Navy has cobbled together a three-game winning streak to help reduce the disappointment of a three-game losing skid earlier in the season. But victories over Lafayette, Towson and Holy Cross would pale in comparison to a triumph over Patriot League rival and No. 12 Colgate (7-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference), which plays host to the Midshipmen (4-3, 2-1) this Saturday.
“We’ve done a good job of taking a lead into the fourth quarter and losing the games out, and hopefully, we’ll find ourselves in that situation on Saturday and can get the job done,” Navy coach Rick Sowell said Thursday. “But that won’t be any small task. Colgate’s a really good team. They’ve got an offense that’s putting up a lot of goals. So our defense is going to get tested unlike any game recently and probably going back to our Bucknell and Carolina games. Hopefully, our team defense will continue to be strong, and [senior goalkeeper] RJ [Wickham] can make some saves. Down on the other end, we’re going to have to use good offense to help our defense, and hopefully, we’ll be able to have quality possessions, which may mean not trying to get shots off early into the possession, but maybe later on into the possession. But whether it’s early or late, we have to make sure that we finish them off with quality shots and not turnovers.”
After Saturday’s contest, the Midshipmen have just two more league contests remaining: next Friday at home against No. 9 Lehigh (8-1, 1-0) and on April 14 on the road against Army (3-5, 0-1).
Achieving the program’s oft-stated goal of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Patriot League Tournament would seem to get a lot easier with a victory over the Raiders Saturday.
“Any league game is critical,” Sowell said. “We’ve won two in a row. We do have a goal of trying to make our conference tournament, so you do that by winning games, and this is the next one. From that standpoint, it’s a big game because if we win, it puts us a step closer to accomplishing our goal. But if for some reason we don’t win, there’s still a couple games left, but it probably puts a little more pressure on you. So hopefully, we can go up to Colgate and play well for four quarters and grab a win.”