The Navy men’s soccer team has already assured itself of a berth in the Patriot League tournament with three games left in the regular season. That should be a comforting feeling for coach Dave Brandt, right?
“Not sure if comforting is the right word,” he joked Tuesday morning. “We’re glad to be in. Certainly expected that with the good start, but lots of work to do yet. So we’ve got our sights set higher. Hoping to be in the top two and possibly even host.”
At 10-3-2 overall and 6-0-0 in the conference, the Midshipmen are tied with Army (12-1-, 6-0-0) in the race for the regular season championship. They have guaranteed a top three seed, but Brandt said the top priority is the regular season title, the No. 1 seed, a first-round bye and the right to play host to tournament semifinals and final on Nov. 15 and 17, respectively.
“Third doesn’t do us a lot of good,” he said. “So it’s really important to get the top two, and I would far prefer to be first and be able to host some things. So in that sense, there’s a lot to play for.”
Navy is riding a nine-game winning streak, which is the second longest active run in Division I behind No. 8 Coastal Carolina’s 11-game streak. Extending that run to 10 straight wins would match a similar trend by the 1965 squad, but that subject is not part of Brandt’s conversations with the players.
“It’s not something that we talk about,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve never talked about with my team. For me, winning is the point, but it’s also the result of a process. Our job and our focus need to be No. 1, on the next game and the next game only and No. 2, on playing an executing and doing the things that we need to do.”
Getting No. 10 involves taking care of Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks are 2-11-1 overall and 1-5-0 in the conference, but they are 11-1-1 in their last 13 meetings against the Midshipmen.
“I’m definitely worried about Lehigh,” Brandt said. “I think in Division I in general and the Patriot League more specifically, it’s very clear that anybody can beat anybody on any given day. Lehigh came in here last year at 2-10 or something like that overall. We had a better record than that and they beat us 2-1. So we’re coming off a loss to Lehigh last year that breeds some bad memories that we’re not happy about. So we’ve got plenty to play for.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun