COLLEGE PARK — The Navy men's lacrosse team has built a tradition on a sturdy defense, but that legacy probably didn't require playing as much defense as the Midshipmen had to Friday night.
No. 11 Maryland was overpowering in several offensive categories, cruise to a 13-6 victory over the No. 17 Mids before an announced 5,022 at Byrd Stadium.
Terps senior attackman Joe Cummings led all scorers with three goals and two assists, and junior attackmen Owen Blye and Bill Gribbin and senior midfielder Drew Snider each added two goals to help the Terps improve to 6-3 and snap a two-game losing streak. Maryland avoided its first three-game losing skid since 2009.
The Terps' impressive offensive display — which included eight different scorers and two assists from junior midfielder Kevin Cooper, who returned from a one-game suspension — was especially noticeable in several key numbers.
Maryland took 52 of the game's 70 shots, won 18-of-23 faceoffs and collected 34 ground balls to Navy's 19.
"I think we knew we were going to get opportunities, but we wanted to focus on canning our shots, and I think in the first half, their goalie played awesome," Cummings said. "I think he had 11 saves in the first half. So coming out in the second half, we really focused on trying to finish our shots and thankfully, some went in."
The Terps outshot Navy, 29-8, in the first half and won 10-of-13 faceoffs, but they could only muster a 6-5 lead at the half. Coach John Tillman said he made sure not to panic during his halftime talk with the players.
"So I had to take a deep breath and go into the locker room and [say], 'OK, here's the good news. The good news is we're outshooting them, 29-8. But just know that we're playing with fire because we've won a lot of faceoffs, taken a lot of shots. If the faceoffs are even and they continue to shoot well, all of a sudden, it's a little bit of a dogfight. So let's take a deep breath, clean the slate, and just go back to shooting your best shot,'" he said. "I didn't want them to get tight, and I didn't want them to be frustrated."
Maryland responded, scoring all five goals of the third quarter. Five different players scored in that frame, as Blye curled around the right post with 11:01 remaining, Gribbin converted a pass from senior midfielder Michael Shakespeare at 8:18, Snider nailed the top-right corner of the net from the left wing at 6:38, junior midfielder John Haus scored from point-blank range at 4:31, and Cummings perfectly executed a behind-the-head shot at 3:32.
That the Terps — who took 17 of the quarter's 21 shots — nearly outshot the Midshipmen 3-to-1 was no surprise to Navy goalkeeper RJ Wickham.
"Fifty-two shots, that's a lot of shots," the senior said. "Coach [Rick] Sowell was getting it in my head all week that they're going to take a lot of shots. … I got myself ready working with Coach [Mickey] Jarboe, but I treated it like any other game."
The Midshipmen ended a 23-minute drought when Maryland sophomore defenseman Michael Ehrhardt accidentally pushed a ball sitting in the crease across the goal line with 8:20 in the fourth quarter. But the Terps then scored two goals in a six-second span to cement the win.
Sophomore attackman Tucker Hull paced Navy with a goal and three assists, but Sowell said the Midshipmen played too much defense for his liking.
"Too many shots," he said. "We couldn't win a faceoff. It just seemed like we couldn't get a break, either. We're hustling and scrambling and we're trying, and the ball from the faceoff, they would come up with it. You'd think the odds would be with us at some point, but you've got to give them credit. That's an awfully good team and a well-coached team, and we needed to play better."