Max Hewitt (So/Denver, Colo.) scored a career-high 4 goals, including tying and game-winning targets just 49 seconds apart, to lead the Navy men’s lacrosse team (5-3) to an 11-10 victory from behind against 18th-ranked Johns Hopkins (4-4) on Friday night at historic Homewood Field in Baltimore, Maryland.
“It’s history for our guys. They’re so proud to wear the jersey and play for the guys who came before them,” the third-year Navy head coach said. Joe Amplo“I told them they had their moment, now it’s your moment. Our guys really grabbed it tonight and I’m really proud of them for that. We grew tonight.”
The win marked the Mids’ first win over the Blue Jays at Homewood Field since May 10, 1969, when the Navy had lost 22 straight games at JHU before Friday night’s victory. Moreover, it was only the Mids’ third win in the series since 1975 (9-8 OT in 2010 / 8-2 in 2012). It was the 20th one-goal game in 91-game history and the eighth one-goal game in the last 16 meetings (Johns Hopkins have won 6 of 8).
In a game that featured seven draws (1-1 / 3-3 / 5-5 / 7-7 / 8–8 / 9-9 / 10-10), the home-and-away game saw the Mids just leading three times during the game. Xavier Arlin (So / A / Wading River, NY) scored the first goal of the game just a minute and a half into the game, but after the game was tied at one on one on an unassisted goal from Connor DeSimone, the Mids will spend the next 41 minutes battling to regain the lead.
Navy rallied in the third quarter with the All-Patriot League midfielder Patrick Skalniak (Jr/Dallas, TX) taking responsibility and scoring back-to-back goals to tie the game at 7-all.
The Mids made it three in a row (13:18) when the Skalniak defender slipped high in the box and the defense slipped, leaving Jon Jarosz (A/So/Gambrills, Md.) open at the fold. Jarosz beat the goaltender before scoring his second goal of the night to give Navy its first lead since 1:25 into the first quarter.
The Blue Jays, however, responded with back-to-back goals of their own, including Garrett Degnon’s fourth of the game and the 50th of his career that put Johns Hopkins back in control with a 9-8 lead.
Hewitt tied the game, beating the shot clock with the first of what would be three straight goals from the Colorado native. JHU had a response again, as DeSimone sent a pass to Joey Epstein who had space and time to score his second goal of the game and give the Blue Jays a 10-9 lead with 6:05 left. play in the game.
Hewitt tied the game at 10 all when he dodged his way past veteran short-batting defensive midfielder Jake Lilly at the top of the box and shoved his way into midfield before aiming his shot. Just 49 seconds later, Hewitt found the back of the net again, scoring the game-winner from the left wing and slotting his shot over the left shoulder of Blue Jays goaltender Josh Kirson.
Johns Hopkins would have three looks at the cage, including a shot from Epstein, the team’s top scorer this season, a man who would be pushed back by the Navy’s first-year goaltender. pat ryan (Jr/Groton, Mass.) with 1:37 remaining in the game. The Blue Jays put the ball in Degnon’s stick for their last shot of the game, but that attempt would go away as Navy celebrated the long-awaited victory.
Hewitt finished with career highs in goals (4), assists (2) and points (6), while posting his third hat trick in the last four games (3 vs. High Point / 3 vs. Lehigh) . Remarkably, Hewitt and Skalniak, who scored 6 points for a second straight week, combined to play a part in 10 of the Mids’ 11 goals. The only goal in which either of them didn’t register a goal or an assist was the opening goal of the game, although Skalniak fed Arline who made a fantastic move to clear for the goal.
With his 3 goals and 3 assists in Friday’s win, Skalniak now has 35 points on the year and is just the 17th different Navy midfielder in program history to reach 30 points in one. season. His 35 points are tied for 10th by a Navy midfielder.
Johns Hopkins had 17 turnovers in the contest, including 7 that were forced by the Mids. All-Patriot League Defender Jackson Bonitz (So / Shrewsbury, PA) recorded 2 takeaways, as he moved to 16th in the Mids all-time rankings with 23.
Ryan played a solid game between the posts for the Mids where he made 12 saves.
Degnon, a Catholic DeMatha graduate who wears No. 40 in honor of former Navy and Navy SEAL lacrosse player Brendan Looney who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, paced the Blue Jays with 5 of 4 points goals and an assist. Epstein and Johnathan Peshko, meanwhile, scored two goals.
The Navy returns to Patriot League play next weekend when it hosts Holy Cross on March 26 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Next Saturday’s game is scheduled for a noon puck drop and will be streamed live on ESPN+. Additionally, WNAV 1430 AM/99.9 FM will broadcast the game live with Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller On call.
### Go Navy ###