Navy lacrosse falls in NCAA quarterfinals

"It was a very competitive game in which both teams played well," said Navy head coach Richie Meade. "I felt that we put stress on their defense in transition, but we didn't do a good job converting."

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Virginia's Matt Poskay scored four goals and the Cavaliers scored the game's final two goals to defeat the third-ranked Navy lacrosse team, 10-8, in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Homewood Field at Johns Hopkins University. The loss ends Navy's season at 12-4 overall and sends the Cavaliers into the NCAA semifinals next weekend at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia against top-seeded Johns Hopkins. It also ends the careers of 14 Navy seniors.

Virginia got on the board first just over three minutes into the gamewhen Ben Rubeor was left alone in the right slot and fired a shot low past goalie Matt Russell (Madison, Conn.), who had come out to cut off the angle for a 1-0 lead. However, Graham Gill (Medford, N.J.) answered just two minutes later when he scored from in close at the 9:58 mark to knot the score at one. The Cavaliers would score the next two goals for a 3-1 cushion, including an EMO goal by Rubeor, but Billy Looney
(Silver Spring, Md.) stopped the run with a goal as he was falling down to cut the margin to 3-2.

Virginia answered right back with an unsettled goal following a Navy turnover that Kyle Dixon deposited into the top of the net on a one-on-one breakaway with Russell and a 4-2 lead. Gill would tally his second goal of the quarter with an EMO goal with just 13 seconds left in the frame. Gill picked up a loose ball in the middle of the field and rifled a shot past Virginia keeper Kip Turner to cut the lead to 4-3 after one quarter.

Nick Mirabito (Binghamton, N.Y.) nearly tied the game at four on Navy's first possession of the second quarter, as he gained a step on his defender and unleashed a shot that clanged off the left post to keep the score at 4-3. Navy tied the game on a pretty netter by Ben Horn (Mill Valley, Calif.). Billy Looney drew a double-team, and found a wide-open Horn in the middle of the field. Horn then one-timed a shot past Turner at the 10:43 mark for a 4-4 tie.

Both teams had EMO chances midway through the second quarter, and both teams had excellent looks at the cage, but the goalies stood firm keeping the score tied at four.

Poskay tallied his second goal of the day with just over a minute to play in the half for a 5-4 Cavaliers' lead. Navy then threatened with an EMO chance in the last minute of play, but a last-second Dan Harris (Manlius, N.Y.) shot was gobbled up by Turner and Virginia took a one-goal advantage into the halftime break.

Virginia opened the second half with a transition goal by John Christmas for a 6-4 lead with 12:54 to play in the third quarter, then Poskay secured his hat trick at the 11:23 lead and 7-4 cushion when Navy started its rally.

Billy Looney stopped the bleeding with his 21st goal of the year 27 seconds later as he beat his defender and ripped a shot past Turner into the right corner to cut Virginia's lead to 7-5 with 10:56 to play in the third quarter. Navy continued its surge as Ben Horn found Nick Mirabito (Binghamton, N.Y.) in transition, and the freshman ripped a shot from in front to cut the margin to 7-6 at the 9:12 mark.

Virginia stopped the Navy rally as Poskay scored on an assist from Rubeor at the 6:22 mark and an 8-6 lead. But the Mids got a huge goal with three seconds left in third quarter when Russell made a big save on a Matt Ward shot starting a Navy fast-break. Gill found Horn in the front, who caught the ball in mid-air and scored past Turner with just three seconds left in the frame, which trimmed the lead to one again, at 8-7.

Navy went on its fourth EMO of the game early in the fourth quarter and capitalized when Looney faked a shot in the middle, and sent a low shot past Turner that trickled into the net at the 11:02 mark to knot the score at eight.

"When it was tied at 8-8, I felt that if we could have gotten the lead, we would have won," said Meade. "It would have shifted momentum."

Virginia retook a one-goal lead on a Drew Thompson goal with 5:21 to play. Rubeor added an empty-net goal with 1:40 to play for a 10-8 advantage. The Mids had two good looks late in the fourth quarter, but couldn't capitalize and fell in their bid for a second straight semifinal appearance, 10-8.

"Their last goal was more of a great play rather than a poor play on our part," said Meade. "They made a play when they needed to."

Navy won the battle at the "X", winning 16-of-22 face-offs and had 46 ground balls to Virginia's 38. Matt Russell had a stellar game in the cage for the Mids, stopping 12 shots for Navy.

"The most disappointing part of the loss was looking at the seniors, who are my best friends, and realizing that I will never play with them again," said the Navy junior goalie, Russell.

Navy ends its season with a 12-4 record.

SHOTS: Navy 30 (7-7-8-8), Virginia 32 (12-8-9-3)
GROUND BALLS: Navy 46 (13-8-14-11), Virginia 38 (11-12-11-4)
SAVES: Navy 12 (3-3-5-1), Virginia 10 (2-3-2-3)
FACE-OFFS: Navy 16-for-22, Virginia 6-for-22
CLEARS: Navy 19-for-23, Virginia 23-for-27
EMO: Navy 2-for-4, Virginia 1-for-2
PENALTIES: Navy 2 (1:30), Virginia 4 (3:00)

1st quarter
1. UVA - Ben Rubeor 15 (unassisted) 11:37
2. Navy - Graham Gill 18 (unassisted) 9:58
3. UVA - Matt Poskay 25 (Kyle Dixon) 6:58
4. UVA - Rubeor 16 (Brendan Gill) 3:41 EMO
5. Navy - Billy Looney 20 (unassisted) 2:51
6. UVA - Dixon 16 (John Christmas) 2:23
7. Navy - Gill 19 (unassisted) 0:13 EMO
2nd quarter
8. Navy - Ben Horn 25 (B. Looney) 10:43
9. UVA - Poskay 26 (unassisted) 1:29
3rd quarter
10. UVA - Christmas 18 (Ricky Smith) 12:54
11. UVA - Poskay 27 (Rubeor) 11:23
12. Navy - B. Looney 21 (unassisted) 10:56
13. Navy - Nick Mirabito 27 (Horn) 9:12

14. UVA - Poskay 28 (Rubeor) 6:22
15. Navy - Horn 26 (Gill) 0:03
4th quarter
16. Navy - Looney 22 (unassisted) 11:02 EMO

17. UVA - Drew Thompson 11 (Dixon) 5:21
18. UVA - Rubeor 17 (unassisted) 1:40

-- Navy fell to 15-22 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and 8-10 in the NCAA quarterfinals.
-- The four first quarter goals allowed by Navy were the most in the first quarter by an opponent all season. The Mids gave up three first-quarter goals twice (both to Army).
-- Navy held Virginia scoreless for a 15:54 stretch spanning the first and second quarter. The Mids have held a foe scoreless for over 15 minutes in 15-of-16 games this season.
-- Ben Horn has now scored a goal in 17 straight games, one of 15 players in NCAA history to accomplish the feat.
-- Graham Gill became the 26th player in Navy history to score 100 career points as he scored three points. Gill reached the 100-point mark with a third-period assist and finished his career with 100 points.
-- Navy lost for the first time this season and for the second time since the start of last year when a Mid netted a hat trick. Navy is 11-1 on the year and 23-2 since the start of last year when a Navy player scored a hat trick.
-- Navy is 1-5 since the start of last year when allowing a team to reach double-digits. When holding a team to nine or fewer goals, Navy is 26-2.
-- Navy lost for the first time all year when Chris Pieczonka won over 60 percent of his face-offs. Since the start of last year, the Mids are 18-3 when Pieczonka was over 60 percent. Pieczonka won 16-of-21 face-offs on the day. Top Stories