BALTIMORE — The Navy lacrosse team’s game plan against second-ranked Johns Hopkins — win faceoffs and be patient on offense — was in shambles from the outset of its 14-5 loss before 4,682 at Homewood Field on Saturday night.
Johns Hopkins won the first 10 faceoffs and held Navy without a shot on goal for the first 25 minutes 32 seconds. By the time Navy had a shot on goal, it trailed, 8-0.
The Midshipmen (4-9) clinched the most losses in a season in school history; the program began in 1910. The mark had been tied by last year’s team.
Navy faced long odds to avoid the distinction on Saturday night. Johns Hopkins (10-2) remembered well its 9-8 overtime loss to the Midshipmen last year. The loss ended Johns Hopkins’ 36-game winning streak in the series.
That motivation was matched with a rare night game at Homewood Field and the presence of numerous major donors for the groundbreaking of a new lacrosse facility at halftime.
Navy, meantime, entered knowing its season would end Saturday night, win or lose. For the first time, Navy failed to qualify for the Patriot League tournament.
The difference in motivation was stark. In the first half, Johns Hopkins senior Matt Dolente won all 10 faceoffs. His dominance gave the Blue Jays the ball for 9:53 in the first quarter and 9:33 in the second.
And that possession translated into goals. At halftime, the Blue Jays led, 10-0.
“From the first time they touched the ball, you could tell they were all focused,” Navy Coach Richie Meade said of the Blue Jays.
“I am proud we came out battling in the second half,” Meade added. “Obviously a team that has a 10-0 lead is going to let down a little. But we kept playing. . . . I am very disappointed. I feel like we are a better team than our record shows.”
The Midshipmen came back briefly in the second half.
Junior Logan West won the opening faceoff of the third quarter and freshman Sam Jones scored to cut the deficit to 10-1.
But Dolente won the next two faceoffs and goals from senior Kyle Wharton and sophomore John Greeley put the game out of reach.
Senior Sean Dinn led Navy with one goal and one assist. He rejoined the team this year after having played club lacrosse the past two years. Wharton led the Blue Jays with four goals.
The question facing Navy deals with Meade’s future.
Athletic Director Chet Gladchuck is being lobbied by alums on both sides — those who feel Navy should be a national title contender, or at least not tying and then setting the school record for losses in consecutive seasons. Other alums are firmly loyal to Meade and believe Navy will be better next season and that Meade has a rich understanding of the academy and its mission, and seven appearances in the NCA tournament.
“If Richie Meade is not the head coach at Navy next year, it is a crime,” Johns Hopkins Coach Dave Pietramala said. “I don’t think there is anyone who is a better fit for the Naval Academy.”
l YALE 13, GEORGETOWN 8: The Hoyas fell behind early and let the Bulldogs build a six-goal halftime advantage at Multi-Sport Field. Sophomore Davey Emala led the Hoyas (5-7) with three goals.