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Unlike last year, Navy men's lacrosse not faring well in one-goal decisions this season

After going 4-1 in games decided by one goal in 2015, Navy men's lacrosse has dropped two one-goal games.

Navy’s 10-9 double-overtime loss at Patriot League rival Boston University last Saturday was troubling on several levels for the team. The first was that the Midshipmen, who dropped to 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the conference and out of the latest poll, were unable to preserve a 9-7 advantage with less than two minutes left in regulation.

“We had a chance to win the game,” coach Rick Sowell said Thursday afternoon. “We were up two goals midway through the fourth quarter, and we just didn’t finish. We stubbed our toe a few times clearing the ball and had a breakdown defensively late, and before you knew it, the score was tied. We still had our chances in overtime to win it. We had some goods looks. We hit [Terriers junior goalkeeper Christian Carson-Banister’s], we hit the pipe on another shot. So a number of opportunities we had to finish the game and unfortunately, we couldn’t make one more play. BU was able to make a play to win the game.”

Navy, which had gone 2-7 in games decided by one goal in Sowell’s first three years, thought it had turned the corner after winning four of five one-goal contests last spring. But the team has lost to No. 13 Johns Hopkins and No. 20 Boston University in double overtime thus far, and Sowell can’t explain why the Midshipmen are floundering in that department.

“I really wish I knew,” he said. “We prepare very well. Last year, we had been in a number of tough games, and you like to believe there’s experience playing in those situations. But for whatever reason, and it’s been hard to really pinpoint because there’s been so many things you could point to, some of it is execution, some of it is decision-making or playing with a little bit more awareness at times. That could have helped. It’s not any one thing. We picked ourselves back up on Monday and got back at it.”

On Saturday, Navy will face Bucknell (3-1, 0-1), which lost 11-10 in overtime to Colgate. Both teams will be eager to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole in league play.

“You don’t want to be 0-2,” Sowell said. “But if that’s the worst that comes out of it, there’s still a lot of lacrosse left to play. I don’t think we’re looking at this as do or die. We still believe that there’s a lot of good days for Navy lacrosse. We’re working hard toward it. It’s not like we’re assuming that it’s going to just happen. We’re working hard to put ourselves in a better position to finish games. Maybe it’s playing better earlier and not allowing them to get to the fourth quarter and put ourselves in these really tight situations. Obviously, it’s a big game because it’s a league game. We’re coming off a loss, and they’re coming off a loss. I’m sure they don’t like to feel the way they felt after Saturday. But we’re just about one-third through the season, so there’s still a lot of lacrosse left to be played.”

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