Navy coach Rick Sowell was trying his best not to say it, but his facial expression told the story.
When asked why his team struggled again offensively in an 11-3 loss to Colgate in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium, Sowell said he didn't want to go searching for anything at this point.
He didn't have to go far.
All he had to do was point to Colgate attackmen Ryan Walsh (four goals, three assists) and Peter Baum (three goals).
The Midshipmen (3-6 overall, 1-3 Patriot League) couldn't keep up with the Raiders' two standouts. Baum can break down defenses and Walsh is a big-bodied finisher with extreme accuracy.
"We knew going into the game that Walsh and Baum were going to be a handful, and they were," Sowell said. "Actually, we kept Peter somewhat under control, but Ryan had a big day for them."
The Raiders (7-2, 2-0) had a 36-30 advantage in shots and a 35-27 edge in groundballs. But the biggest advantage for Colgate was jumping out to a 4-0 lead, and then the Raiders held Navy scoreless for almost 35 minutes after the Midshipmen had pulled within 4-2 with on a Patrick Keena goal with 9:57 left in the second quarter.
"They got off to a good start," Sowell said. "We couldn't afford to get down 4-0. We tried to scratch back at 4-2. We had opportunities to close the gap, but at the end of the day, Colgate was a better team from start to finish."
The Raiders ran a clinic on Navy in the first eight minutes of the game. Midfielder Jimmy Ryan scored on a hard side arm shot from about 20 feet just barely three minutes into the game, and Baum added a 20-yard score with 10:05 left.
Attackman Peter McCann, on a give and go from Walsh, scored at the top of the crease with 7:11 left and Walsh scored off a fast break seven seconds later.
From then on, Baum and Walsh dominated.
''They came out with a game plan of trying to keep the ball out of my stick,'' Baum said. "When I did have the ball, they tried to slide early, and get it out of my stick. When you've got Ryan on the back side, there is no one else to slide. He got some really good opportunities and buried the ball."
Coming into the game, Sowell and his Midshipmen thought they had to beat Colgate and win their two other Patriot League games against Lehigh and Army to get into the conference tournament and battle for a postseason bid.
But that appears unlikely now. Navy also still has Maryland and Johns Hopkins left on the schedule.
"One of the things I learned from this team is that they're going to stick through this, and going to be there until the end," Sowell said. "We're going to show up Monday and try to come up with a plan to prepare for Lehigh, another good team. I just find it hard to believe our guys are going to throw in the towel.
"We win, we win with class. We lose, we lose with class. We will be preparing as if we were 6-3 instead of 3-6."
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