ANNAPOLIS, Md. — It was a tough outing for the Virginia Military Institute lacrosse team as the Keydets opened the 2015 season at the United States Naval Academy Sunday afternoon. The Midshipmen scored 13 goals in the first half, aiding in a 21-7 VMI loss at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Navy (1-0) had a nine-point performance from Patrick Keena behind two goals and seven assists. T.J. Hanzsche added six points on four goals and two assists while Dave Little scored four goals with one assist for five points. Kevin Wendel logged a hat trick as Colin Flounacker potted a pair. Spencer Coyle had two points on one goal and one assist, as did Alex Hayward. DJ Plumer, David Jones and Chris Hill had one goal apiece. Tim Roy tallied one assist.
VMI’s scoring efforts were paced by two first half goals from Brad Biondello while Cody Sheetz had two points on a goal and an assist in his collegiate debut. Dan Bull also had two points to open his junior campaign with a goal and a helper. Brad Nardella posted one goal, as did Mike DeBlasio and Chris Spada. Sophomore Dale Mattice finished with one assist.
“We made this game much for difficult than it needed to be but I love that we have a short turnaround time so we can learn from mistakes and rebound,” said VMI head coach Brian Anken, who opened his fifth season at the helm of the program.
The Keydets (0-1) split the halves in goal, with senior Evan Windisch getting the start, making five saves but allowing 13 goals. Joe Riccadonna carried VMI in the second half, stopping four Midshipmen shots, surrendering eight goals.
Navy also used multiple goalies. John Connors got the win with 41 minutes of work, making two saves and allowing two goals. Noah Pounds played nearly 13 minutes, making two stops and allowing a goal while Ryan Kelly finished the game with three saves and two goals allowed.
The Midshipmen, who received votes in both the USILA Coaches’ Poll and the Cascade/Maverik Media Poll, out-shot VMI 48-18, including 15 attempts in the second quarter. Little took seven shots to lead the game while VMI’s offensive efforts was led by five shots from Nardella.
Navy collected 44 groundballs, aided by a 23-32 day in faceoffs. Brady Dove won all 10 of his draws while Joe Varello went 11-of-16 at the X. VMI’s Pat Hine took 11 draws, winning five while Colby Lalicker won four of his 15 attempts. Hine led VMI with four of the team’s 21 groundballs.
Both teams were working out the early season kinks as VMI turned the ball over 19 times while Navy had 16 miscues. The Keydets struggled with faceoffs in the early portion of the game, committing four faceoff violations in the first 30 minutes, resulting in two of the teams four penalties. Neither team scored an extra-man goal during the season opener as VMI killed off its three minutes in penalties while Navy did likewise on its lone 30 second penalty.
The Midshipmen jumped out to a 6-1 lead at the end of the first quarter after Hanzsche and Wendel scored the first two goals of the game. VMI broke up the run as Biondello struck unassisted with 10:43 left in the period. Navy struck four more times as Little scored twice, with additional goals from Keena and Hanzsche.
VMI killed off a penalty in the first period after struggling at the faceoff, committing too many violations. Lalicker went two-for-five in the at the X in the opening stanza.
Navy took a 13-2 lead at halftime after a seven-goal second quarter. Heyward scored the first goal of the fresh stanza for Navy, followed by Biondello’s second goal. The Mids scored the final six goals of the second half behind successive goals from Wendel, Flounacker, Voumard, Plumer, Wendel again and Little.
The Mids continued scoring in the third quarter with another four goals, extending a scoring streak of 10 goals from the middle of the second quarter to the 7:47 mark of the third before Sheetz netted his first college goal. Bull was credited with the assist. Navy scored twice more in the third as Spada split the final two Mid goals of the period, stinging his first of the year with 4:37 on the clock.
Opening the final period, Navy struck its 20th goal before VMI notched back-to-back markers, once from Bull and again from DeBlasio. Mattice had the helper on DeBlasio’s goal. Navy scored just once more in the game with Jones at 4:13 as the Keydets logged the final marker of the contest as Sheetz hit Nardella with a pass for the goal.
VMI won’t have long to sulk about the result as the Keydets head north to West Point, N.Y. for a second game in as many days. The Keydets take on the United State Military Academy at 3 p.m. on Monday at the Black Knights’ Michie Stadium.
John C. Stark
Assistant Athletic Communications Director
Virginia Military Institute
Email: [email protected]