With a 1-3 record in the Patriot League and just one more conference game left against Army on April 13, Navy’s bid for a spot in the league tournament has come to a quick end. And with a 3-7 overall mark and just three contests remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Midshipmen won’t be eligible for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament due to the team finishing no better than 6-7.
But coach Rick Sowell said the impending visit of No. 4 Maryland (7-1) to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis this Friday night gives Navy – which has lost four straight – another shot at playing competitive lacrosse.
“We’re playing for pride,” Sowell said Wednesday morning. “And we’re not just playing for pride, but we’re playing for the name on front of the uniform and everything that Navy represents. Maybe some of our goals that we had set forth won’t be realized, but we still have a lot to play for. For the seniors, it’s the last stretch of games that they may ever play, and I’m sure they want to go off on a good note. Whatever we can springboard into the offseason in a positive way, that certainly can’t hurt us as we look to the future.”
The Midshipmen’s 12-7 loss to Lehigh last Saturday doomed the team to its third straight season without advancing to the Patriot League tournament, which includes the top four teams in the regular-season standings. Bucknell and Lehigh lead the conference with 3-0 records, while Army and Colgate are both 2-1.
Sowell said Navy’s fate became apparent after the loss to the Mountain Hawks.
“We knew that around 3 o’clock or so last Saturday, a lot of the goals that we had set forth at the beginning of the season were not going to be realized,” he said. “Making the Patriot League tournament, competing for the championship, going to the NCAA [tournament], all that essentially ended after the Lehigh game. But we still have three games left, and certainly one of our goals – which is always high on the list – is beating Army. That’s still a goal we can attain. So we talked. I think the guys were saying all the right things, but we’ll find out on Friday. Obviously, we’re going to have our hands full with what many people think is the best team in the country despite their one loss. … This is going to be an interesting test of character. So we’ll see.”