Navy win over Delaware has a painful flip side Injuries mar Mids' soggy 16-8 victory


ANNAPOLIS -- Though playing conditions were miserable, Delaware's lacrosse team managed to keep yesterday's game within reach. But when the rain stopped, Navy started.

After leading by only two at the half, Navy finally settled down on its rain-slickened turf and scored three quick goals midway through the third quarter, forcing Delaware to play catch-up for the rest of the game.

The Midshipmen's 16-8 victory came with a price, though.

Faceoff man John Duthie and the starting midfield of Carl Nease, John Quinn and Joe Dondero all went down with injuries on the sloppy field. Dondero, who was helped off after injuring his left knee in the first half, watched the rest of the game on crutches from the sideline. Duthie left the game in an ambulance after injuring his ribs, and Quinn and Meese left the game with hamstring problems.

"We were really scrambling in the second half just trying to get some healthy bodies on the field," Navy coach Bryan Matthews said. "The credit has to go to the players who stepped in and played hungry in the second half.

For the second week in a row, Navy (3-2) relied on senior attackman Dennis Nealon's firepower. Last week against Washington College, Nealon was one point shy of Navy's record for points in a game when he scored four goals and collected eight assists for 12 points.

Yesterday, his five goals and three assists led the Midshipmen in both categories, but according to Nealon, his points are only a reflection of Navy's play as a team.

"After our first two losses, we had no confidence at all," Nealon said. "Now we have it. Everybody else is playing really well, which allows me to get the points. I'm just hitting my shots -- if we're not playing well, I'm not."

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