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Top-notch defense guides UMD to win over Navy

Maryland lax

Kyle Bernlohr racked up 12 saves against Navy as the Maryland men’s lacrosse team completely blew past the Midshipmen for an 8-1 victory as the snow-fell down at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

“Definitely not the cleanest game we played,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “We won, but we all realize that to go where we want to go we have to play better.”

Navy’s defense actually played well throughout the game but Maryland’s just played better. The big difference was clears. Maryland never failed to clear the ball on their 25 attempts, but Navy cleared only 14 of their 17 tries.

“If you told me before the game that we would hold Maryland to eight goals, I would tell you we had a great chance to win,” Navy coach Rick Sowell said. “But if you told me before the game that we’d score one goal, I would say you were out of your mind. I never through in a million years that we would only score one goal.”

Maryland got on the board first, less than 2:30 into the game when Joe LoCascio scored his first of two goals in the game when he fired a shot from from 10-yard out on the right wing past Navy goalkeeper John Connors.

A bit later Navy freshman Jack Ray ran around the creased and put hit shot in the back of the net but the officials waived off the goal, claiming he went inside the creased before the ball went past Bernlohr.

Instead of it being a 1-1 game, Maryland built momentum as Henry West netted back-to-back goals in the second half to give Maryland a 3-0 lead at the break.

“It would have been big for Jack and his psyche and our entire team’s psyche [to score that goal],” Sowell said. “Maybe that goal makes a difference, but we will never know.”

Out of the break, Navy continued to hold Maryland’s offense off but at 8:49 in the third quarter, Navy’s D.J. Plumer was sent off for 30 seconds for offsides and Matt Rambo and Bryan Cole took advantage as Rambo scored.

Rambo did not start the game but provided a big spark off the bench. The sophomore attack, who was suspended indefinitely for an off the field incident, did not play in either preseason game but ended the game early in the first half and scored two goals and added two assists. He has scored nine points in two season-openers.

Navy was struggling to get open looks and were actually called for stalling 14 times but finally, at the 6:54 mark in the third quarter, Spencer Coyle found T.J. Hanzsche out on the right wing and the the junior attack ripped an eight-yard lefty shot to give Navy a goal, but they just couldn’t break UMD’s defense or get past Bernlohr, who replaced first-team All-American Niko Amato.

“If felt great getting out there. It’s been a long time coming,” Bernlohr said. “I definitely credit the defense for making them take the shots we wanted to see.”

His counter-park, Connors, had a fantastic game, even in the loss. In 60 minutes he stopped 13 shots from making it into the goal but late in the third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter, Maryland netted four-straight goals and just didn’t allow the Navy offense any good opportunities to get going.

Colin Heacock scored an unassisted goal at 3:48 in the third and with 1:15 LoCascio drove to the net on his own and put another shot in the net. In the fourth quarter, Rambo took a feed from West and he then assisted Jay Carlson’s goal near the end of the game.

“We made (Bernlohr) look very good,” Sowell said in reference to his team’s poor shot placement. “A lot of those saves were easy saves — at his feet, bounce shots, at his stick. He is a solid goalie and has a really good defense in front of him. We wouldn’t break them down.”

Navy won 7-of-11 faceoffs against Maryland’s Charlie Raffa. Last year, Raffa dominated at the X, winning 16 of 21 attempts.

Charlie Wright also contributed to this article

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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