Navy’s 13-6 victory at Patriot League rival Bucknell on Saturday included an 8-0 run in the first 17 minutes of the second half, a shutout over 28:16 spanning the last three quarters, and a 17-of-23 performance on faceoffs. So coach Rick Sowell did not hesitate when asked Monday afternoon if Saturday was the team’s most complete game of the season.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Our defense has been pretty strong throughout the season, and it’s no big secret that we scored five goals in one game and nine in another in which we had a number of shots but just didn’t finish. So to see our offense after a good week of practice have some success on Saturday, hopefully this is the start of some consistency. Obviously, we would love to score 13 goals per game, but at the very least, we’re looking for some consistency where we’re scoring double digits.”
The 13 goals represented the highest output of the season for the Midshipmen (3-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference), and three players – sophomore attackman Jack Ray, senior attackman T.J. Hanzsche and sophomore midfielder Casey Rees (Boys’ Latin) – scored at least three goals each for the first time since last year’s 21-7 thrashing of VMI on Feb. 8.
But with No. 8 Loyola Maryland and Lehigh at 2-0 in the Patriot League standings, Sowell said Navy can’t afford to be too gleeful right now.
“We still have to get better in a few areas, but we’ve now seen the blueprint for success,” he said. “We feel like it’s going to have to be a team effort, and we can’t rely on our defense to keep the score down to six or seven goals all the time. The offense is going to have to score and get to double digits, and we’re capable of doing it. That’s the thing. We’re capable of doing better on offense. We’re talking about a couple of games, so I don’t want to make it sound like we’re in this year-long slump. We scored 10 in our first game and we scored 11 against a good Hopkins defense. … We’ve shown signs, but hopefully, we can start to play with more consistency.”