"It's hard to play two games in 48 hours, but we came out today and played with a lot of energy and emotion," said Navy head coach Richie Meade. "We were able to get a lot of guys into the game who have played hard in practice. There aren't a lot of teams scoring 17 goals in a game, so from that standpoint, it was a very encouraging game."
Senior co-captain Jon Birsner (Levittown, N.Y.) paced the Mids with seven points (1 g, 6 a). Coupled with Friday's six-point performance in Navy's 9-4 win over Lehigh, Birsner scored 13 points (3 g, 10 a) in Navy's two-game weekend sweep. Taylor Harris (Clifton, Va.) doubled his career goal output with six goals. Harris entered the afternoon with six career netters. For the season, Harris has scored nine goals on just 12 shots, after missing almost all of last season with an injury.
"He had a serious injury last year and has followed his plan and been very patient with it," said Meade. "He has definitely helped us this year, especially as our fourth attack man. Getting him back on track has been very important for us and there aren't a lot of guys with the playing time that he has to have a shooting percentage that high."
"I think the best thing I can do is shoot and give the attack a needed boost," said Harris. "All I could do last year is warm up the goalkeepers. It's very nice to be able to give the team a boost. This was our best team offensive output by far and nothing is better to see people working hard each week score points. We can't score goals unless someone is feeding us the ball, and the guys did a great job doing that today."
Navy led just 2-0 after one quarter after goals by Birsner and Nick Mirabito (Binghamton, N.Y.). The Mids outscored the Crusaders, 4-0, in the second quarter, highlighted by three straight goals spanning six minutes by Harris for a 6-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Navy defense continued to dominate its opponents, holding Holy Cross to just five shots in the first half.
The Mids then opened the game open in the third quarter, scoring the period's first five goals and outscoring Holy Cross, 8-1, in the stanza. The eight goals in the third quarter were the most for Navy this season. Harris would score three more goals in the stanza and Mirabito and Ian Dingman (Deferiet, N.Y.) added two for a 14-1 Navy advantage.
Meade substitued liberally in the fourth quarter as the Mids outscored Holy Cross, 3-2, in the quarter for the 17-3 victory.
The 17 goals were the most since scoring 23 against Holy Cross in the 2004 season. The Mids outshot Holy Cross, 50-18, including 45-7 through three quarters. Navy also scooped up a season-high 57 ground balls to Holy Cross' 24, and won 14-of-24 face-offs. Navy also converted on 16-of-19 clears to Holy Cross' 10-of-18.
Navy will now enter its most daunting portion of the schedule, with three top 10 foes in the next month, starting with next weekend's battle with No. 6-ranked Georgetown.
"Obviously, next weekend's game with Georgetown is a big game for us," said Meade. "Our games in April are big for us mentally and physically. Last year, they beat up on us pretty good. We have to match their intensity and skill."
The Mids and Hoyas will battle next Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, beginning at 1:00 p.m.