ARMY DEFEATS NAVY, 7-6

Having already scored two goals in the 88th Army-Navy game, Navy sophomore Nikk Davis saw a chance with less than a minute to play to score a third goal, tie the game and probably force overtime.

With 37 seconds left Davis, who was being defended by a shortstick, drove to the goal, dove, shot, scored, was pushed into the crease and dislodged the goal. He also injured his back in the process.

Navy fans were feeling injured seconds later: The goal was disallowed after two referees ruled Davis had stepped into the crease before he shot. Navy was given an extra-man penalty but didn't score, and Army held on for a 7-6 victory before 20,799 at the Day of Rivals at M&T Bank Stadium.

The selector of referees for the NCAA tournament, after initially saying he thought the call was good but wanted to see a replay, said he saw two replays and thought the goal probably should have counted.

When asked if he thought he had scored, Davis answered, "Yes sir. ... I didn't realize the game wasn't tied until I heard it announced over the [stadium] speakers."

Said Navy coach Richie Meade: "I don't have the benefit of instant replay. It may be the only time in the history of lacrosse where the guy goes underneath, gets a flag, scores and it doesn't count. [But] I don't know what the referees saw because I'm not a referee."

Army coach Joe Alberici called it "a bang-bang play" and said he wasn't given an explanation on why the goal didn't count.

Navy (5-7, 4-2 Patriot League) was undone by more than the disputed call. Army (6-5, 4-0) made a surprise switch in its defensive gameplan.

After deciding earlier in the week to defend Navy senior midfielder Patrick Moran (team-high 22 goals) with sophomore longstick middie Tim Henderson (team-high 18 caused turnovers), Alberici changed course.

He moved Henderson to senior midfielder Joe Lennon and defended Moran with a rotation of shortsticks: Senior co-captain Alex Gephart and juniors Charlie Sauter and Brandon Butler. The shortsticks hounded Moran into an 0-for-11 day, though three of the shots hit the goal's pipe or crossbar. Lennon added a goal but struggled to initiate the offense while being defended by a longstick.

Navy's attack also was kept under wraps -- it combined for one goal, one assist and only seven shots.

That left the scoring to surprising sources. Davis finished with a team-high two goals and senior Kyle Kapron, junior Kevin Doyle and sophomore Ryan O'Leary each scored one goal.

Navy's defense held its own for large stretches against Army's attack, including the duo of junior Jeremy Boltus and freshman Garrett Thul. Junior Michael Hirsch guarded Boltus and had a game-high three takeaways.

But Army's offensive scheme forced Navy to move a shortstick to Boltus on several first-half possessions. Boltus dodged a shortstick and scored Army's first goal and he also was mistakenly left open and scored Army's winning goal, the one one that gave it a 7-6 lead, with 4 minutes 29 seconds to play.

"I went up top and [midfielder] Conor Hayes took the short, made a great move through 'x' [the area behind the goal], came through and I realized that Hirsch was really down on Tyler Seymour down on the crease and it left me open," Boltus said. "Coach was saying 'low corner' all the time, and I just put it by him off-hip. He's a good goalie to get it past."

Boltus finished with three goals and one assist and Thul added two goals and one assist. One of the goals came after Thul was defended by three defenders yet still managed to get off an over-the-head bounce shot that went past goalie RJ Wickham and into the top corner of the net.

The game was marked by strong defense and commitment from both teams. There were 11 blocked shots in the game -- out of 38 total shots -- as players from both teams willingly threw their bodies in front of the shots.

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