Last season No. 15 Navy won a CWPA Southern Division title but was tripped up just short of the national tournament by longtime rival Princeton at the Eastern Championships. The Midshipmen are eager to make up coming up short last season. At the Navy Open, Navy went undefeated with victories over Iona, Gannon and Notre Dame College of Ohio.
Head coach Mike Schofield, the 2004 Coach of the Year and a seven-time Eastern Coach of the Year, has led the Naval Academy to thirteen NCAA appearances and nine Eastern Championships in his twenty-eight seasons at Annapolis. Last year, Navy compiled a 24-7 record and won the CWPA Southern Division tournament title for the 13th time in 19 appearances.
Anthony Gutierrez returned this season for Navy and ranks eighth on your all-time saves list. Will he be your go-to goalie?
Schofield: Anthony has been the starter the past two years but he is getting pushed by sophomore Tyler Barker and freshman Caleb Lintz, who was the state Player of the Year in Pennsylvania. We are not sure which of these three guys will be our starter and we are looking for someone to emerge.
Paul Pedrotty scored fifty-six goals for your squad last fall. What makes him a great scorer for your squad?
Schofield: I’m not sure that Paul would be ready to call himself great yet. He has added things to his game during his time here. When he showed up as a freshman, he was scrawny and not very imposing. Now he is much more imposing. He has physically grown and that is due to some time in the weight room. Paul uses his legs and knows how to get out on the counter. He was a very good player coming out of Coronado High School with Randy Burgess and has matured as an athlete during his time with us. Paul has always been a great shooter.
Speaking of scoring, how will the new NCAA rule changes impact your games?
Schofield: More goals will be scored. The shorter course keeps teams not as deep and not as fit in games a little more. With there being five less meters to swim, you are spending more time on offense and defense.
What does Navy need to do to win the East this season?
Schofield: I have never said this before with as much trepidation, but we need to get out of the South. There are five teams in the South in Princeton, Bucknell, Johns Hopkins, George Washington and us that are as comparable and competitive as I have ever seen. Before we worry about Easterns, we need to worry about Southerns. All of those teams except Princeton were at our tournament this weekend and each went undefeated, with impressive wins. If we do get to Easterns and are lucky enough to make the final again, we just need to play better than we did last year.