrant home crowd. Maryland native Tim Paul lead Navy in scoring with 2 Goals, while junior goal keeper Matt Coughlin put together a stellar performance with 7 saves off of 9 shots on goal. VMI attackmen Kevin Hill and Brett Leonard stepped up in the losing effort with 1 goal a piece while Sean McCoy posted 11 saves on the day.
Annapolis, MD This season's opener is the earliest a Naval Academy lacrosse team has started a season, with this game marking the beginning of the 101st season as an NCAA program. These two programs battled for the first time in history in front of a crowd of 2,133 at Navy's Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
It was evident that this was the first game of the season for both teams as they displayed unsettled offenses, trading possessions frequently throughout the first quarter. Navy goalkeeper Matt Coughlin created the first scoring opportunity for the Midshipmen off a line drive outlet pass, extending the full length of the field setting up Sophomore Tim Paul with a right handed low and away shot to start the scoring frenzy with 8:27 remaining in the opening period. The Mids would strike again less than minute later off an unassisted goal by sophomore midfielder Pat Moran. Moran drove his defender down the right ally spotting up for a 15 yard upper 90 ripper.
VMI took the first time out of the game with 6:11 remaining in the first period, with hopes of thwarting Navy's oncoming scoring streak. Out of the huddle it was obvious VMI looked to slow down the pace of the game with long offensive possessions followed by inverts from behind. This strategy was put to short use, as Navy midfielder Shane Durkin scored the third goal of the afternoon and first goal of his collegiate career with 2:04 remaining in the first period. Durkin's shake and bake split dodge was no match for VMI's short stick defender as he cut loose a 12 yard off hip shot past VMI's Sean McCoy. Durkin's goal put and end to the first period putting Navy on top 3-0.
VMI got on the scoreboard early in the second period with an unassisted goal by Senior Attackmen Kevin Hill. Hill dodged from behind the net, beating Navy's defensemen topside while squeezing in a wrap-around shot on Matt Coughlin with 10:32 remaining. Navy would strike again to punish VMI for a turnover with 5:30 left in the second. Sophomore Joe Lennon isolated from up top, dodging his defender and burying an unassisted left handed crank shot into the back of the net. The first penalty of the game occurred with 5:04 remaining in the second quarter. It was committed by Senior Defensemen Brett Whitsitt of VMI for an illegal body check. Navy's EMO was unsuccessful on converting the power play, turning the ball over to VMI. The second penalty of the game came with 45 second left in the half. Navy Midfielder Geoff Leone was cross-checked by VMI Sophomore midfielder Bobby Davis. Again Navy could not score on the stout VMI man-down defense. The Mids entered the locker room with a 4-1 lead at halftime.
VMI started with the ball in the third period, and Navy committed their first penalty with 14:45 left in the third quarter. Navy's Joe McAuliffe was called for a cross-check, but VMI's EMO was unsuccessful. Pre-season All American Nick Mirabito netted his first goal of the season (unassisted) with 11:15 left in the third. Navy continued their scoring drive when Sean Standen's scored his first of two goals on the day. He drove from up top and scored with 7:15 left in the third. Junior midfielder Matt Bitter had a stellar performance on the wings supporting Mikelis Visgauss and Frankie Coppola on face-offs. Navy went 10 for 14 on the day at the face-off “x”.
The next goal was scored by freshman attackman Andy Warner, assisted by Nick Mirabito. Warner scored on a nifty crease cut, and Mirabito found the open man, making it a 7-1 game. With 6:21 left in the third, the scoring continued with #22 Bobby Lennon scoring off of a feed from senior attackman Matt Guido. At the end of the third quarter Navy led 8-1.
Navy was patient on offense, culminating in Tim Paul's second goal of the game. Mirabito found Paul with 9:19 left in the fourth period. Sean Standen had his second goal of the afternoon shortly after that making it a 10-1 game. VMI won the ensuing face-off with 7:41 left in the fourth, but were denied a goal after Matt Coughlin picked off a feed from behind and cleared the ball into the offensive end. VMI scored with 6:06 left in the fourth, when Brett Leonard assisted sophomore midfielder Tim Moran on the Keydets second and final goal of the game. Shortly thereafter spectators could sense the end of the game when with 1:36 remaining in the game, the Brigade of Midshipmen began the familiar chant, “I believe that we will win.”
Player of the game Jordan DiNola, assisted by defensive midfielder Geoff Leone, led a suffocating defensive effort by the Midshipmen holding the Keydets to only two goals on the day. Coach Richie Meade was very pleased with his defense adding “Anytime time you hold a team to two goals, you've had a strong day on defense.” As a young team in transition, this is a good sign that this normally stout defensive team is strong in the offensive zone, and will only continue to get stronger as the season progresses.
|Nick Mirabito||(1, 2)|
|Andy Warner||(1, 1)|
|Sean Standen||(2, 0)|
|Tim Paul||(2, 0)|
|Matt Guido||(0, 1)|
|Shane Durkin||(1, 0)|
|Joe Lennon||(1, 0)|
|Bobby Lennon||(1, 0)|
|Patrick Moran||(1, 0)|
|Matt Coughlin||7 (0.778)|