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Rick Sowell said senior class for Navy men’s lacrosse is 'going to be tough to replace'

Rick Sowell has watched senior classes come and go during his time as coach at Dartmouth, St. John's, Stony Brook and Navy. But the Class of 2017 will be a special group to him.

The nine-player class – which compiled a 30-28 record in its four years – includes long-stick midfielder Matt Rees (Boys' Latin), faceoff specialist Brady Dove and short-stick defensive midfielder John Trainor, all of whom committed to the Midshipmen after Sowell had been hired from Stony Brook to succeed Richie Meade before the 2012 season. And they endured a 4-10 campaign as freshmen before bouncing back to help capture two Patriot League regular-season titles and a run to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals in 2016.

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"When they came in, their plebe year wasn't that great of a year," Sowell said. "But then their next two years, they were part of a program that won 20 games and two Patriot League regular-season championships and went to the NCAA quarterfinals and beat Army in the In-Star game three consecutive years. So that's not a bad legacy. … So they leave behind a pretty darn good legacy. I think we've learned some things from this past year that will help us go forward. So there's quite a bit for them to be proud of what they've done in the past four years."

Besides Rees, Dove and Trainor, the group includes a pair of starters in defenseman Chris Fennell and midfielder Colin Flounlacker. While next year's squad is set to return eight starters, Sowell acknowledged the task ahead of the coaching staff to find the right players to fill the void left behind by the seniors' departure.

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"Those are going to be pretty big shoes to fill," he said. "The impact that these young men have had on our program for the last four years, it really does bring me back to my last year when I coached at Stony Brook. We had [midfielder] Kevin Crowley, [attackman] Jordan McBride, [attackman] Tommy Compitello, and [faceoff specialist] Adam Rand, and all of them ended up getting drafted into [Major League Lacrosse]. But I compare this senior class and the impact they've had on this program to the one those young men had on Stony Brook's program. They're going to be tough to replace. We feel like we will move on, but trying to replace these guys is certainly not going to be easy."

Twitter: @edwardleesun

Email: edward.lee@baltsun.com


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