EASTON, Pa. — Sophomore attackman Tucker Hull (Charlotte, N.C.) punched in three goals and dealt out five assists to lead the Navy men’s lacrosse team (2-3, 1-1 Patriot League) to a 12-7 victory over Patriot League foe Lafayette (2-3, 0-1 PL) Saturday afternoon at Rappolt Field in Easton, Pa. A strong offensive display by the Mids which featured goals by eight different players helped Navy snap a three-game skid and give it its first conference win of the season.
Navy is the first team to score double digits against the Leopards this season as Lafayette came into the game ranked third nationally in scoring defense, giving up just 6.50 per game.
“It feels awfully good to get back in the win column,” said first-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “We came into the game committed to playing a second midfield and go a little deeper at attack and defense and I was thrilled to see it play out as it did. We received some solid contributions from a good number of players today.
“We made no bones about it, we felt like today’s game was critical,” added Sowell. “Having lost three in a row, we needed to get this win especially with such a big stretch coming up this week with games against Towson and Holy Cross. We are taking it a game at a time, but we needed this win in the worst way and I was proud of the guys for stepping up and getting it done.”
Sophomore midfielder Pat Durkin (Germantown, Md.) put the Midshipmen on the scoreboard first, taking a Jordan Seivold (Tampa, Fla.) pass and sticking it past Lafayette keeper Andrijko Andrusko from seven yards out at the 11:13 mark in the first. Lafayette, however, answered with back-to-back goals just 46 seconds apart, taking a 2-1 lead with just over eight minutes remaining in the opening period. The Mids evened the score at two all when Hull fed rookie Gabe Voumard (Cape May, N.J.) who put a nice move on his defender at the crease, scoring his first goal in a Navy uniform.
The Mids took the lead at 3-2 when Hull once again found Voumard open for a three-yard beauty up the middle at the 12:38 mark in the second. The Leopards, though, tied the game right back up a minute later when Doug Prusoff used a roll dodge to get free of Navy short stick midfielder Jay Mann (Cockeysville, Md.), creating enough space for the unassisted goal.
Navy took the lead for good when pole Pat Kiernan (Ridgewood, N.J.) intercepted a Lafayette pass and threw an outlet pass the length of the field to senior co-captain Taylor Reynolds (Babylon, N.Y.) who immediately found sophomore attackman Austin Heneveld (East Hampton, N.Y.) on the crease. it marked Heneveld’s first goal of the season and gave the Mids a 4-3 lead with 5:38 to go.
The Mids went on the score two goals in the final minute of the first half with Bryce Dabbs (Damascus, Md.) sending a worm burner up the middle from 8 yards out off an assist from Hull. Following an RJ Wickham (Penn Yan, N.Y.) save with 15 seconds left, Wickham got his outlet pass to Kiernan who again sent a long pass down field to sophomore Sam Jones (Annapolis, Md.). Jones quickly fed Hull who was standing on the crease to give the Midshipmen a 6-3 lead at the half.
Navy wasted little time in adding to their lead, as co-captain Logan West (Berlin, Md.) won the opening draw of the second half and got the ball to Hull. Hull dealt the assist to Kiernan, the trail man, who fired in his second goal of the season.
The Leopards weren’t giving up, however, as Lafayette scored the next two goals, including an extra-man strike with 4:25 to play in the quarter, to cut the lead back to two at 7-5.
The Mids, who have struggled in the fourth quarter this season, made a statement by scoring four goals in just over three minutes to open the final stanza and salt away the game. Hull played a huge role in the run, scoring two goals and adding an assist on a third. Had senior middie Nikk Davis (Cockeysville, Md.) not dodged his defenseman to get free, Hull would have been credited with a second assist as he found Davis who tabbed his second goal of the year.
Hull, who produced his fourth hat trick of the season, led all scorers with his eight-point performance. His five assists not only go down as a career high, it also marked the most assists by a Navy player since Andy Warner distributed six in last year’s win over Towson. Voumard and Kiernan finished the game with two goals apiece, while Bryce Dabbs (Damascus, Md.), Davis, Reynolds, Durkin and Heneveld also chipped in goals for the Mids.
Kiernan played one of the best games of his young career. While he notched a pair of goals, defensively he caused four Lafayette turnovers and picked up five ground balls.
“Pat makes a huge impact in the game for us,” said Sowell. “We definitely felt it when he went out with his broken hand. It took him a few weeks to get back into it, but to have him back in game shape mades a big, big difference for us. It’s definitely good to have him on our side!”
Junior close defenseman Austin Miller (North Bethesda, Md.) turned in a pair of takeaways and picked up three ground balls. Meanwhile, Wickham surrendered seven goals while making 11 saves in goal.
Lafayette was led by Prusoff, Colin Serling and Will Heffernan who scored two goals apiece, while Andrusko and Jake Hyatt split time in goal where the tandem made a combined six saves and each gave up six goals.
The Midshipmen will be back in action on Tuesday when they make the short trip to Towson, Md. to face the Tigers of Towson at 7:30 pm. The game will be carried live by AM1570 WNST.net.