The Naval Academy Midshipmen overcame a third quarter surge by Army and a 9-9 tie with 10:43 to play in the Star Game, 12-9. They scored the last three goals en route to the win on a surprisingly beautiful afternoon in Annapolis. Billy Looney (2g, 2 a) and Tommy Wallin (1g, 3a) led the way for Navy, while senior Ian Dingman notched three goals. Army had a balanced scoring effort, paced by two goals apiece by sophomore attckmen Brooks Korvin and Jason Peyer and junior midfielder Paul Widgzinski.
Annapolis, MD – The annual meeting between Army and Navy is always met with anticipation. Navy came into the game with a two game losing streak, both one goal losses to Georgetown and in overtime to Maryland. While Army had a similarly frustrating three game losing streak: two goal losses to Hofstra and Colgate and by one to Bucknell. Both teams brought in one of the top defenses in the country: now tied for third in the country with just 6.1 goals allowed per game.
It didn’t take long for Navy to get rolling offensively. They got the ball early, worked it around once until senior midfielder Billy Looney got it up-top, quickly made a left-to-right split dodge and put Navy on the board with a right-handed jump shot from about 15 yards out. The 2nd Team All-American beat Army goalie Adam Fullerton high to the far pipe less than two minutes into the game. From there, the teams would trade possessions. As is common in a typical Army-Navy match-up in any sport, the intensity is high; at times penalties come with that. Army midfielder Paul Widgzinski was called for a one minute slashing penalty at the 9:47 mark. Navy capitalized. They worked it around until William Wallace got a shot and put it away low on the man-up.
Navy’s third goal came off of an errant shot. Midfielder Tommy Wallin was closet to where the ball went out-of-bounds. On the whistle, he drove towards X around a quasi-pick by Ian Dingman. The switch caused confusion in the defenders as they both started to double Wallin. Wallin made the quick pass to Dingman who pushed the corner to his left, turned it and put it away.
Army answered with a nice possession of their own. The Cadets worked it around, when finally sophomore attackman Brooks Korvin drove from behind to his left. He worked a nice question mark dodge back to his right and put the ball past Navy goalie Colin Finnegan’s stick-side hip with 6:20 to play in the 1st quarter. On the ensuing face-off, there was about a 20 second dogfight for a looseball. Nearly every Cadet or Midshipman on the field took part in either getting hit or being hit. It ironically ended with no penalties called and Navy’s ball. Off the dogfight, Navy had a textbook offensive possession. Ian Dingman drove from behind. He looked like he had a step on his man, but drew the slide from the middle. He banged the ball up-top to Billy Looney. Looney, with time and room, looked like he was getting ready to rip a shot. He instead threaded the needle through the defense to attackman Nick Mirabito who was waiting just above the crease. Mirabito handled the pass and put a lefty finish in.
At the end of the first, Navy had a commanding 4-1 lead. While statistically it was a close battle, Navy clearly had control of the game. Army was able to generate some solid possessions on offense, but their efforts didn’t generate too many quality looks. The Navy defense was just too tight early. And when they did get looks on cage, Finnegan was there to bail them out with four saves in the 1st quarter (he would finish with just six on the day). On the other side of the field, Navy was getting quality looks on nearly every possession and Army’s Fullerton had his hands full. His three saves in the first allowed Army to stay close for the run they would eventually make.
Long possessions again were the name of the game for the second quarter. Army possessed the ball for awhile. Midfielder/attackman Justin Bokmeyer himself tried to dodge from all directions without much success. Finally Widgzinski got the ball up-top, drove hard down the right side and put a jump shot in, cutting the lead to 4-2. Following the goal, another fight for the looseball happened at the midfield. This time Army’s Ryan McClure kicked it out and got the groundball. He banged it up to an attackman who had a one-on-one with Finnegan. Finnegan a couple of steps above the crease exploded up and made his one save of the quarter a great one. Finnegan got hit hard gathering the rebound, but hung on to the ball and moved it up-field.
Navy’s 5th goal was Basil Daratsos low to Mirabito up-top with 5:31 remaining in the half. Their 6th goal came at the result of Army’s offense not taking care of the ball. A turnover in Army’s offensive end became a slow break the other way where Tommy Wallin from William Wallace who ripped it in with :32 to play in the half. A mistake by Navy gave Army possession on the next face-off as a delay of game was called because Navy took too long getting lined up. Army took advantage and sent the game into the half 6-3 off a Jason Peyer goal with just :05 left in the half.
Navy didn’t waste much time opening the second half with a quick two goal run. Tim Paul found Basil Daratsos open at the 13:10 mark, while Terence Higgins found Ian Dingman at the 12:41 mark. The run stretched the lead to 8-3. Army came to life after that as the rest of the third quarter was all Army. Justin Bokmeyer answered less than 30 seconds after Dingman’s goal on an unassisted tally as he just beat his defender and shot around Finnegan from the crease.
Army’s next two goals came on great individual efforts and a bit of good fortune. Widgzinski drove and put another jump shot on cage. Finnegan seemingly made the save, but it slowly bounced up over him and trickled across the goal-line for Army’s 5th with 10:53 to play as the Navy longpoles dove to try and stop it. Later, Jason Peyer was out on the wing and tried to tuck his stick under and go to the goal. Finnegan found himself out a little as he appeared to anticipate either sliding himself or just to cut off the angle. The defender checked his stick and put the ball down. Peyer was able to direct it just enough that it slowly rolled past Finnegan. Brooks Korvin added his 2nd goal of the day with 3:43 left and Alex Rhoads added another with 1:17 remaining in the third, both were unassisted. A commanding 8-3 Navy lead was suddenly an 8-8 tie following a little luck and a lot of persistence by Army.
Unfazed, Navy longpole Victor Barger scooped a groundball on the opening face-off of the fourth quarter. He took it down himself and grabbed the lead right back just :13 into the final quarter. Army responded as Justin Bokmeyer found Kevin LoRusso open inside to tie the game at 9 with 10:43 remaining.
That was the last Army would really be heard from on the day. Tommy Wallin backed his defender in, stepped back and put a righty jump shot in taking the lead back for good with 8:31 to play. On a long possession later, Billy Looney ripped a shot, Navy gathered the rebound. Wallin kept the pressure on and started to push it. He found Dingman open as he was popping up to the high crease. Dingman beat the goalie high and took a hit from Army midfielder Zach Jansen. Words were exchanged from the much larger Dingman (listed as 6’4”, 260) and the smaller Jansen (5’7”, 175). Neither backed down and the excited Dingman kept going. He was awarded an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his actions. Luckily, it didn’t hurt Navy as they were able to shut-down the Army man-up. Billy Looney added his 2nd on the day as insurance with 2:01 to go as Navy then ran out the clock.
The win for Navy gives them 10 straight victories in the Star Game over Army, while their senior class is a perfect 6-0 against Army, good for the most wins over Army by a class in Navy Lacrosse history. The game also wrapped up the regular season Patriot League Championship for Navy and means they will host the tournament in tournament in two weeks. Army has also clinched a spot in the conference tournament and that means another rematch between the two rivals on April 27th. In the meantime, both teams have touch match-ups next weekend as Navy heads to take on neighboring rival Johns Hopkins and Army travels down to Durham to play Duke.
|Tommy Wallin||(1, 3)|
|Billy Looney||(2, 2)|
|Ian Dingman||(3, 0)|
|William Wallace||(2, 0)|
|Nick Mirabito||(2, 0)|
|Basil Daratsos||(1, 1)|
|Victor Barger||(1, 0)|
|Tim Paul||(0, 1)|
|Terence Higgins||(0, 1)|
|Colin Finnegan||6 (0.400)|