First loss of season sharp reminder of work Navy has to do

Navy’s first 3-0 start since 2007 didn’t come to fruition as No. 18 Fairfield nipped the Midshipmen, 10-9, on Tuesday evening on a goal by Sam Snow with 4.1 seconds left. The program’s first loss of the season served as a reminder coach Rick Sowell of the progress still awaiting the team.

“It was a good battle for both teams,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “It was nice to see that fourth quarter when we refused to give in. Unfortunately though, they made one more play than we did, and that’s really what it boils down to. But what I took away from it is, we still have a lot of work to do, to get to the level that we seek. We gave them the day off today, and we’ll be right back at it tomorrow for Georgetown [on Sunday].”

In Navy’s third game of last season, North Carolina rallied from an 8-5 hole with four goals in the fourth quarter to escape with a 9-8 decision. In the Midshipmen’s third game of 2013, Fairfield overcame three one-goal deficits to emerge with the one-goal win.

As disappointing as the loss was, Sowell understands that there are still 10 more games left in the regular season, and he expressed that sentiment to the team during a bus ride back from Connecticut to Annapolis Tuesday night.

“I think we understand that if we had won this game or lost it, we still have 10 more games left and with the sport as it is these days, we have to expect to play in many, many more fourth-quarter games,” Sowell said. “It’s going to come down to maybe the last second. From that standpoint, it didn’t work out for us last night, but we expect to be playing in many more fourth-quarter games as the season progresses.”

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