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Slow Start Comes Back to Haunt Mids in 13-8 Loss to #17 Johns Hopkins

March 7, 2015

Junior attackman Patrick Keena led the Navy charge with 2 goals and 1 assist.

Junior attackman Patrick Keena led the Navy charge with 2 goals and 1 assist.

BALTIMORE, Md. — Seventeenth-ranked Johns Hopkins (3-3) raced out to an 8-1 lead over the Navy men’s lacrosse team (3-3) and despite a furious rally by the Mids in the third quarter, it would be too little, too late as the Blue Jays captured a 13-8 victory over Navy Saturday afternoon at Homewood Field.

“Give Johns Hopkins credit, they jumped on us early,” said fourth-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “I’m not sure why, but we weren’t quite mentally ready at the start of the game. It’s obviously not the result we were looking for, but there were some positives to take away.”

Johns Hopkins opened up a 2-0 lead on Navy just over three minutes into the game thanks to junior middie Connor Reed targeting his 12-yard lefty on the run and a Stanwick-to-Stanwick strike from the crease.

Navy answered quickly when second-line midfielder DJ Plumer (Stevensville, Md.) raced past Hopkins’ Joel Tinney and sent his bounce shot past goalie Eric Schneider. It was just the second career goal for Plumer and his first since the opener against VMI.

While the goal trimmed Hopkins’ lead to one at 2-1, it would be the last goal for the Mids for just over 22 minutes as the Blue Jays rattled off six in a row, including two extra-man goals to extend their lead to seven (8-1) with just under six minutes remaining in the opening half.

As expected, the Mids staged somewhat of a rally with back-to-back goals by freshman Jack Ray (Wycoff, N.J.) and junior Patrick Keena (Vienna, Va.). Ray set up behind the net and bulled his way around the left side of the cage against senior defenseman John Kelly, who stands 6-2, 205 pounds. It was Ray’s seventh goal of the season and the first of his two goals on the afternoon.

Just over a minute later, Hopkins was flagged for a one-minute cross check as well as a one-minute unreleasable penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct by the bench, giving the Mids a two man advantage. Navy hit paydirt when junior midfielder Kevin Wendel (East Islip, N.Y.) found Keena for a shot straight up the gut from 15 yards out as Navy trimmed the lead to five (8-3) going into the break.

Hopkins opened the second half on fire, scoring three goals in just 26 seconds to take its largest lead of the game at eight (11-3).

Navy began to whittle away at the deficit when second-year midfielder Colin Floulacker (Stevensville, Md.) threaded his pass through heavy traffic to junior T.J. Hanzsche (Berwyn, Pa.) for a low-liner goal at 9:06 in the third. That goal sparked a 4-0 run by the Mids that featured goals by four different players and prompted a goalkeeper change in the midst of the quarter.

“We had to make some adjustments at the half, but we really didn’t have the ball an awful lot at the beginning of the game to get in any type of rhythm,” added Sowell. “Once one goes in, you start feeling good about yourself and then another and then another.”

Within four at 11-7, Navy’s defense kept the Blue Jays off the scoreboard for just over 17 minutes before Tinney scored his second of the day and Wells Stanwick capped off his hat trick and put Hopkins up by six with 9:36 to play.

Navy would go on to score the final goal of the game as a transition play triggered by close defenseman Chris Fennell (Milford, N.J.) ended with short stick midfielder and team captain Brendan Gaine (Bay Shore, N.Y.) finding an open Ray at the crease with 1:51. It was Gaine’s first career point.

Keena paced the Mids with three points on two goals and an assist, while Ray turned in two goals for his third consecutive game with multiple goals.

Defensively, junior keeper John Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) managed just six saves on the day as Navy surrendered double digits for the first time this season.

“I need to step up my game,” said Connors, who was named the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week on Monday and the USILA Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday following his performance against Holy Cross a week ago. “They exposed my weaknesses today and it’s something I will definitely be working on come Monday at practice.”

“Defensively … we played too much of it,” said Sowell. “By no means was it all John’s fault. We slid too early at times, they had some skip passes that found the open guy. We had some gaps that we will need to fix moving forward.”

Meanwhile sophomore long pole Matt Rees (Sykesville, Md.) forced a pair of turnovers and picked up five ground balls and Fennell caused a turnover and led the team with seven ground balls.

Sophomore Brady Dove (Stevensville, Md.) (10-17) and freshman Joe Varello (Kings Park, N.Y.) (4-8) combined to win 14 of the 25 draws on the day for the Mids.

Wells Stanwick led all scorers in the game with six points on three goals and three assists, while younger brother, Shack, turned in four points on three goals and one assist. Although he was pulled for just over three minutes in the game, keeper Schneider made 10 saves and surrendered seven of Navy’s eight goals.

The Midshipmen will have little time in dwelling on the loss as they return to Patriot League action on Tuesday night when they make the trip to Easton, Pa. to battle Lafayette beginning at 7:35 pm. Pete Medhurst will be on hand to call the action on 1430 AM / 99.9 FM WNAV, while a free video stream will be provided via NavySports.com or PatriotLeague.tv(.)

### Go Navy ###

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