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Offense for Navy men's lacrosse falls into slump

After scoring 32 goals in pair of wins, Midshipmen are experiencing power outage

By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

9:00 AM EDT, March 21, 2014

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Navy’s offense is mired in a bit of a dry spell.

After scoring 32 goals in a pair of routs of Patriot League foes Holy Cross on March 1 and Lafayette on March 7, the Midshipmen (3-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference) scored just one goal in the first half of an eventual 14-9 loss to Towson on March 11 and twice in a 13-2 thumping by No. 19 Lehigh on Saturday.

The sample size is just two games, which may be why coach Rick Sowell did not seem distressed about the offensive woes.

“You’ve got to give credit to the defense we played against,” he said on Thursday. “We’re going back to the drawing board, and we know that we’re capable of doing some good things on the offensive end. Teams hit slumps. It happens and it happens in every sport. Obviously, we’re in a little bit of a slump these past couple games, but we feel as though we’re capable of doing some good things on the offensive end. So we’re just concentrating on getting back to the basics.”

Navy can turn the tables when Colgate visits Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis on Saturday at noon. The Raiders (6-2, 2-1) have surrendered an average of 7.1 goals thus far.

Rather than feeling stressed and putting that frustration on display, Sowell said, the coaches have simply tried to encourage and remind the players how much potential they have on offense.

“It really is going back to the basic fundamentals of spacing, putting ourselves in good dodging situations, and decision-making becomes a part of it,” he said. “It’s a combination of all those things and making sure that we turn each possession into a quality possession. That’s been our focus, and I feel as though guys have been sharp throughout the week, and I hope that can carry into Saturday.”

The unit’s power outage has coincided with a pair of lackluster performances by senior attackman Sam Jones. The Annapolis native and Severna Park still leads the Midshipmen in assists (12) and points (27), but he has no goals on five shots and posted just two assists in the team’s two losses.

Sowell said the struggles of the offense and Jones are just coincidental.

“We don’t really rely on just one player to carry our offense,” Sowell said. “We feel as though it’s going to be a team effort. I don’t know if I would say that as Sam goes, we go. He’s certainly an important part, an important piece to our offense. Hopefully, he’ll get back on track, as well as the other guys.”