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Navy comes up shooting blanks in loss to Yale


ANNAPOLIS -- The last time Navy experienced such shooting frustration, Bryan Matthews was in his second season as coach.

The year was 1984, Penn was the opponent and Navy lost, 5-3.

Yesterday -- 104 games later -- Navy was held to three goals for the first time since then, losing to Yale, 9-3, before 2,618 at Turf Field in the first round of the NCAA lacrosse tournament.

"Every couple of years we have one like this, but I'd just as soon forget them," Matthews said.

Matthews was denied career win No. 100 for the second straight game, and the Mids, seeded No. 8, a notch ahead of Yale, finished 8-5. The Bulldogs (12-3) will play No. 1 Syracuse on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.

Navy took 41 shots, including 25 in the first half, and made three. Yale goalie Rich Dressler equaled his career-high with 22 saves, the sixth game this year he has held an opponent to five or fewer goals.

"As an old goalie myself, I get real frustrated when we have a lot of opportunities but have nothing to show on the board," Matthews said. "We didn't shoot well. It was hard for our players not to get frustrated and to keep their composure when their shots weren't going in. But you have to give Dressler credit. He was excellent."

Sophomore midfielder Jamie Slough, Navy's second-leading scorer, echoed Matthews' comments.

"They checked us hard, yes, but we shot poorly," said Slough, who scored the first goal of the game. "We beat our men, got our shots, but didn't finish them."

The game was tied at 1 after one quarter and Yale led at halftime, 2-1. The Bulldogs, as has been their custom all season, then went on a tear, outscoring Navy in the third quarter 4-1.

Yale has scored 53 of its 167 goals in the third quarter, outscoring opponents in that period 53-25.

"If we could figure out why," said Yale defenseman Peter Diminich, "we'd be able to do it in the first quarter, too.

"It was a typical performance for us, with the defense grinding away until the offense started to click. Ninety percent of our games have been like that."

With his teammates shooting so poorly, Navy goalie Kevin Farrington felt obliged to be almost perfect.

Before allowing 22 goals in the regular-season finale to Johns Hopkins at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Farrington had been brilliant in five games at Turf Field, permitting 25 goals.

"The recollection of the Hopkins game didn't have much effect because I put it out of my mind," Farrington said. "Hopkins also shot well. I felt good in this game. They just got the shots they wanted."

Yale took 23 shots, and Farrington, a junior from Loyola High, made 11 saves.

"Kevin did a great job, especially in the first half," Matthews said. "He kept us in the game, as he did all year.

"I'm proud of this team. We started the season No. 20 in the poll and then won some big games [notably against Maryland and Towson State]. The credit goes to the young players."

Until yesterday, Navy was 6-0 against the Ivy League in NCAA tournament first-round games.

Now Syracuse is Yale's problem. The Bulldogs lost to the Orange, 19-11, March 14 in the Carrier Dome.

Simon Duxbury, who grew up in Ithaca, N.Y., acknowledges there's a Syracuse mystique.

"I saw them demolish teams," said Duxbury, who scored four goals yesterday. "But after playing there once, like we did this season, it helps. We realize we can stay with them."

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