Sam Jones did the honorable thing. Rather than utter some cliché or point fingers elsewhere, Navy's junior attackman shouldered the blame for the team's inability to break a 9-9 tie in the final 30.8 seconds of regulation of Sunday's contest against Georgetown at Multi-Sport Field in Washington.
“At the end of regulation, we had the ball with 30 seconds left, and I couldn’t can one,” the
Jones – who led the Midshipmen with three goals – did the commendable thing, but the entire offense played a role in the Hoyas' 9-8 win in overtime Sunday. The unit scored three of the game's first four goals in the opening 4:25 span, but then fizzled until halftime.
Over the next 25:35, Navy got just one more goal – a Jones tally off a feed from sophomore midfielder Gabe Voumard. The defense kept Georgetown off the scoreboard for 28:15 before junior attackman Jeff Fountain (St. Paul's) tucked a shot under senior goalkeeper Nolan Hickey with just 1:38 left in the first half.
The Midshipmen's inability to extend their lead opened the door for the Hoyas to crawl back into the contest. Afterward, Jones said he and his teammates must provide the defense with more support.
"It's frustrating when our defense is playing really, really well," Jones said. "It's a pride thing. As an offense, we should take a little pride in taking care of our defense when they're playing as well as they are. They did an outstanding job all day. When you hold someone under 10, you should win.
"Since I've been this tall," he continued, motioning to his waist, "[When] Navy scores 10 goals, they win. That's the way it is. Last week, if we had scored 10 goals [in a 10-9 loss to No. 18 Fairfield], we probably would've won that game. … So it's frustrating."
The ineffectiveness of the offense didn't escape the attention of Navy coach Rick Sowell.
"Our defense did a great job early on, and offensively, we were just kind of sputtering," he said. "We got up 3-1 and we had some opportunities that we squandered."
*At 6 feet 7, Hickey is the tallest goalie in Division I, and he has been playing like that recently. In back-to-back losses to Fairfield and Georgetown, Hickey has made 15 saves in each contest and helped assuage any concerns about finding a successor to R.J. Wickham. Hickey's play, however, isn't news to Sowell. "Just going back to the fall, he's just been a solid goalie, and now he's adjusting to the pressure of playing in the moment," Sowell said. "You can really see his leadership. He's out there barking and he's in control of the defense. Not surprised because he's been a great captain for us. It's just good to see that he's playing well, but we've got to get some other guys playing better around him."