It would probably be fair to say that Navy would have preferred a route other than backing into the Patriot League tournament, as it did on Saturday. The team suffered a 14-7 loss to archrival Army, but seized the sixth and final spot in the conference tournament courtesy of Bucknell’s 13-1 rout of Lafayette and Colgate’s 11-9 decision over Holy Cross.
Still, the Midshipmen (4-7 overall and 3-5 in the league) are in the tournament and would love nothing more than to grab a little momentum heading into Tuesday’s quarterfinal against Lehigh (10-4, 5-2) by upsetting No. 5 Johns Hopkins (8-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
“It would be great to go into your conference tournament with that momentum,” coach Rick Sowell said Wednesday afternoon. “It can't help but be a benefit for you confidencewise. Beating a team on Hopkins' level, we think that would do a lot for us. Certainly, they will be a challenge on Friday, but we're looking forward to the opportunity.”
Knocking off the Blue Jays will be an arduous task; they have dominated the series 60-26-1, and Navy has won just one of its last six games. But the Midshipmen have won the last two meetings in Annapolis, and Sowell sounded hopeful that history could play a role again Friday.
“A couple years ago, we were fortunate to win, and a number of players on the team played in that game,” he said. “So it could have a benefit in terms of our guys understanding and knowing, but at the same time, Hopkins is a different team and we are a different team. I'm sure that Hopkins has been reminded about the last time they came here. So it's going to be a challenge. Hopkins is an awful good team, and whether we won two years ago, how much impact that will have I don't know. At the end of the day, we have to go out and play a good game to beat them.”