In many team sports, only one coach can say that the most recent season ended in a way that was satisfying. In men's lacrosse, that feeling of contentment can be ascribed to Duke's John Danowski, which is why Navy's Rick Sowell is eager for Saturday's season opener against VMI at noon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
"It's the beginning of the year, and coming off a year when we didn't have the success that we wanted, we're chomping at the bit," Sowell said Monday afternoon, referring to the team's 3-10 record in 2013 that included a program-worst in single-season losses and consecutive setbacks (seven). "We've been working extremely hard since the fall, and this preseason, we feel like we've picked up from the fall. We've had two preseason scrimmages, and we felt like they were both learning experiences. We did some good things and then there were some areas that we know we have to continue to improve. But yeah, we're chomping at the bit to start the season, and we're looking forward to Saturday."
The Midshipmen participated in a pair of preseason scrimmages and found some mixed results. Against Ohio State, last season's Colonial Athletic Association tournament champion, on Jan. 25, the offense played well, but the defense stumbled somewhat. Against Virginia last Saturday, the offense misfired a few times, but the defense was strong.
"We played against two different teams so that's going to factor into it, but overall, we feel as though we accomplished some good things in our scrimmages and the challenge now is to become more consistent in all aspects of the game," Sowell said. "Some of that is going to be [that] we're going to play some younger guys. So we're going to have to deal with some ebbs and flows. Hopefully, the times when we struggle will be minimal and we can kind of ride that high. We feel like we're ready to start the season and hoping that we're going to get better in these next coming weeks."