Friday night was senior night for the Navy women's lacrosse team. Leave it to freshman Loren Generi to steal the show.
All Generi did was score seven goals — one short of the school record — to lead the Mids (14-2, 5-0) to a 19-6 win against American (7-7, 3-3) in a Patriot League match at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. She also had eight draw controls to jump-start the Navy offense.
"Loren had a great night," said Navy coach Cindy Timchal. "She had several opportunities to step in when she was open, and she certainly took full advantage of them [Friday]."
The win clinches the No. 1 seed for the Midshipmen in the upcoming Patriot League tournament. Though Navy has won the tournament the past two seasons, this will mark the first time in the five-year history of the program that they will enter as the top seed.
Navy will host the Patriot League semifinals on April 27 at 5 p.m. against an opponent to be determined.
"We knew we had to win this game to be the league champs, and I really wanted this for our seniors," said Generi. "We started out a little slow, but we came on strong. I couldn't be happier for our team right now. "
The Mids started to press the attack midway through the first half, and tied the game at 4-4 when Jess Fellows sprinted in from the left side of the goal and fired a high shot to beat American goalie Kaska Komosinski with 18:03 left in the first half.
Navy went on to score five of the next six goals — with four coming from Generi and another from Jasmine DePompeo — to build a 9-5 lead at the half. The Mids offense seemed to tire American, and the Navy defense forced several turnovers to help the Mids take control. Navy won the turnover battle 9-4 in the first half, and also won nine of 16 draws in the period.
The second half was all Navy. The Mids got two goals each from Generi, Kathy Young and Jill Coughlin, as well as one each from Aimee Gennaro and Danielle Vivonetto, to take a 17-5 lead with fourteen minutes remaining. The Eagles finally got on the scoreboard again with 10:21 left, when Kimberly Collins scored on a free position. The goal broke a 19:08 stretch without a goal for American.
When asked what the big change was between the first and second halves, Timchal was honest.
"I don't know, really. I know that's not what you want to hear," she said. "I think we had the ball a lot more in the second half. Loren winning those draws helped a lot. We had a lot more possession in the second half."
With the playoffs just around the corner, Navy seems to be hitting its stride at the right time.
"We won [Friday] , and that's the most important thing," said DePompeo, Navy's leading scorer . "This is when you want to peak. It's a whole new season now, a whole new game."
Navy 19, American 6
Goals: A – Schoenberger 2, Collins 2, Burton, Maher; N – Generi 7, Gennaro 3, Fellows 2, DePompeo 2, Young 2, Couglin2, Vivonetto. Assists: A – Burton, Marshall ; N – DePompeo 2, Fellows 2, King. Saves: A – Komosinski, 8; N – Verbeeck, 6. Half: N, 9-5.