Navy lacrosse holds Johns Hopkins to two goals in emotional upset

April 21, 2012

The Navy lacrosse team’s season likely ended on Saturday with the Brigade of Midshipmen storming the field and engulfing senior goalie R. J. Wickham. Unranked Navy had just defeated No. 6 Johns Hopkins, 8-2, before 11,917 at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The Midshipmen (6-6) did not qualify for the Patriot League tournament and have virtually no chance of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. If this were the end, it was far from melancholy: Navy held Johns Hopkins to its lowest goal total in the series since 1925 and had its largest margin of victory over the Blue Jays since 1965.

Wickham finished with 18 saves, sophomore Sam Jones scored three goals and sophomore Pat Kiernan had six groundballs and caused two turnovers.

“I couldn’t be more proud and honored to be a captain of this team,” senior Taylor Reynolds said. “Before the game we told the guys we had one last time to be together and to leave it out on the field. I think the game speaks for itself about whether we did that or not.”

Navy’s defense — Kiernan, seniors Matt Vernam and Ian Crumley and junior Austin Miller — was so dominating that of the two goals it gave up, one came on what appeared to be an illegal dive shot by junior Zach Palmer on an extra-man chance in the second quarter. The other came on a 12-yard bounce shot by reserve midfielder Greg Edmonds late in the fourth quarter.

By then, Navy was on its way to a special victory. The last time the Blue Jays (9-3) played here, in 2010, their 36-game winning streak in the series ended with an overtime loss. On Saturday, the Navy seniors became the first class since 1974 to defeat Johns Hopkins twice.

“I told the guys that last week [a 9-6 loss to Army that was tied in the fourth quarter] for 50 minutes that was the most fun I’ve had in coaching in a long, long time,” said Rick Sowell, Navy’s first-year coach. “Today I wanted it to be 60 minutes, and it was.”

GEORGETOWN 10, SYRACUSE 8: Brian Casey (Georgetown Prep) scored three goals and had an assist to lead the visiting Hoyas (6-6, 2-3 Big East) past the Orange (7-6, 3-2).

It was the 10th time in the past 12 games that the outcome has been decided by three goals or less.

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