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Navy-Maryland men’s lacrosse postponed due to outbreak of Norovirus at academy

Navy's Dave Little works his way around Maryland's Wesley Janeck in the second quarter. The visiting Maryland Terrapins defeated the Navy Midshipmen, 15-12, in NCAA men's lacrosse Saturday in Navy's home opener at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Navy's Dave Little works his way around Maryland's Wesley Janeck in the second quarter. The visiting Maryland Terrapins defeated the Navy Midshipmen, 15-12, in NCAA men's lacrosse Saturday in Navy's home opener at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.(Paul W. Gillespie)

Navy men’s lacrosse coach Joe Amplo had no inkling a lethal virus was sweeping through his team during Tuesday’s trip to and from Richmond.

That’s because the extremely contagious illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea has a 60-hour dormancy period, meaning those infected do not realize they are sick for almost three days prior.

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Amplo first got wind of the potential problem early Wednesday morning when he received a text from a team manager who informed he had been in the emergency room all night with symptoms consistent with Norovirus.

“By the time I got into the office around 7:30, things started to break. We found out that three other guys had gone to the infirmary,” Amplo said.

The Baltimore Orioles will play the New York Mets in an exhibition game at Max Bishop Stadium in late March.

By Thursday morning, upwards of 30 Navy men’s lacrosse players and support staff had been diagnosed with varying levels of Norovirus. That sudden outbreak has caused Saturday’s Navy at Maryland game to be postponed indefinitely.

“There is no way we could have played a lacrosse game on Saturday,” Amplo told The Capital on Friday.

Out of an abundance of caution and for the sake of public health, the medical staffs at both the Naval Academy and University of Maryland have determined that Saturday’s game should be postponed to prevent the spread of this highly-infectious illness both among both teams.

“Apparently, this virus is easily transmittable via airborne, saliva and contact,” Amplo said.

Naval Academy medical officials have quarantined members of the Navy men’s lacrosse team for 24, 48 and up to 70 hours, Amplo said.

Sophomore attackman Nick Cole scored two goals for Navy, which was beaten 12-9 by No. 18 Richmond on Tuesday evening at Robins Stadium.

“A few guys who showed signs on Wednesday are starting to recover today,” Amplo said on Friday afternoon. “There is nothing they can do to prevent this virus or treat it. From what the doctors tell me, it’s just comfort measures once it hits. Sleep and hydration are the best recovery methods.”

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Amplo cancelled practice for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. He will not conduct any lacrosse activities until Monday, provided the majority of players have recovered by then.

“I haven’t seen my team since the bus ride on Tuesday night and the plan at this point is that we’re not going to meet as a group until Monday at noon,” Amplo said.

Navy suffered a 12-9 loss at Richmond on Tuesday evening despite staging a strong fourth quarter rally. The Midshipmen scored four straight goals to cut their deficit to two but could not complete the comeback.

Eby’s playing style did not jibe well at the high school level, where the slightest contact was liable to draw a foul. With Navy, her tenacity and combativeness have suited her well.

“We were anxious to get back on the field following a tough loss,” Amplo said. “I thought this team grew up in that fourth quarter on Tuesday night and we were hoping to build on that.”

Now Navy has an unexpected weekend off and could possibly lose a game against a traditional rival. Amplo was asked his thoughts about not being able to play a game this weekend.

“Is it is what it is; this situation is completely out of our control,” Amplo said. “I’m going to look at it as a positive because our players will get a break from lacrosse and have time to rest and refresh.”

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Amplo, who is in his first year at the helm of Navy men’s lacrosse, dealt with a similar situation while head coach at Marquette. During a road trip to Jacksonville, 35 members of a 55-person traveling party took ill with a severe virus.

"We called it ‘The Screaming Eagle’,” Amplo said in reference to the Marquette mascot. “We’re calling this one the ‘Vicious Goat’.”

Senior attacker Kelly Larkin totaled eight points and reached another career milestone as Navy women's lacrosse defeated Duke for the first time in six meetings.

The Naval Academy is working with the facilities and athletic training staff to ensure current athletic facilities are being disinfected to prevent further spread of the virus.

Navy and Maryland athletic officials have not been able to agree on a mutually acceptable date to reschedule the annual men’s lacrosse game. Maryland head coach John Tillman, a former longtime Navy assistant, could not be reached for comment.

Single-game ticket purchases for Saturday’s postponed contest will be refunded to the credit card of the original purchase, Maryland officials said.

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