April 9, 2011

Navy Downs Colgate to Move Into Tie Atop Patriot League Standings

from press release

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy bounced back from a two-game skid by defeating first-place Colgate (6-6, 3-1 PL), 14-11, in a key Patriot League women's lacrosse game on Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. With the win, Navy improves to 10-4 overall and is now in a three-way tie with Colgate and Lehigh for first place in the Patriot League at 3-1. The game was also nationally televised by CBS Sports Network.

"We knew we were going to have a tough game today coming off that hard loss to Holy Cross last weekend." head coach Cindy Timchal said. "But we maintained our composure as a team and we really worked hard all week in practice and we were determined to turn that little slump around."

Navy has now won three straight games against Colgate and evens the all-time series at 3-3.

Sophomore goalie Michelle Verbeeck earned her first career start and responded by making seven saves and playing the full 60:00 minutes to get the win in the cage for Navy. Verbeeck made six saves in the first half alone and also grabbed two ground balls.

"It was a great opportunity and I was so glad that I could step up and get our team off to a good start," Verbeeck said. "The defense was really stepping it up and everyone contributed today and gave it their all."

Senior Katrina Nietsch led the Navy attack with four goals and senior Caitlin Mandrin Hill and sophomore Jasmine DePompeo each had three goals and an assist. Sophomore Kathy Young was the fourth Mid with a hat trick, netting three goals on the day.

Navy opened the game up with a critical three-goal span in just over two minutes early in the first half to push its lead to 4-2. Young and DePompeo scored back-to-back goals in a 32-second span before Mandrin Hill converted on a free-position attempt a minute later.

Colgate scored two of the game's next three goals to draw within one at 5-4 with ten minutes remaining in the first half, but Navy scored three more times on two tallies from Nietsch and a goal from Young to take a 8-5 lead into halftime. Although the Mids built up a first-half advantage, the team had to overcome being outdone on the draw controls in the opening frame, 12-2. Navy was able to counter that by leading 12-6 in ground balls and posting an 8-for-9 ledger on clears.

Navy stayed hot to open the second half as Mandrin Hill scored on a feed from freshman Aimee Gennaro three minutes into frame before Young scored an unassisted goal 23 seconds later. Nietsch then added her third goal of the game at 23:54.

The Raiders then fought back with two straight goals of their to close the gap to 11-7, but the Mids then scored three straight on strikes from Nietsch, DePompeo and Mandrin Hill to put the game out of reach at 14-7 with 15 minutes to play.

The Raiders did make it interesting by scoring four unanswered goals in a four-minute span to draw the game to 14-11, but Navy did a good job of controlling possession over the game's final minutes and Verbeeck made a key save at 7:16 to prevent Colgate from getting any closer than the final margin.

Navy did a much better job on the draw controls in the second half, holding a 7-6 edge. In total, Colgate lead 18-9 in clears but Navy won the battle of ground balls, 18-13 and outshot the Raiders 32-28.

Nietsch recorded her 20th career hat trick and in the process became the first Midshipmen in program history to score at least 25 goals in four straight seasons.

Mandrin Hill recorded her 86th career assist in the game and is now tied for fourth on the all-time Patriot League career chart.

Junior defender Kierstin King returned after missing two games with a solid performance of four ground balls and one caused turnover. Sophomore defender Claire Olechowski also played well, racking up three ground balls, a draw control and a caused turnover.

Although Gennaro didn't score a goal, she tallied two assists to keep up her streak alive of recording at least two points in the each of the first 14 games of her collegiate career.

Colleen Bubnack scored five times to lead Colgate's offense and Beasley Hays grabbed a game-high five ground balls.

Navy now has two league games remaining on the schedule. The Mids will play a American on Wednesday at 4 pm and will host Lehigh on April 23 in the regular season finale.

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