Annapolis, MD - The Navy Midshipmen used a six goal run and never looked back against Patriot League rival Colgate, 15-10 on an overcast chilly day in Annapolis. Four players registered four points for Navy, led by Comcast Player of the Game William Wallace (4g, 13 of 19 facing off), with the help of Basil Daratsos (4g), Ian Dignman (3g, 1a) and Billy Looney (1g, 3a). Kevin Colleluori led the late charge by Colgate with five goals on the day.
Navy’s only Patriot League loss in 2006 came at the hands of Colgate on a frigid day in New York, 6-3. Undoubtedly with that loss in mind, Navy flew out of the gates early. Even though Colgate came on sporadically, the outcome never seemed to be in doubt after Navy’s 6-0 run to start the game. Basil Daratsos got his first two on the day in the first two minutes of the game, that was followed by a Bruce Nechanicky unassisted goal a minute later. Three minutes in and Navy had a three goal lead. Colgate would tighten up slightly, temporarily holding off the Navy attack. It wasn’t until Tommy Wallin found Billy Looney with 5:03 to go in the first period that they were able to notch their fourth goal. Six seconds later, William Wallace had won the face-off and put Navy’s 5th goal in.
While a 5-0 first quarter is bad enough, Colgate was lucky to have it only be a five goal lead. Freshman goalie Tim Harrington only had 11 saves in his 43:35 of play, which was surprising, because it seemed like he came up with a lot more than just 11 saves. Regardless, 8 of those 11 came in that first quarter, which was completely dominated by Navy. Colgate was out shot in the opening quarter 16-4, only managing two of them on cage, which Navy goalie Colin Finnegan easily turned away.
Driven with the thought of revenge, Navy was playing 100 mph from the opening whistle. After the initial sluggishness, Colgate tried to match the intensity, opening up the door for the man-up units to get an awful lot of work. On the whole Colgate took advantage of the seven man-up opportunities they were given by converting goals on five of them. Navy did an admirable job converting three of their eight chances. Credit Colgate’s man-down unit, because any one of Navy’s man-up players was looking to, and capable, of ripping a shot if given the opportunity. Midfielders William Wallace and Billy Looney demonstrated their cannons often. Looney only got 4 of his 10 shots on cage, while Wallace got 6 of his 11 on cage, putting in 4 of those.
Overall, outside of cutting it to 6-3 midway through the 2nd quarter, Navy never left it in doubt. The Colgate offense of the second half hardly resembled the one that came out in the first half. Part of the credit can go to the Navy longpoles as they were pressuring the Colgate offense all over the field and putting a lot of balls on the ground. In the second half with some of the pressure off, the Colgate offense looked calm and started to dictate their style of play, rather than the panicked, rushed feel they had early.
A bright spot for Colgate was the return of face-off specialist Chris Eck. Eck is returning from a Lisfranc injury and saw his first extensive game time today. Having established himself as one of the major face-off threats in the Patriot League, he got off to a slow start today. As the Colgate team as a whole settled down, Eck started to get into a rhythm at the face-off circle. William Wallace did well early against Eck, and then stepped aside in the 2nd quarter. He was busy with is many other duties, which today included scoring four goals. Against Navy’s other face-off men, Eck started to dominate. It wasn’t until Colgate had started to climb back in did Navy go back to Wallace, but not before trying Thomas Zimmerman, a longpole, to tie Eck up. When Wallace returned in the second half to the face-off circle, he limited Eck’s effectiveness. While Eck was still controlling the draw, Wallace, being quicker on his feet than Eck, was able to box him out or beat him to the looseballs. The Navy wingmen Terence Higgins and Victor Barger also did a good job shutting Colgate down and grabbed 7 groundballs between them. Ultimately Wallace went 13-of-19, while Eck won 12-of-23. The controlling of the draw was heavily in Eck’s favor, but that’s not how possessions or face-offs are scored and Wallace earned most of his 10 groundballs fighting Eck.
Colgate still doesn’t seem to be set on a goalie as sophomore Brian Cain has started three games and appeared in five for the Raiders, while freshman Tim Harrington has started four and appeared in five. Today was Harrington’s day and he played well, despite giving up 13 goals. The Navy offense was on today, crisply moving the ball and attacking from all angles for their 2nd highest total of the year. Cain also made a couple of nice saves in relief of Harrington, but wasn’t tested much in his 16:25 of play. By the time he entered the game, Navy had a comfortable lead and was effectively playing stall ball.
Undefeated Navy travels up to Pennsylvania on Sunday to take on the surging Bison of Bucknell. While Bucknell’s 7-1 record isn’t representative of the toughest strength of schedule, they have still beaten quality opponents and will be looking to make some noise in the Patriot League starting Sunday. Navy doesn’t have an easy game left on their schedule and will certainly come out firing for this one, as the easiest way into the tournament is to win your league. A win will put them in great position for the top seed in the league and put the onus on Army to beat Bucknell again before they play Navy on the 14th.
Don’t count Colgate out just yet. They showed that they do have the potential up-and-down the field at times today. Navy’s athleticism at the midfield and attack really overmatched them today, but a smart game plan and more controlled possessions early could have made this a very competitive game. They will have to learn how to get that going from the opening whistle. A good chance to make some noise and give their season some momentum is a trip to #2 Albany next Tuesday for a non-league game. From there, they still have a lot of Patriot League lacrosse left to play. If one of their goalies steps up and they get going sooner rather than later, they have the potential to make a run.
|Basil Daratsos||(4, 0)|
|Ian Dingman||(3, 1)|
|Billy Looney||(1, 3)|
|William Wallace||(4, 0)|
|Nick Mirabito||(2, 0)|
|Matt Guido||(0, 1)|
|Bruce Nechanicky||(1, 0)|
|Tommy Wallin||(0, 1)|
|Colin Finnegan||12 (0.545)|