Posted Sunday, March 04, 2007 by .
Navy Men's Lax Dismantles Fifth-Ranked North Carolina, 19-8
The Mids' 19 goals are the most they have scored against a nationally-ranked team since 1990.
Senior keeper Colin Finnegan played a sensational game making a career-high 14 stops in the cage.
March 2, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Seventeen different Midshipmen produced a goal or an assist to lead the 12th-ranked Navy men's lacrosse team (3-0) to a 19-8 route over No. 5 North Carolina (3-1) Friday evening at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It's the most goals scored by Navy against a nationally-ranked team since handing 18th-ranked Army a 19-9 setback on April 7, 1990.
The Mids' 19 goals are the most they have scored in the 21-game series, improving upon the previous record of 16 set in 1978. Additionally, the 11-goal win is Navy's largest margin of victory in the series, bettering last year's eight-goal decision in Chapel Hill. The Mids now own a one-game advantage in the series, leading 11-10, while Navy's five-game winning streak against the Tar Heels is the longest in the series by the Midshipmen.
"We knew that North Carolina was a good team, but we realized that we needed to take away what they do well," said Navy junior attack Nick Mirabito (Binghamton, N.Y.), who extended his consecutive games streak with a goal or an assist to 34.
"We played with a lot of intensity from the beginning and I thought we were very prepared on both sides of the field," said Navy head coach Richie Meade, a Carolina graduate. "We had a number of people tell us that North Carolina is great in transition and that was probably a good assessment, but I felt like we could run. We did a good job of running the field and our midfield was good tonight.
"This is a tough place to play," added Meade. "We play in what I believe is the finest lacrosse facility in the country and we have great support from the community and the student-body. Once you get behind in this kind of atmosphere, sometimes the game just gets away from you. I feel good for our players with the result tonight."
Attackmen Ian Dingman (Deferiet, N.Y.) and Mirabito paced the Mids with their second hat tricks of the season, while Mirabito tacked on an assist to lead the team with four points. Rookies Basil Daratsos (Niskayuna, N.Y.), Patrick Moran (Annapolis, Md.) and Tim Paul (Parkton, Md.), along with senior middie Tommy Wallin (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) each pitched in a pair of goals for the Mids, while additional players recorded goals on the evening. Leading the way for North Carolina was sophomore midfielder Ben Hunt who scored three first-half goals, while freshman middie Sean Burke turned in a pair of goals and assists to pace the Tar Heels.
The Mids scored back-to-back goals just 47 seconds apart to take an early 2-0 lead 5:08 into the contest and never looked back as Navy never trailed in the game. The Tar Heels closed to within one on three different occasions, including by junior midfielder Brian Connors with just 11 ticks remaining in the opening period. Navy, though, dashed any momentum North Carolina had gained, as a Wallin fired in his second goal of the game off an assist from junior Matt Guido (North Caldwell, N.J.) with just one second left in the period.
The Mids and Tar Heels traded goals early in the second period, but Daratsos' unassisted marker at 7:54 sparked a 5-0 run for the Mids. Daratsos and Paul scored just 43 seconds apart in the third quarter, while Mirabito and Dingman battered Carolina keeper Grant Zimmerman with back-to-back scores just 16 seconds apart in the third quarter.
North Carolina finally stopped the Mids' run at the 6:27 mark in the third with a Nick Tintle-to-Bart Wagner score. However, Mirabito's third goal of the game at the 3:43 mark once again ignited a Navy run that pushed the Mids' lead to 18-6 and featured first-career goals by senior long stick defensive midfielder Victor Barger (Clifton Park, N.Y.), freshman attack Kyle Kapron (Chandler, Ariz.) and back-to-back goals by Moran.
Carolina scored a pair of goals in the final two minutes of the game, while Greg Clement (Dallas, Texas) put one last goal up on the board for the Mids with 51 seconds remaining in Navy's win.
One of the reasons Navy was put in goal-scoring position was because of the play of its face-off team. Six different players took draws for the Mids, including junior Mikelis Visgauss (Setauket,, N.Y.) who won 11 of the 15 face-offs he took, while senior William Wallace (Bloomfield Village, Mich.) won four and Dan Decker (Randallstown, Md.) grabbed three.
Senior Colin Finnegan (Arnold, Md.) played a fantastic game in goal for the Midshipmen, making a career-high 14 saves, while giving up seven of the eight goals. Second-year keeper Matt Coughlin (Brightwaters, N.Y.) came in to play the final 2:35 of the game where he made one save and gave up the game's final goal with two seconds left. The Navy defense held North Carolina under its 12.3 goals per game average and for the 17th time in the last 18 games, it has held its opponent under double digits.
It was this game just four years ago that turned around the career of 2006 grad Matt Russell in goal, as well as the 2004 campaign that sent the Midshipmen to the National Championship game. Finnegan's performance was certainly a confidence builder.
"I thought tonight was the chance for our defense to step up and prove that we can play against a top team like North Carolina," said Finnegan. If you give North Carolina an uncontested shot, they are going to score because they are great shooters. Our defense did a great job of getting at their hands. I had confidence coming into the game, but there's no doubt that tonight has helped my confidence, as well."
The Midshipmen return to action next Saturday when they travel to Bethlehem, Pa. to square off against Patriot League foe Lehigh. Action is set for 1:00 pm at Ulrich Field and will be carried live on 1430 WNAV with the voice of Navy lacrosse Pete Medhurst calling the action.