April 24, 2009

LEWISBURG, Pa. - Junior midfielder Joe Lennon scored the final three goals of the game, including the game-winner with 2:46 left in the third overtime, to give 11th-ranked Navy (10-4) a thrilling 9-8 victory over 17th ranked Colgate (9-5) in the Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Semifinals on Friday evening. It is the first time in school history that Navy has won a postseason game in overtime. Navy advances to play 15th-ranked Bucknell (9-6) on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Patriot League Championship Game.

"In the fourth quarter, when we were down 8-6, I didn't see anybody's head drop," said Navy head coach Richie Meade. "We just kept fighting. Defensively, after the first quarter, I thought we played very well. We gave up a couple of goals in transition, but that was about it. We had to play well defensively to have a chance to win."

Colgate led 8-6 and had possession of the ball with less than four minutes remaining, but the Raiders' Rob Bosco turned the ball over and Navy's Andy Tormey picked up the ground ball. Navy quickly cleared the ball to the other end and Lennon converted the miscue from 10 yards out with 2:51 remaining to make the score 8-7.

Colgate won the ensuing faceoff, but missed two shots on goal, including one by three-time Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year Brandon Corp who had an open shot at an empty net and missed it wide. After a Bosco turnover, Lennon ripped the net from 15 yards out with 1:21 left to tie the game at eight.

Colgate won the faceoff again, but Navy goalie Tommy Phelan saved a shot off the stick of Kevin Colleluori and Corp's shot was wide to send the game into overtime.

In the first overtime, Navy's Robby Battle won the faceoff and Brendan Connors took a shot that was saved by Colgate's Tim Harrington. The Mids' Matt Vernam was whistled for a holding call with 2:46 left, but Navy's man-down defense, which is ranked No. 1 in the country (85.7 percent) killed off the penalty with only one shot taken. The Mids got the ball back with 1:08 left in the overtime, but could never get a shot.

Both teams had opportunities to win the game in the second overtime. Colgate's best chance came just 21 seconds in when Ian Murphy's rocket shot hit the cross bar, while Navy long stick Zack Schroeder had a breakaway after a wild scramble for a loose ball at midfield, but his bounce shot was saved by Colgate goalie Tim Harrington.

Battle won the faceoff to start the third overtime and the ground ball was picked up by Jaren Woeppel. Navy held the ball for 1:14 before Lennon worked free for his 13th goal of the season and his fourth of the game to end the longest game in Patriot League Tournament history.

"It was too early to end the season," said Lennon. "We are just happy to be playing on Sunday."

There was no doubt that Lennon was the hero of the night, but he would not have been in position to win the game had it not been for the defensive performance of senior Andy Tormey and freshman Matt Vernam. Vernam held Corp, who entered the afternoon No. 1 in the country in points per game (4.46 per game) to just one goal, while Tormey held Colleluori, the third-leading scorer in the country (3.0 goals per game) to just one goal and three shots.

"I thought Tormey and Vernam did a great job tonight," said Meade.

Navy is 4-0 in Patriot League Championship games, defeating Hobart (9-8) in 2004, Army (15-8) in 2005, Army (8-5) in 2006 and Colgate (15-9) in 2007.