Navy’s lacrosse season is still fairly young. Despite a 3-2 overall record and a 2-1 mark in the Patriot League, the team still has eight regular-season games to play and either hone its resume for the NCAA tournament or begin the offseason in May.
But make no mistake that the Midshipmen have warmed up to their first wining record in the conference since March 30, 2012 when that squad was 3-2 in the Patriot League despite a 9-4 loss to Lehigh.
“It means a lot,” senior attackman Sam Jones, a Severna Park graduate, said after the team’s 11-3 thrashing of Lafayette on Friday. “… If you want to go to the [NCAA] tournament, you’ve got to win the conference. If you want to go to the tournament and you don’t win the conference, you’ve got to do well during the season and not get upset in the Patriot League playoffs. It sucks losing to teams like Georgetown, but they’re not a conference team. If you come out here and drop one to Lafayette, that’s bad. We’ve got Lehigh next Saturday. That’s another big one. That’s not to say that we don’t care about Towson [on Tuesday night] They’re in our region, and we know a bunch of those kids. They came in here and beat us last year. Nobody forgets that.”
Navy sophomore goalkeeper John Connors said part of this year’s motivation has been a desire to make amends for a 2013 campaign in which that squad finished with program-worst losses overall (10) and in the Patriot League (five).
“After last year, that was horrible,” he said. “We never want to feel like that again. We want to mature and we want to earn our respect every time we get on the field.”
Added Jones: “We’re a little ticked off. We had a couple of rough years and I think we want to prove that we can play ball. So it’s a lot of fun.”
Like his players, coach Rick Sowell is heartened by the team’s resurgence this year. But he is also cognizant enough to know that the Midshipmen have yet to play against No. 5 Loyola (5-1, 2-0), No. 17 Lehigh (5-1, 2-1), Colgate (5-1, 2-1) and Army (4-2, 2-0).
“When you win two of your first three league games, that’s not a bad place to be in,” Sowell said. “But at the end of the day, there’s still a lot of work ahead of us, and right now, our focus is on Towson since that’s the next game tomorrow night. We’re off to a what we think is a good start, but we’ve got to keep getting better because I think everyone will be trying to keep up so that they don’t get left behind. So far, so good.”