When the Navy women’s lacrosse team is clicking on all cylinders, it is a very difficult machine to stop.
That ability to totally take over a game was on display again on Saturday as the Midshipmen put together the type of overpowering scoring run that propelled last season’s epic postseason run.
Sophomore attacker Kelly Larkin scored six of her seven points in the second half as No. 10 Navy dominated the final 25 ½ minutes and routed Columbia, 21-10, on a dreary day at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Larkin, who finished with four goals and three assists, sparked an impressive second-half run that broke up a surprisingly close contest. The Collins twins, midfielder Jenna and attacker Julia, combined to produce 10 points and dominate the draw controls as the Midshipmen improved to 2-0.
Julia Collins scored four goals and set a single-game school record by capturing 15 draws to help Navy control possession over the final 30 minutes. Jenna Collins also scored four goals and garnered nine draws as the Midshipmen outscored the Lions 11-1 during a stretch of 10 ½ minutes.
“I’m proud of the team effort, proud of the draw controls and really proud of the team getting that gap we needed with pure, unbelievable execution on the offensive end,” Navy head coach Cindy Timchal said. “You saw we scored some scrappy goals in the second half. Those were the result of great effort.”
Junior attack Molly O’Sullivan totaled three goals and two assists for Navy, which raced out to an early 6-0 lead then struggled somewhat. Junior attack Meg O’Donnell also had a hat trick for the Midshipmen, who won 25 of 32 draws.
“We had a red-hot start, got ahead 6-0. Then Columbia calls a timeout and becomes a little feisty,” Timchal said. “Columbia is accustomed to playing strong teams like Princeton and Penn, Harvard and Yale. They’re all good in the Ivy League. They were not going to back down.”
Standout freshman attacker Alexandria Absey scored two of her five goals early in the second half as Columbia cut the deficit to 10-8 with 25:42 remaining.
Navy answered just 16 seconds later with sophomore midfielder Kayla Harris cutting the cage, taking a nice inside feed from Larkin and finishing. That goal began the 11-1 run that ended any thoughts of an upset by the visiting Lions.
“We just needed to settle in. We were playing a little bit frantic and not as poised, not as disciplined as we’re accustomed to being,” Timchal said. “I felt it just took a while to get into our groove.”
Naturally, the decisive run was fueled by Navy’s dominance of the draws. Julia Collins is one of three players on the circle for the Mids and she snared several balls that were perfectly directed by her sister.
“Julia getting those 15 draws is amazing, but Jenna is step one of that process because she has to actually take the draw,” Timchal noted. “That one-two punch was instrumental in helping us gain that separation.”
The Collins twins were responsible for 24 of the 25 draws the home team controlled.
“Jenna puts the ball right where I need it to be so it’s really all her. If I’m not getting the draws then I’m not doing my job,” Julia Collins said.
Harris (Broadneck High) finished with a goal and an assist while fellow midfielder Andie O’Sullivan contributed a goal and two assists for Navy, which committed 17 turnovers.
“We just weren’t executing the way we wanted to, weren’t connecting the way we needed,” Julia Collins said of the first-half offensive struggles. “We had to come together, make better passes and catch them all whether they are high or low.”
Navy did have some defensive breakdowns and starting goalie Ingrid Boyum made just two saves.
“Can we give up fewer goals? Yes. We’re not happy with a couple things defensively,” Timchal acknowledged. “That is something we will work on before we take on another tough team in Michigan next Sunday.”
Columbia (0-1) 6-4=10
Navy (2-0) 9-12=21
GOALS: C – Absey 5, Parsons 3, Ewertsen, Witteck. N – Larkin 4, Je. Collins 4, Ju. Collins 4, M. O’Sullivan 3, O’Donnell 3, Harris 2, A. O’Sullivan. ASSISTS: C – Ewertsen 3, Kalmaras 3. N – Larkin 3, A. O’Sullivan 2, M. O’Sullivan 2, Je. Collins, Ju. Collins, Harris. SHOTS: C – 21. N – 44. SAVES: C – Roberts 9. N – Boyum 2, Harchelroad 1. DRAWS: C – 7. N – 25. GROUND BALLS: C – 21. N – 44.