Georgetown redshirt junior Tyler Knarr neutralized two of Navy’s best players on groundballs at the same time. Knarr won 13 of 19 faceoffs, including the crucial draw in overtime, as the Hoyas defeated Navy, 9-8, before 2,613 at the Multi-Sport Field on Sunday.
Knarr’s performance was such that Navy used a pair of longsticks — junior Pat Kiernan and senior Austin Miller, two of the team’s best on groundballs — on the wings on faceoffs.
It didn’t matter. By the time the pair converged on the play, Knarr usually had won the faceoff cleanly to himself. He finished with 12 groundballs and started numerous fast breaks, including one that led to a goal seven seconds into the game.
“He had our number,” Navy Coach Rick Sowell said of Knarr. “We tried three different guys out there but just couldn’t have a lot of success. Give him a lot of credit. Our guys aren’t bad, they’re working hard, but today wasn’t our day” on faceoffs.
Navy jumped to a 4-1 lead following a goal by junior Sam Jones with 6 minutes 45 seconds left in the first half. Navy (2-2) had two possessions to extend the lead and called a timeout on each possession, yet came up empty on both.
And the Hoyas (1-1) closed to 4-2 on a goal by junior Jeff Fountain with 1:38 left in the first half.
The second half was a tight, defensive struggle. The game was tied at 5, 6, 7 and 8.
In sudden-death overtime, Knarr won the faceoff to himself. Following a timeout, Miller tried to force a turnover by double-teaming a Georgetown player, but Guy caught a pass and found Fountain wide open on the other side of the field.
Fountain made a quick fake and scored 1:56 into overtime.
Fountain finished with three goals and Guy, who was benched for the first half after he was late to a practice this week, had the assist on the tying and winning goals for Georgetown. Jones finished with three goals for Navy.
“I’m happy for the guys,” Georgetown first-year Coach Kevin Warne said. “After the disappointment last week [an overtime loss to Lafayette] we really challenged the guys. Our practices were not easy and we wanted to make sure our guys understood when we got in those situations like we did last week, we could respond.”
The Hoyas played their second overtime game this year.
“Coach [Warne] always says you have 24 hours to think about it after the game and then you’re done with it,” said senior Brian Casey, who finished with two goals and two assists. “That’s what we did. We had a couple days off and then got back at it. We had a lot of contact drills, a lot of groundballs, because Navy likes to play hard and play 60 minutes every time.”
Sunday’s overtime game was the latest in a very tight rivalry between Navy and Georgetown. The past seven games in the series have been decided by one or two goals; three have gone into overtime. Both schools are hoping to play again next year and in the future.
Overall, Georgetown has won eight of the past nine in the series.
And the hard-fought rivalry may have been typified after the game. As the Georgetown players left the postgame interviews, Navy’s Jones and senior goalie Nolan Hickey (15 saves) went next. But before he answered questions Jones approached Georgetown freshman goalie Alex Joyce (9 saves) and shook his hand.