Navy 9, Delaware 3

May 14, 2005

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Freshman attack Nick Mirabito (Binghamton, N.Y.) scored three goals to lead fifth-seeded Navy to a 9-7 victory over 16th-ranked Delaware in the opening round of the 2005 Div. I NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Navy is now 12-3 this spring and it marks just the second time in the program's history that it has reached 12 wins. Last season's NCAA Tournament run by the Mids set the school record for victories with 15.

"We are excited to advance in the NCAA Tournament," said Navy head coach Richie Meade, who has led the Mids to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons. "I was pleased with how the game unfolded in the first half, but we became careless with the ball on offense in the third quarter which led to Delaware getting momentum and scoring a few extra goals at the end. When it came down to it, our poise, preparation and focus was consistent through most of the game and helped us."

The game was evenly played over the first quarter with Navy taking a 2-1 lead thanks to a goal by second-line midfielder Cody Shea (Lake Grove, N.Y.), who produced just the second goal of his career with 10 seconds remaining in the opening stanza.

Delaware knotted the game at two apiece just eight seconds into the second quarter when face-off specialist Alex Smith won possession and jump started the transition. Smith fed junior Dan Hechtkopf, who replaced the Fightin' Hens' third-leading scorer Dave Powers due to an injury, who then found an open Andy Hipple for his 19th strike of the season.

Navy proceeded to go on a 6-0 run from the 9:36 mark in the second quarter to the 9:11 mark in the third. Mirabito scored the first-two goals of the run and tallied the Mids' opening goal of the third quarter.

The Mids' final goal in the 6-0 run was scored by senior long stick defensive midfielder Seth DiNola (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) who scored for the second-consecutive game.

Despite being down by an 8-2 count, Delaware fought back and outscored the Mids 5-1 over the final 20 minutes of action. Hechtkopf started the string of goals when he drilled an extra-man goal, his second of the season, with 4:57 remaining in the third period. The Blue Hens scored three goals in the third period to narrow the Navy lead to 8-5.

"Delaware continued to play well and we made some bad decisions," said Meade who was questioned about Delaware's run.

Navy looked to grab the momentum in the fourth period when senior short stick defensive midfielder Clipper Lennon (Westminster, Md.) sent a shot past Delaware keeper Chris Collins at the 8:30 mark.

Delaware, though, scored two goals in the final 2:28 to inch closer to the Mids, but it wasn't enough to catch Navy.

The Fightin' Blue Hens had two goals waved off during the game. The first was with 6:24 left in the opening period when Jordan Hall's goal was wiped away because he was in the crease. And with less than a minute to go in the game, Delaware scored just after the official awarded head coach Bob Shillinglaw a timeout.

The hype heading into the contest was focused on the face-off battle between Smith and Navy's Chris Pieczonka (Hamburg, N.Y.). Smith dominated the "x" in the first half, winning eight of the 10 draws. In the second half, Navy claimed seven of the 10 draws, giving Delaware a slight 11-9 edge at the end of the contest.

"Alex Smith is a terrific face-off guy and I was very impressed," said Meade. "We struggled, but in the second half we made some adjustments with our wings that gave us the advantage on some of the breaks. We were able to better control him in the second half."

Both goalkeepers were at the top of their game. First-Team All-American Matt Russell (Madison, Conn.) had perhaps his best game of the season, stopping 13 shots on goal, including nine in the first half. Collins made 12 saves for Delaware, six in each half.

"Making a big save is what it's all about," said Russell, who was named the 2005 Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year. "I can't be more excited than I am now. It's playoff time. I'm more than happy to step in and come up with a big save for the team. I don't think I've ever had to win a game for this team. It's just that, a team."

Navy, who will play the winner of tonight's contest between Albany and Virginia, will travel to Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field to play in the quarterfinal action next Saturday. The matchups and game times will be released next week.

Delaware: (G-A-P) Dan Hechtkopf 1-2-3, Jordan Hall 1-1-2, 
Andy Hipple 1-1-2, Drew Turner 2-0-2, Cam Howard 1-0-1, 
Joe Trentzsch 1-0-1.
Navy: (G-A-P) Nick Mirabito 3-0-3, William Wallace 1-2-3, 
Ben Horn 1-1-2, Seth DiNola 1-0-1, Graham Gill 0-1-1, 
Clipper Lennon 1-0-1, Billy Looney 1-0-1, Chris 
Pieczonka 0-1-1, Cody Shea 1-0-1, Tommy Wallin 0-1-1.

Shots: Delaware (32) 9-9-7-7; Navy (41) 11-9-12-9
Ground Balls: Delaware (35) 8-8-6-13; Navy (36) 8-9-9-10
Saves: Delaware (12) 4-2-3-3; Navy (13) 5-4-3-1
Face-Offs: Delaware 11 of 20, Navy 9 of 20
Clears: Delaware 18 of 22, Navy 17 of 19
Extra-Man: Delaware 1 of 6, Navy 0 of 1
Penalties: Delaware 1 (0:30), Navy 6 (4:30)

Scoring Summary
PD Time Team EMO Scorer/Assist
1 9:45 N E Billy Looney (19) unassisted
1 5:11 D E Cam Howard (14) unassisted
1 0:10 N E Cody Shea (2) from Ben Horn
2 14:52 D E Andy Hipple (19) from Dan Hechtkopf
2 9:36 N E Nick Mirabito (24) from Tommy Wallin
2 7:46 N E Nick Mirabito (25) from William Wallace
2 3:34 N E Ben Horn (24) from Graham Gill
2 2:13 N E William Wallace (8) unassisted
3 9:20 N E Nick Mirabito (26) from William Wallace
3 9:11 N E Seth DiNola (2) from Chris Pieczonka
3 4:57 D Up Dan Hechtkopf (2) unassisted
3 2:31 D E Drew Turner (6) from Dan Hechtkopf
3 0:24 D E Jordan Hall (29) unassisted
4 8:30 N E Clipper Lennon (2) unassisted
4 2:28 D E Drew Turner (7) from Andy Hipple
4 1:26 D E Joe Trentzsch (24) from Jordan Hall

-- Courtesy Navy