ANNAPOLIS — The margin in Navy’s 6-5 loss to Johns Hopkins in men’s lacrosse Friday night before 8,655 at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium was so thin that the Midshipmen led in most statistical categories, including goals celebrated.
Against the sixth-ranked Blue Jays (9-3), Navy had advantages in shots, groundballs, faceoff wins and clearing percentage, and it committed fewer turnovers.
But in the final home game for the program’s 13 seniors, the Midshipmen (4-8) were left to rue two apparent goals that set off celebrations in the stands and on the sideline but wound up — correctly — not counting.
Both involved senior Sam Jones and junior Gabe Voumard.
In the final seconds of the first half, Voumard appeared to score on a point-blank shot following a cross-field pass from Jones.
It didn’t count because the Blue Jays had called a timeout before Jones’s pass. Moreover, replays showed the ball hadn’t crossed the goal line before the half expired anyway.
Voumard’s night — and Navy’s — got more interesting with 9 minutes 50 seconds to play.
The Midshipmen trailed 6-4 when Voumard appeared to score on a long shot off another cross-field pass from Jones. The Navy players celebrated, the music inside the stadium began blaring and the public address announcer announced a Navy goal.
But Johns Hopkins senior goalie Eric Schneider knew something no one else did — he had made the save.
A referee saw Schneider with the ball and made the call for play to continue.
“It tipped off my stick and hit the pipe and bounced onto the back of my stick,” Schneider said. “I was looking around for it. . . . I heard the song go on, so I was a little confused.”
Navy closed to 6-5 on a goal by senior Tucker Hull, assisted by Jones, with 5:27 to play. Navy had three possessions after the goal to tie the game.
But on the first, Schneider made a strong save on Hull; the second ended on a save by Schneider off a shot by Voumard; and the final chance, with 20 seconds to play, ended on a turnover by senior Austin Heneveld.
Senior Brandon Benn finished with four goals for the Blue Jays, and Schneider added 17 saves.
Jones had a goal and two assists for the Midshipmen.
The game turned into a duel between Schneider and Navy sophomore goalie John Connors. In Navy’s 8-2 victory over the Blue Jays in Annapolis in 2012, then-goalie R.J. Wickham tied his career high with 18 saves.
Connors looked every bit as tough for the Blue Jays to figure out and finished with 14 saves.
The win ended an unusual streak for Johns Hopkins; the Blue Jays hadn’t won at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since 2008.
Since then, the Blue Jays had lost twice to Navy and twice more in the NCAA tournament.
“We found a way to win,” Johns Hopkins Coach Dave Pietramala said. “The last two groups we had who came here couldn’t find a way to do that. So I give this group credit.”
The night was a frustrating end for Jones, a Severna Park High grad. His father and grandfather had both been standout lacrosse players at Navy; both joined him on the field for a pregame ceremony. Jones did what he could, including forcing a turnover with less than a minute to play to give Navy one last chance to tie.
“I’ve been going to games here since I was 7 years old,” Jones said. “It’s definitely emotional. This is a special place.”