Back on track, set to graduate and then shot dead

Rick Sowell said losing streak not weighing on Navy

Friday night’s 11-8 setback to No. 4 Maryland extended Navy’s losing skid to five consecutive games, which is the second such streak in the last three years for the program. The last time the team lost five straight, the academy jettisoned former coach Richie Meade and replaced him with current coach Rick Sowell.

With Army (6-4) this Saturday and No. 15 Johns Hopkins (6-4) on April 20 remaining on the schedule, the Midshipmen (3-8) are in danger of setting a low with what could be the longest losing skid in the program’s history.

Despite that cloud hanging over the team, Sowell said the string of setbacks do not weigh on the players and coaches.

“I think we’re moving forward,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re preparing for Army. Obviously, we would like to win the game, and I’m sure that at some point in the offseason, we will look back and that will be a bummer. But at this point, we’re focused on moving forward. We have two games left and the first one is Army. Need I say more? It’s Army. That’s where all our attention and focus is pointing. We want to prepare the best we can this week so that we can play our best game of the year on Saturday.”

Navy’s rivalry with Patriot League foe Army dates back to May 31, 1924 and this week’s preparations have made it easy for the team to concentrate on the Black Knights and keep other distractions at bay.

“Last week, it was Maryland. That’s certainly going to garner your attention,” Sowell said. “… It was a TV game, and knowing that we didn’t have a chance for our conference tournament, there was pride on the line. There were a lot of things that we could point to – most notably, the pride – to motivate us to play well Friday, and now it’s Army. The records don’t matter. We could be 10-0 or 0-10, and that doesn’t matter. Throw the records out the window. The guys are focused on trying to play well.”

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