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Short-Handed Midshipmen Deal With Adversity, Crush Leopards

Navy 14, Lafayette 1

By Christian Swezey
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, March 16, 2005; Page D02

For those looking for parallels, Navy's 14-1 lacrosse victory over Lafayette yesterday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium was the same score by which Navy beat the Leopards last year en route to its first NCAA title game appearance since 1975.

The similarities end there. Navy faceoff specialist Chris Pieczonka (bruised shoulder) and second-leading scorer Jon Birsner (back spasms) didn't play yesterday, though each is expected back soon.

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Senior starting defenseman Pat Reilley is not. He broke his thumb in an 8-7 overtime loss to Bucknell last Saturday and is expected to be out at least four weeks. Sophomore backup goalie Colin Finnegan also is out indefinitely after violating academy rules. In going to the national title game last year, Navy starters missed a combined two games.

"We had things going our way for a long time," Navy Coach Richie Meade said. "Now we get to see how we deal with a little adversity."

They dealt fine with it yesterday. Sophomore William Wallace went 13 for 13 on faceoffs and scored a goal, and sophomore Tommy Wallin added three goals for the No. 6 Midshipmen (4-1, 1-1 Patriot League).

Sophomore Billy Looney's goal with four-tenths of a second left in the first quarter gave Navy a 2-0 lead. The advantage was 6-0 following a goal by freshman Nick Morabito with 6 minutes 15 seconds left in the first half. Brad Seifert scored for Lafayette (0-5, 0-1).

Losing to Bucknell "was definitely a wake-up call," Looney said. "They beat us. We just had to get back to work."

The regular season champion will host the Patriot League tournament, the winner of which gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Navy would have to win the rest of its league games -- including over No. 8 Army on April 16 -- and hope that Bucknell loses at least once to have a chance to host. In a three-way tie, the tiebreaker is the goal differential in games among the top three teams.

"I don't expect to lose another Patriot League game," Meade said.

• MARYLAND 14, BUCKNELL 10: Brendan Healy scored three goals and Bill McGlone added two goals and two assists for the Terrapins (3-1) against the host Bison (2-2).

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