No one in men's lacrosse might be happier than Rick Sowell, who watched his Navy team wallop VMI, 20-7, in the season opener for both teams last Saturday. The 20 goals was the program’s largest output since a 23-4 thrashing of Holy Cross on April 18, 2004, and the 13-goal margin of victory was the widest since a 16-3 demolition of Holy Cross on March 15, 2008.
But the Midshipmen coach cautioned against overly excited about the squad’s offensive production in what is the first game of 13 on the schedule.
“Certainly, scoring that number of goals is good, and I think as I mentioned the other day, to get a win, to have no one get hurt, and to play everyone that was in uniform, it just doesn’t get much better than that from a coach’s perspective,” he said. “To start your season off in that fashion is a very good thing. Now having said that, there were a number of things that we saw on film that we’re going to need to improve if we’re going to win. So yes, we’re going to praise them on one hand because there were a lot of good things that surfaced on game day, but there are a number of things that we need to continue to get better at if we’re going to continue to win games.”
Sowell has good reason to pump the brakes. Navy has opened the last six seasons with the Keydets and averaged 14.5 goals per meeting and averaged an 8.8-goal margin of victory. But the team dropped its next contest in each of the last three campaigns and beat Ohio State in 2008 and 2009 by a combined three goals.
The Midshipmen face Detroit Friday night, but Sowell said he doesn’t need to remind the players that they’re not going to score 20 goals every time they step onto the field.
“I think our guys understand that what happened on Saturday isn’t going to happen too often,” he said. “So I don’t think that will be a problem. Hopefully, that’s a sign that maybe our offense – while we might not score 20 goals a game – will be able to put up more goals than we did a year ago.”