Season In Review: Navy

NAVY*
Finished:
10-6, lost in NCAA quarterfinals to Johns Hopkins
*-Note: Class years used are for 2009 season.

MVP: Junior attackman Tim Paul. A revelation. Finished with 26 goals; the Midshipmen were 10-3 in games in which he scored a goal. (And perhaps more pointedly, were 0-3 when he did not score.)

His four goals in the first round against UNC gave Navy much-needed confidence and, given Navy's offensive struggles, those goals were the equivalent of someone scoring eight goals for a high-tempo offense.

He needed little time or space in which to shoot and he varied the placement of his shots. Also, three of his five assists came against teams that used a zone against the Midshipmen (Mount St. Mary's and Bucknell).

What They'll Miss Most: Graduated faceoff specialist Mikelis Visgauss. He won more than 50 percent against top teams like Ohio State (11 of 16), Cornell (9 of 16), Colgate (7 of 13), Georgetown (13 of 24), Maryland (10 of 13), Army (11 of 16) and Johns Hopkins in the NCAA tournament (10 of 16).

Junior Frankie Coppola won 19 of 37 this year (.514 percent). He will probably be pushed by freshman Will Fields from Notre Dame Academy. Fields was heavily recruited and physically is more imposing than many of the freshmen faceoff specialists who struggled around the country this year.

Most Unusual Stat: In the first half of an early season game against Lehigh, the jersey numbers of the three midfield lines added up. The starting midfield was numbers 13, 15 and 28 (13+15=28). When senior Evan Boyle played on the second midfield with graduated Terence Higgins and senior Michael Beggins, their numbers were 6, (+) 11, (=) 17. The third midfield that day was senior Sean Standen (#2) with freshmen Brian Striffler (#27) and Kevin Doyle (#29).

In the second half, senior Shane Durkin (#35) took his usual spot on the second midfield in place of Boyle and ruined the whole thing.

What They Need in 2009: More creativity on offense. Or at least someone who can break down the defense with a dodge or pass. A healthy Basil Daratsos and/or Bruce Nechanicky and a confident Durkin might be those players.

If they can beat their defensemen and feed Paul, his split-second decision-making--either to pass or shoot--is certain to keep everyone on their toes, including opposing defenses and the Navy coaches.

Reason to be Cheerful: Navy is always good where other teams aren't--defensive midfield in particular. Senior Geoff Leone reminded TFBO2F at times of Steve Looney with his work on groundballs and in transition. Should he maybe play more offense next year?

Also, Navy's fan support is second to none in the area.

Reason to be Fearful: Navy lost a lot on defense with three-year starters Jordan DiNola and Brendan Teague. Sophomores Tom Mansfield and Michael Hirsch have a chance to start that cycle anew if they crack the starting lineup.

But the sophomores or seniors Andy Tormey or Thomas Zimmerman will have to develop into the lockdown defender that DiNola was for much of the season. After all, conference foes Bucknell and Colgate bring back a lot of offense.

By Christian Swezey |  May 29, 2008; 10:15 AM ET  | Category:  Navy
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You could be onto something with that midfield numerology thing.

Posted by: Jaysfan | May 29, 2008 8:01 PM

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