#LMRanks: No. 18 Navy Midshipmen (WD1)
|Goalie Annie Foky is the reigning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and will have to stand tall as the Mids hope for a fifth straight NCAA tournament bid. (John Strohsacker)|
Previous: No. 19 Princeton Tigers
2013 Record: 19-2 (6-0 Patriot League)
Coach: Cindy Timchal (7th Season)
Record at Navy: 95-24
G Annie Foky (Jr.)
Finishing third in NCAA Division I with a 7.13 GAA, Foky is the reigning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year after taking over the starting job early in the season for the Mids, who finished third in the nation allowing just 7.43 goals a game. With new conference foes Loyola and Boston University on the schedule in 2014, she'll need to remain on point for Navy to capture a fifth straight league title.
A/M Jill Coughlin (Sr.)
Coughlin scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Navy's win over New Hampshire in 2013 and will be expected to help on that end more, playing more attack as the Mids try to replace NCAA scoring leader Jasmine DePompeo offensively.
NCAA Tournament Trend
2009 - DNQ
2010 – First Round
2011 – First Round
2012 – First Round
2013 – Second Round
After years of being the proverbial big fish in the Patriot League – the Mids have taken home the last four league titles and made the NCAA tournament each year as the AQ – there's a pair of new sharks in the water as Loyola and Boston University enter the fray.
"Those are two excellent programs and it speaks volumes to the [Patriot League] commitment to women's lacrosse," Timchal said. "We were excited when we first joined the league, and now there's two more exciting new faces to play every year."
Navy played two teams ranked in the Top 20 a year ago and fell to both of them. It hosted Northwestern in March and dropped a 15-12 decision for its only regular season loss. Then after 13 straight wins, it faced Duke in the NCAA tournament and once again couldn't get over the hump.
"Lost a lot to graduation... Perhaps the most fit team out there, the bench is deep and the coaches are intense. Can the Mids replace Jasmine DePompeo? If so, expect another Patriot League title and NCAA berth."
"We’re here at Navy because we believe in the academy and the level of support we have. Every time we step on the field, we want to prove just how tough we can be."
-Navy head coach Cindy Timchal
In a Nutshell: The best season in the short history of the USNA's women's program saw highs that supporters only imagined when Timchal was hired after eight NCAA titles at Maryland. Behind NCAA points leader Jasmine DePompeo (127), the Mids started 6-0 before falling by three to Northwestern. Two days later, they got back in winning shape by topping New Hampshire in overtime, starting another streak that lasted 13 games and covered a fourth straight Patriot League tournament championship before Duke ended their season in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
High Point: It may seem strange to think it this way, but the only regular season loss for the Mids, by 15-12 score, to Northwestern, was a telling game for the program. Yes, they lost, but for a Navy team that was a club program prior to 2008, a three-goal loss to the perennial championship challenger showed that they were capable of doing more than just beating up on mid-and lower-level competition.
Low Point: The only proper low point for Navy last year was the end of its season, handed down by Duke by five goals in the second round of the NCAAs. The Mids struck early and led 4-2 midway through the first half after a free position goal by Jill Coughlin. But the Blue Devils owned the rest of the game, scoring seven straight over the next 30-odd minutes of game play to flip the lead to 9-4 in their favor and holding on to advance.
Best Case: The solid back line with Foky anchoring things and multiple players like Aimee Gennaro (64G, 16A), Loren Generi (62G, 13A) coming together to replace the loss of DePompeo on offense lets Navy get off to another banner year. Tough league games against Lafayette and Boston University test Timchal's crew in March, but the team gels offensively and once again puts together a strong regular season, capped with a trip to Baltimore to take on a very tough Loyola squad before the league tournament that could be the key to a second straight year as an NCAA seed.
Worst Case: With only the Greyhounds coming in with a preseason Top 20 ranking, Navy is betting it all on a Patriot League title and AQ to get to the dance, barring the ascendance of another league foe this spring. Even a perfect regular season and win over Loyola might not be enough for an at-large bid if they fall in the league playoffs, and you can never guarentee a win with that much on the line.
Lacrosse Magazine will continue its 2014 college lacrosse preview throughout January and into February, with team-by-team breakdowns of the top teams in NCAA Division I, II and III men's and women's lacrosse. Follow the countdown at LaxMagazine.com/LMRanks and on twitter at#LMRanks.