Saturday’s contest between Navy and No. 11 Colgate is a showdown between two programs that have combined to capture six of the last eight Patriot League Tournament championships.
The game is also a stage for the nation’s top two scorers to meet on the same field.
Midshipmen junior attackman Tucker Hull and Raiders junior midfielder Peter Baum have skyrocketed to the top of the chart in terms of points per game this season. Baum leads all Division I players in points per game (5.8) and goals per game (4.1). Hull ranks second to Baum in points per game (5.7).
“It’s pretty neat that the top two scorers in the country will be going head-to-head,” Navy coach Rick Sowell said. “Peter Baum is as good as advertised. We’re going to have our hands full trying to control him as I hope that Colgate will have their hands full trying to control Tucker. Those two will certainly play a big role in each team’s offense. But we need other guys to contribute. We can’t count on Tucker to put up eight points a game as he’s done on a number of occasions this year. We’re going to need our first midfield to step up and be productive and a couple of our attackmen to take some of the pressure off of Tucker.”
On paper, sophomore long-stick midfielder Pat Kiernan, who has compiled 24 groundballs and eight caused turnovers, would appear to get the assignment of shadowing Baum. But Sowell said Baum is employed more as an attackman, which could lead to a pairing with junior defenseman Austin Miller, who leads the degense in caused turnovers with nine and has collected 25 groundballs.
“Austin is clearly one of our top athletes on the team,” Sowell said. “He might be the best athlete. So we’re hoping that he can make life difficult for him, just kind of be a pest. But it’s not just Pat or Austin. We’re going to need those other six guys around him because he’s good enough where he’s going to put pressure on the goal, and we’ve got to be able to slide. At the end of the day, [senior goalkeeper] RJ [Wickham] is going to have to make some saves, too. Hopefully, the boys are up for the challenge.”