RICHMOND, Va. -- Navy (16-3-2) scored three goals in an eight-minute span en route to a 3-0 win at VCU (11-8-2) in the NCAA first round on Thursday evening at Sports Backers Stadium. Navy has advanced to the NCAA second round and will play at Wake Forest at 5 p.m. Sunday. Wake Forest (9-5-5) was one of 16 seeded teams to receive a bye into the second round.
Senior midfielder Martin Sanchez broke open a 0-0 game with his low driving goal in the 68th minute. Junior Geoff Fries then followed with a goal in the 71st minute and then another in the 76th minute as the Mids turned a deadlocked game into a rout in a span of just 7:36.
"The first goal was always going to be big," Navy head coach Dave Brandt said. "It gave us some opportunities to go forward and we were glad to get a couple others to put the game away."
Sanchez's goal was set up by senior Blake Busse and he ripped a shot through traffic to the right corner of the goal. Sanchez, an All-Patriot League first-team honoree, tallied his second goal of the season and he now has 14 points (two goals, 10 assists).
"The goal came off of pressure," Sanchez said. "We got the ball and we knew that we could switch fields and attack on them because they like to sit back, especially on the weak side. I got the ball and just took a fortunate touch and then hit a strike and fortunately it went in."
Fries then went on a two-goal spurt to put the game out of reach. His first goal came after a scrum in the box when a loose ball popped out at the six-yard mark and he drilled it home at 70:26, just three minutes after Sanchez's goal.
Five minutes later Grant Valenstein passed ahead to a streaking Fries who was able to chip the ball past VCU goalkeeper Andrew Wells for his second goal of the game and Navy's third goal of the eight-minute stretch.
Fries also scored the game-winning goal in Navy's Patriot League championship win against Holy Cross last Sunday and has scored all three of his goals this season in the past two games. He is the first Mid to score two goals in one game this season.
Senior goalkeeper Gavin Snyder made four saves in the game for his fourth consecutive shutout. Snyder is now the Navy single-season record holder for most shutouts in a season with his 10 clean sheets. Snyder is 15-0-0 with a 0.26 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage.
Snyder made three saves in the first half and VCU saw two opportunities go just wide in the 39th minute and in the 44th minute on a free kick.
Navy improves its all-time NCAA tournament record to 15-9-0 overall and is 8-3-0 in the first round. Navy won its first NCAA tournament game since 1971.
The Mids won their 15th consecutive game, which is the longest active winning streak in the NCAA. Navy also set a program record for most wins in a season at 16. The previous record of 15 was set in 1964 when Navy won the NCAA championship.
Navy and Wake Forest will meet for the first time on Sunday. The winner will advance to the NCAA third round on Dec. 1.