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Navy lacrosse breaks skid with 12-3 win over Holy Cross

By Christian Swezey
Sunday, March 21, 2010; D04

As sophomores in 2008, Patrick Moran, Joe Lennon and Basil Daratsos ran on the first midfield for the Navy men's lacrosse team. Moran and Lennon were together on the starting midfield last year.

When the Midshipmen took the field for their 12-3 victory over Holy Cross before 3,188 on Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, only Moran was a starter. He was more than enough. Moran finished with a game-high three goals for the Midshipmen (4-4, 3-1 Patriot League).

The academy had been on spring break this past week, but it was a far from relaxing time for the lacrosse team. Navy began the break with a 15-8 loss at Lafayette on March 12. The slump continued on Tuesday: Towson scored a goal with six seconds left to clinch a 10-9 victory.

So the strong performance over the Crusaders (2-6, 1-1) was much-needed. The Midshipmen scored the first seven goals and held Holy Cross scoreless for the first 39 minutes 28 seconds.

"We were 3-4 before this game but it doesn't matter," Moran said. "Everything is in front of us. We have a great opportunity to finish out strong."

Saturday's win may prove important. The Patriot League awards its automatic berth to the NCAA tournament to the team that wins the four-team conference tournament in late April.

And Navy's third conference victory could be telling: No Patriot League team has missed the tournament with three or more conference wins dating from 2005.

Navy altered its offensive lineup yesterday. Junior Kevin Doyle moved from the second midfield to the starting unit, where he joined Moran and sophomore Nikk Davis. Lennon moved to the second unit, with Daratsos and junior Brian Striffler.

The move worked. Doyle, Lennon and Striffler each finished with one goal and one assist.

"Joe and Basil have run together a couple years," Navy Coach Richie Meade said, "and we thought it might jazz them up a little bit."

The Crusaders entered having defeated Colgate, 9-8, the previous Saturday on a goal by freshman James Kennedy with three seconds remaining.

Kennedy was a highly recruited player out of Summit, N.J. Meantime, senior Chris Smirti entered shooting nearly 50 percent (14 of 29) and senior Edison Parzanese, a three-year starter who was injured last year.

Navy's defense was up to the challenge. Sophomore Matt Vernam held Smirti to 0-for-4 shooting; junior Michael Hirsch held Parzanese to 1-for-9 shooting, with three turnovers; and Kennedy was held to no goals and only one shot by sophomore Ian Crumley.

When the Crusaders did get an open look, things didn't improve much. Sophomore goalkeeper R.J. Wickham finished with 16 saves, including at least four on shots from inside four yards.

"Navy played a lot of offense and made it hard for us," Holy Cross Coach Adam Pascal said. "And their goalie got hot. At 3-0 we thought we were in it. But they played very well. Coach Meade has them playing very good defense and possessing the ball."

Senior Brendan Connors scored the opening goal with 1 minute 57 seconds left in the first quarter, which featured a combined 15 turnovers. But Moran scored twice in the second quarter -- both on shots from 15 yards -- and junior Andy Warner added a score for a 4-0 halftime lead that wasn't threatened.

-- MARYLAND 13, UMBC 7: In Catonsville, Md., junior attack Grant Catalino had four goals and three assists as the fifth-ranked Terrapins improved to 6-0 and snapped a three-game losing streak to the host Retrievers (1-5).

Catalino, Travis Reed (two goals, two assists) and Ryan Young (three assists), Maryland's starting attack unit, combined for six goals and eight assists.

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