ANNAPOLIS, Md. — For a second consecutive year, Georgetown attack Jeff Fountain drove a dagger through the hearts of the Navy lacrosse faithful as his goal just under two minutes into overtime guided the Hoyas (2-0) to a 9-8 victory over the Mids (1-1) at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A classic Navy-Georgetown battle, Saturday’s contest marked the sixth time in the last seven meetings the game has been decided by one goal and ironically all six have been won by the Hoyas. Four of the six have gone into extra minutes, including each of the last three games played in Annapolis (2008, 2010, 2014). Additionally, each of the last three games have been won by Georgetown by a final score of 9-8.
“It was a heck of a game, first and foremost,” said third-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “You had two solid teams and it was just a great battle. It was one of those games where you hate to see someone lose. It seems like Georgetown just has Navy’s number.”
Added Sowell, “Overall I was very proud of the effort our team put forward. I was proud of them. We are on the right course. I really do believe there is success ahead for this team.”
Navy got on the scoreboard first (13:02, 1 Qtr) when senior attack Sam Jones’ (Annapolis, Md.) five-yard shot was initially saved by junior keeper Jack Haley and took a hop off the ground and back into the net. The two teams exchanged goals over the remainder of the period with the Mids taking a 2-1 advantage into the second quarter.
Georgetown was able to score a pair of goals in the first two minutes of the second stanza to quickly shift the momentum into the sticks of the Hoyas. An exchange of turnovers between both teams on the offensive end of the field for the Hoyas left Navy’s goal unmanned and Peter Conley was quick to feed Devon Lewis for the game-tying goal at 13:25. Just six seconds later, Georgetown’s Tyler Knarr claimed the first of his 12 faceoff wins on the day and fed Conley to give the Hoyas a 3-2 advantage.
Navy was able to even the game midway through the quarter when Georgetown freshman defender Michael Mayer was unable to corral a loose ball in front of the Hoyas’ goal and Jones quickly picked the ball up and poked it in the net.
Georgetown, however, outscored the Mids 3-0 over the final minutes to take a 6-3 lead into the half.
The Hoyas kept it rolling in the third when junior midfielder Charles McCormick, who was suspended for the first quarter of play in the game, fired in his second goal of the afternoon, pushing the lead to four at 7-3 with 9:26 to play in the third quarter.
After being outscored 6-1 over better than 20 minutes of action, a transition goal at 8:19 in the third by Navy defensive midfielder Alex Heyward (Charlotte, N.C.) sparked a 3-0 run by the Mids. It was Heyward’s first collegiate goal as now 12 players have scored goals for the Midshipmen this season.
Navy clipped the Hoyas’ lead to 7-5 when Jones picked up by the ball off a saved shot by teammate Austin Heneveld(East Hampton, N.Y.) and tossed it in the back of the net at 13:38 in the fourth. The Mids then got to within one when sophomore attack T.J. Hanzsche (Berwyn, Pa.) scored off a pick by defenseman Nik Mullen (Wading River, N.Y.) in transition.
Georgetown pushed its lead back to two (8-6) with 7:04 to play when Fountain won a foot race against Mullen and fired off a shot from the left corner.
Navy, though, continued to fight back and with 4:59 Hanzsche fired in his second goal of the game to again trim the Hoyas’ lead to one.
With 1:44 left in regulation, Navy was flagged for a cross check, giving the Hoyas their sixth extra-man opportunity. Following a flurry of shots by Reilly O’Connor, Navy defensive midfielder Brendan Gaine (Bay Shore, N.Y.) was able to come up with the loose ball and was off to the races. Gaine sent a pass to pole Pat Kiernan (Ridgewood, N.J.) in mid-stride who then found Jones at the top of the box. Jones made the extra pass to Hanzsche who was set up five yards out on the right side and Hanzsche scored the game-tying goal with the Mids a man down with just 53 seconds remaining in the game setting up the extra frame. It was the second straight game Navy has scored a man-down goal.
Knarr’s faceoff win gave Georgetown possession to begin overtime and with 2:42 a 30-second timer-on was assessed to the Hoyas. Possession should have expired at 2:12, however, the officials never blew the whistle and instead Fountain curled around the left side of the goal and fired off a spectacular low-to-low shot to lead the Hoyas to victory with 2:08 on the clock.
“The officials told us there were two seconds left and then they said seven, so I really don’t know how much time was left,” said Sowell regarding Georgetown’s timer-on possession. “It was just unfortunate we didn’t have a chance to win it at the end. My team fought their way back into the game, but Georgetown made the play when they needed it, so give them credit.”
Jones finished the game with a team-high tying three goals and one assist. Jones, who registered his 12th career hat trick, moved into 20th on the Mids’ career points list with 116. Hanzsche, meanwhile, produced his second collegiate hat trick and extended his point and goal-scoring streak to a team-best eight straight games.
Sophomore keeper John Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) made a career-high 17 saves, marking the best day in goal for a Navy goalie since Nolan Hickey stopped 18 shots against Bucknell a year ago.
Rookie Brady Dove (Stevensville, Md.) won eight of the 19 draws he took against Knarr who was among the nation’s leaders a year ago. Dove won six of the 10 draws in the opening half, but Knarr was able to adjust in the second half and Dove went on to win just twice among his nine second half faceoffs.
Jeff Fountain, Peter Conley, Devon Lewis and Charlie McCormick scored two goals apiece for the Hoyas, while Conley added a pair of assists.
The Mids open Patriot League play next Saturday when they travel to Lewisburg, Pa. to battle Bucknell at Christy Mathewson Stadium beginning at 3:00 pm .