Men's Lax Knocks Off Navy for First League Win
EASTON, Pa. - The Lafayette men's lacrosse team posted its first win of the season in signature fashion on Saturday afternoon at Fisher Stadium, knocking off Navy by a score of 9-8.
The Leopards used a strong start and held on to defeat a Navy team that was ranked 10th in the country at the beginning of the year and 18th as recently as Feb. 28. Junior Luke Smith scored all three of his goals in the opening 30 minutes, helping to a 6-3 lead at the halftime break. From there, Navy cut it to one late, but Lafayette saw out the final 7:43 without a goal from either side for the victory.
"I thought it was a great effort in all facets of the game," head coach Jim Rogalski said. "The guys really understood and executed the gameplan very well and I'm proud of them and their effort to get the win."
The win is just the second for the Leopards in 18 meetings all-time with the Mids and improves Lafayette to 1-5 overall on the season and 1-2 in Patriot League play. Navy, receiving votes in the latest national rankings, drops to 2-5 and 1-2 in conference action.
"We knew that they would put a lot of pressure on our defense and it's nothing new to us," Smith added. "We wanted to change up our offense a little bit with me in the middle and it worked out pretty well today."
The Leopards set the tone from the opening faceoff, scoring the game's first two goals as Smith and Scott McAvoy beat Navy freshman goalie Ryan Kern for a 2-0 lead after five minutes. Navy answered at 9:31 to get on the board, but Smith finished an Eric Joseph feed to close out the opening 15 minutes with a 3-1 advantage.
The teams traded goals through the majority of the second quarter as the Leopards' lead stood at 4-3 with 3:07 left in the half. Lafayette closed strong, though, as Smith and Joseph each scored with less than two minutes remaining to send the game into the break with momentum on the home sideline and a 6-3 advantage.
Navy shrunk the gap to two goals to start the third quarter, but three of the next four came from Lafayette to make it 9-5 into the fourth. The Mids gave the Maroon and White a run, slotting three past Lafayette goalie Jonathan Anastos in a three-minute span to make it 9-8 with 7:43 to go. However, that would end the scoring as Anastos made some key stops down the stretch and the Leopards held on for the 9-8 win.
The sophomore goalie, second in the Patriot League in saves per game at 13.00 per contest, was excellent once again, picking up a much-deserved win with 11 saves, six coming in the fourth quarter. Navy goalie Ryan Kern made 10 saves for the Mids, moving his record to 2-5 on the year.
Most of the statistical categories went Navy's way as the visitors led in shots (37-35), ground balls (38-33) and faceoffs (13-of-21). The Leopards' man-down unit stood tall, killing off all three Navy extra-man opportunities, while turnovers finished at 12 aside.
The Maroon and White will look to carry momentum into their next contest, a Saturday showdown with crosstown rival Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa. Opening faceoff in The Rivalry is set for 1 p.m.