No. 6 Johns Hopkins Survives Scare at Navy for One-Goal Win

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Despite a spectacular defensive effort anchored by starting goalkeeper John Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.), the upset-minded Navy lacrosse team (4-8) fell a goal short as Johns Hopkins senior attackman Brandon Benn scored four goals to lead sixth-ranked Blue Jays (9-3) to a 6-5 victory over the Mids Friday evening at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

“It was another hard-fought contest by the Midshipmen,” said third-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “Knowing that they (Navy) left it all out there tonight, I can live with that. We don't play the game to lose, you play to win, but I couldn't be more proud of the way my guys fought.”

The Mids have lost three one-goal games this season (Georgetown, Loyola, Johns Hopkins), including two in the last three weeks. Plagued by one-goal decisions, Navy is just 1-6 over the last two seasons in games decided by one goal.

“Close ones like this hurt a lot,” said Navy co-captain Pat Kiernan, who was one of 13 seniors honored prior to the start of the contest. “It's an emotional game and when it doesn't come out your way, it cuts pretty deep. But our team is so hungry right now. We are looking forward to playing on Tuesday night in the Patriot League Tournament.”

Benn was a force to be reckoned with early in the game, as he scored Hopkins' first three goals of the contest, including an extra-man stroke just 44 seconds into the game.

Navy, though, answered when senior attackman Sam Jones (Annapolis, Md.) fed junior midfielder Gabe Voumard (Cape May, N.J.) for a 12-yard strike at the 10:19 mark in the opening quarter.

Deadlocked 1-1 after the first quarter of play, the Blue Jays went on a 2-0 run to take a 3-1 advantage that featured back-to-back goals by Benn just 28 seconds apart.

The Mids trimmed the Hopkins lead to one when sophomore attackmen Patrick Keena (Vienna, Va.) and T.J. Hanzsche (Berwyn, Pa.) connected. Keena sent a nifty pass to Hanzsche just two yards off the crease and Hanzsche tucked in what would be his first goal this month.

The Blue Jays would once again push their lead to two (4-2) when second-year attackman Ryan Brown buried an unassisted extra-man goal with 3:21 to play in the opening half.

Navy just over a minute later when senior Tucker Hull (Charlotte, N.C.) scanned the field and while looking for an open teammate, he fired in a 10-yarder for the first of his two goals of the evening and got the Mids to within one at the break.

Johns Hopkins came out of the locker room and needed just 42 seconds to score, as sophomore Holden Cattoni drilled his high-to-high shot past Connors off an assist from Connor Reed. The Blue Jays took their largest lead of the game with 8:04 to play in the third quarter when Brown fed Benn for his fourth goal of the game, an eight-yarder from the left wing to give them a 6-3 advantage. That goal, however, would be Hopkins' final goal of the game, as the Mids' defense kept the Blue Jays off the scoreboard for the final 23 minutes of the contest.

Navy clipped the deficit to two when Voumard found Jones at the top of the box and Jones drilled his shot over Hopkins keeper Eric Schneider's left shoulder. It was Navy's first extra-man goal since the Lehigh game.

Down 6-4 with under 10 minutes to play, Navy looked to have cut the lead to one when Voumard fired in a shot off a pass from Jones. The shot skimmed the top of Schneider's stick, clanked off the crossbar and found its way back into the stick of Schneider. It was one of six shots that hit either the post or crossbar by the Midshipmen in the contest.

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