It seems like every time Navy and Georgetown get together in men's lacrosse the game is decided by one goal, often with overtime necessary.
Unfortunately for the Midshipmen, they almost always seem to come out on the wrong side of those tight, hard-fought affairs with the Hoyas.
So it was déjà vu all over again as Jeff Fountain's unassisted goal gave Georgetown a 9-8 overtime victory over Navy on a cold, wet, snowy day at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It was the second straight season that Fountain scored the decisive goal in extra session against the Midshipmen.
Georgetown has now beaten Navy by one goal six times since 2007 with four of those wins coming in overtime. The Midshipmen have lost 11 of their last 13 meetings with the Hoyas.
"It just seems like Georgetown has Navy's number. Sooner or later it's got to change," Navy head coach Rick Sowell said afterward.
This one came with a touch of controversy as all indications are that the game-winning goal was scored after Georgetown short of lost possession for stalling. Officials gave the Hoyas a 30-second clock warning at the 2:42 mark of overtime, according to the play-by-play summary. That time was later verified through video as a freeze frame of the broadcast shows an official giving the "timer on" signal at 2:42.
By rule, Georgetown should have been required to put a shot on goal by the time the game clock reached 2:12. Attackman Peter Conley fired a shot way wide of the goal at 2:16, which was backed up by a teammate. That enabled the Hoyas to retain possession and Fountain scored with 2:08 remaining, four seconds after the 30-second timer should have expired.
"I didn't realize that, Sowell said when told of the mistake. "At one point we thought there were two seconds left, and then they said it was seven seconds. I don't know. Game over. You can't go back."
Fountain, a senior out of the St. Paul's School in Baltimore, certainly wasn't apologizing. Upon picking the ball up on the end line for the restart, the speedy 5-foot-7 attackman realized he was being defended by a short stick.
"I had a matchup I could exploit so I took it to the goal. I pushed goal-line extended and took a shot. I actually didn't see it go in, but I saw the guys go crazy. It was awesome," Fountain said.
Conley, a freshman Larchmont, N.Y., scored two goals and dished off two assists to lead Georgetown (2-0). Fountain, junior midfielder Charles McCormick and freshman midfielder Devon Lewis all added two goals for the Hoyas, who won despite being outshot (38-46) and committing more turnovers (20-11).
Senior attackman Sam Jones scored three goals and assisted another to lead Navy (1-1), which only put half of its 46 shots on goal. Sophomore attackman T.J. Hanzsche scored three times in the fourth quarter to rally the Mids, who erased a four-goal deficit to force the extra session.
"It was a heck of a game between two good, solid teams. It was a great battle and I'm proud of my guys for the effort they displayed for 60 minutes and then some," Sowell said. "This is a tough loss, but we still have 11 games to play. Like I told the players in the locker room, they have to continue to trust what we're doing. We're on the right course and we need to stay the course. There is some success that lies ahead for this team. I truly believe that."
Conley had a goal and two assists as Georgetown outscored Navy 5-1 in the second quarter to seize control. An unassisted tally by McCormick gave the Hoyas a 7-3 lead with 9:26 to go in the third stanza, but the Midshipmen buckled down on defense and allowed just one more goal during regulation.
Sophomore goalkeeper John Connors was outstanding from start to finish, establishing a career-high with 17 saves. "John played a great game and I thought our defense gave up the type of shots you want to give up, ones that make it a bit easier on the goalie," Sowell said.
Hanzsche beat his defender on a curl move to the middle and fired in left-handed laser to cut the deficit to 8-7 with 4:59 remaining. It appeared Navy would not get a chance to score the equalizer after midfielder Gabe Voumard was whistled for a cross check with 1:44 to go. However, Connors made a huge save of a cannon crank shot by Conley and a follow-up shot hit the post.
Navy defensive midfielder Brendan Gaine scooped the loose ball and started a fastbreak that ended with Jones finding Hanzsche open on the right side for a man-down goal that tied the score at eight with 53 seconds remaining.
"I'm proud of my brothers for battling back in the fourth quarter," said Hanzshe, who had been 0-for-8 shooting before scoring all three of his goals in the final frame. "Our team is a bunch of fighters and the effort is always there. All we can do is get back to work on Monday and keep trying to get better."
Georgetown got great goaltending of its own from Jake Haley, a Grasonville resident and Queen Anne's County High product who stopped 15 shots. Senior Tyler Knarr, a defenseman, turned the tide by winning 10 of 15 faceoffs over the final three quarters and the lone draw in overtime.
"I thought Jake Haley and Tyler Knarr were really good today. I think if they don't have the games they did we don't win this one," Georgetown head coach Kevin Warne said.
Warne credited assistant coach Brian Phipps for developing Haley, who is a first-year starter. Phipps, an Annapolis native who played the position at Severn and Maryland, got the redshirt junior to make some adjustments in technique.
"I'll give all the credit to Brian Phipps, our goalie guru. He's changed Jake a bit and just tried to work with his strengths. That's a sign of a good coach and a coachable kid," Warne said.
Georgetown (2-0) 1-5-1-1-1=9
Navy (1-1) 2-1-1-4-0=8
GOALS: GT - Conley 2, McCormick 2, Fountain 2, Lewis 2, Stafford. N - Jones 3, Hanzsche 3, Price, Heyward. ASSISTS: GT - Conley 2, Knarr. N - Jones, Hull. SHOTS: GT - 38. N - 46. SAVES: GT - Haley 15. N - Connors 17. GROUND BALLS: GT - 36. N - 31. FACEOFFS: GT - 12. N - 8. TURNOVERS: GT - 20. N - 11.