When Navy won the opening faceoff of Saturday’s eventual 21-12 thrashing of Patriot League foe Holy Cross, the offense was composed of the usual starters on attack – and the players who make up the second midfield.
Seniors Austin Heneveld and Sean Price and sophomore Kevin Wendel took the field with the starting attack of seniors Sam Jones and Tucker Hull and sophomore T.J. Hanzsche. But before any conspiracy theories begin hatching, coach Rick Sowell said the second line took the first possession because Heneveld was already on the field as a wing player on the faceoff unit.
“[W]e just thought it would be easier for Sean and Kevin to take the first run,” Sowell said Tuesday. “That’s really what it came down to. Certainly our first midfield is [junior] Gabe Voumard, [senior] Pat Durkin and [senior] Erik Hoffstadt-slash-Austin Heneveld. He runs with both midfields. I think if you look at the film, our first midfield ran an awful lot, and that’s not going to change.
"Taking the first midfield run really isn’t –in the overall scheme of things – that big of a deal. Head coach’s decision. That may or may not be the case in our next game, but either way, both midfields are going to play a fair share of the time. Like I said, the first midfield is our first midfield, and that certainly won’t change any time soon.”
Heneveld, Price and Wendel combined for zero goals on five shots and one assist, but Voumard recorded two goals and two assists, Durkin two goals and one assist and Hoffstadt one goal. Those numbers might suggest that the first midfield’s play was inspired by the second line’s opening venture, but Sowell cautioned against reading too much into that.
“We turned the ball over within 30 seconds of the possession and then the first midfield was out there on the next possession,” he recalled. “They ran much more than the second midfield. So in terms of the quantity of their shifts, it was no different than our first three games.”