There was once a time when it was a given that Navy would beat Holy Cross in men’s lacrosse. Those days ended with a thud last March when the Midshipmen lost to the Crusaders for the first time in the 10-year history of the series.
After struggling to a 3-10 overall record and 1-5 conference mark in 2013, Navy isn’t taking any opponent for granted. For a rebuilding program, any win over a Patriot League opponent is a big win.
Which is why head coach Rick Sowell was so pleased to see attackmen T.J. Hanzsche and Sam Jones combine to score 11 goals to lead an impressive offensive display as Navy overwhelmed Holy Cross, 21-12, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
“Wins are hard to come by in this sport these days. There is no one on the schedule that can’t be beat. At the same time, if we don’t show up and play good lacrosse, everyone on our schedule can beat us,” Sowell said. “When you look at the overall performance, I’m very proud of how well we played today. We take away a lot of positives from this game.”
Hanzsche used his superb quickness along with a rocket left-handed shot to establish a career-high with six goals. The 5-foot-8 sophomore repeatedly juked defenders with stop-and-go moves and beat the goaltender with several sidearm cranks.
“I think we got off to a good start. Everyone was getting touches and we were shooting smartly. That’s something we stressed this week in practice so I was happy to see that,” Hanzsche said.
Jones fired in five goals, three of which simply spectacular. The senior from Severna Park High scored on a one-hand scoop shot and a sneaky sidearm shot that bounced off the goalie and into the cage.
“We know that those two are capable of doing some great things out there. They have different styles, but they’re both exciting. From the entertainment perspective, it’s fun to watch,” Sowell said of the offensive show put on by Hanzsche and Jones.
Senior attackman Tucker Hull notched the 13th hat trick of his career for Navy (2-2, 1-1), which had eight different players score goals. Junior midfielder Gabe Voumard totaled two goals and two assists for the Midshipmen, who dominated possession by winning the ground ball battle, 41-21, and got off 52 shots.
“It was nice to see the offense come out today and play the way they’re capable of playing,” Sowell said. “We’re not going to score 21 goals every game, but we certainly are capable of putting some points on the board.”
Holy Cross scored three goals in less than two minutes to cut an early deficit to 4-3 at the 7:58 mark of the second quarter. Navy responded by scoring seven unanswered goals to close the period and take an 11-3 halftime lead.
“I was real proud of our guys. They made a little run and got it close. There was a timeout there and I said ‘C’mon, let’s put the hammer down.’ That was quite impressive. We hope that’s something we can build on,” Sowell said of the decisive stretch.
Midfielder Pat Durkin contributed two goals and an assist for Navy, which opened the second half with a 3-1 run to increase the advantage to 14-4. Sowell wasn’t thrilled with his team’s defense in the third quarter as Holy Cross scored six goals.
“We don’t like to give up 12 goals to anyone. I don’t know if it’s the natural tendency (to let down) when you get a big lead. Give them credit because they kept playing,” Sowell said.
It was a reminder of the good old days as the 21 goals were the most Navy has scored since a 23-5 rout of Holy Cross in April, 2004. The margin of victory for the Mids was the largest since beating the Crusaders by nine goals in 2010.
“Oh yea!” Sowell said when asked if he reminded the players about last year’s result against Holy Cross. “The next game is always the biggest game, but you throw on that we did lose to them last year and we definitely had motivation to come out and play good lacrosse today.”
Holy Cross (0-4, 0-2) 0 3 6 3 — 12
Navy (2-2, 1-1) 2 9 5 5 — 21
GOALS: HC — McKenna 3, Lux 2, Daugherty 2, Wilkinson, Haarmann, C. Smith, M. Smith, Ward. N — Hanzsche 6, Jones 5, Hull 3, Voumard 2, Durkin 2, Keena, Hoffstadt, Flounlacker. ASSISTS: HC — Wilkinson 3, Haarmann 2, Buermann, Lux, McKenna. N — Keena 3, Voumard 2, Durkin, Hinderland, Jones, Mullen, Price, Roy. SHOTS: HC — 37. N — 52. SAVES: HC — Ortlieb 4, Cousin 5. N — Connors 7, Zimmerman 1. GROUND BALLS: HC — 21. N — 41. FACEOFFS: HC — 17. N — 20. TURNOVERS: HC — 13. N — 17.