“I really feel like we’ve re-established the personality of Navy lacrosse. I feel like the excitement is back,” Navy lacrosse head coach Joe Amplo said on Tuesday night.
Navy men’s lacrosse indeed took a step forward in 2021 but had their season fall victim to a red-hot Loyola team in the Patriot League quarterfinals, 16-9.
It began out of the gates as the Midshipmen let Loyola score the first five goals, trailing 5-0 after the first quarter. The Hounds attacked the net, and it seemed like Patriot League goalkeeper of the year Spencer Rees and his defense couldn’t stop Loyola’s onslaught.
Loyola out-shot the Midshipmen 10-4 in that first quarter, with all 10 being on net for the Hounds. They would out-shoot the Mids by a score of 46-30 on the afternoon, with 65% of those shots being on-frame.
“I thought their offense completely outplayed our defense,” Amplo said. “Tough to swallow.”
The Midshipmen came out with some urgency in the second quarter as they scored three straight to cut the deficit to two. Loyola would then answer with five goals in the final 11:17 of the first half, leading 10-4 at the break.
Not much would change as the Greyhounds owned their half of the field in the second half, playing more of a defensive game. Faceoff specialist Bailey Savio got it started for the Hounds, as he won 21 of the 28 faceoffs he attempted on the night.
“Bailey was terrific,” Loyola head coach Charley Tooney said. “And when he plays like that, he gives the whole program energy.”
The Greyhounds would win the second half by a score of 6-5. They will face Army on Friday afternoon in the tournament semifinals at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. The championship is set for noon on Sunday, also televised on CBS Sports Network.
Army is 7-3 on the season and beat Loyola 12-7 on April 10 in Baltimore.
With the NCAA tournament field being announced on Sunday at 9 p.m. on ESPNU, Navy will leave their slim hopes in the hands of the selection committee. The Mids have not made the NCAA Tournament since 2016, meaning no one on the current roster has played in an NCAA Tournament game for Navy.