MIDS ROCK March 5, 2005

Fifth-Ranked Navy Lacrosse Dominates North Carolina, 9-6


ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Preseason All-American Steve Looney (Silver Spring, Md.) scored four goals and added an assist in Navy's (3-0) 9-6 victory over seventh-ranked North Carolina (1-1) Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. Navy's three-goal victory over the Tar Heels marks the first time in six games in which the game was not decided by a single goal. The Mids have won the last three games over the Tar Heels, including two straight in Annapolis.

Meanwhile, it is also just the second time in the last five games in which an overtime period did not decide the outcome of the contest.




The Tar Heels started the game with the first of two Mike McCall goals off an assist from Ryan Blair at the 9:56 mark in the first period. That lead, however, would last just a flash, as the Mids targeted their first goal five seconds later. Senior face-off specialist Chris Pieczonka (Hamburg, N.Y.) won the draw and quickly threw the ball to freshman attack Nick Mirabito (Binghamton, N.Y.).

Mirabito saw an open Ben Horn (Mill Valley, Calif.) in front of the goal who tucked the ball into the net past Carolina goalkeeper Paul Spellman.




Horn's goal was the first of three-straight goals for the Mids who held a 3-1 advantage with 13 minutes to play in the second period.

North Carolina narrowed Navy's lead to one when senior sensation Jed Prossner took a pass from Bryant Will and took advantage of its first extra-man opportunity, scoring the Tar Heels' second goal at the seven-minute mark of the second stanza.




Navy went on to score the next four goals to end the half with a 7-2 lead. Looney produced three of the four goals, including goals just seven seconds apart at the 6:54 and 6:47 marks.

"Stephan Looney is a great player," said Navy head coach Richie Meade. "Every situation we've used him in, he's excelled. He played less defense today than he ever has, but he gave us four goals on the scoreboard, too."

The Tar Heels came out in the second half and shut down Navy's offense in the third quarter. UNC, meanwhile, inched closer with McCall's second goal of the game on an assist from Andrew McElduff.

The Mids opened the fourth period by scoring back-to-back goals by Looney and Horn with both goals assisted by junior attack Jon Birsner (Levittown, N.Y.). Navy held a 9-3 advantage with just over nine minutes to play.




Carolina wouldn't let Navy run away with it as the Tar Heels scored the final three goals of the contest, including two by Prossner.

"Jed is a tremendous player," Meade added. "He made some unbelievable individual plays out there."

Navy dominated in nearly every facet of the game. The Mids outshot the Tar Heels, 43-19, including a 27-7 advantage in the first half. Navy failed to clear the ball just once, but the Tar Heels struggled to get the ball from defense to offense. UNC was just 13 for 24 in clear opportunities.




"I don't think they expected us to play as well as we did, especially in the first half," said Meade. "I felt our defense played very well today and to hold North Carolina to that output is impressive."

Pieczonka was sensational in the "X," winning 13 of the 18 face-offs, including nine of the first 11. North Carolina utilized three different face-off men to try and derail Pieczonka's success.Senior midfielder Lance Zimmerman had the most success, winning three of the seven draws he took.

"Chris played extremely well for us today," said Meade. "I felt like our face-off game hurt North Carolina today. Our ability to win the face-off turned into some great goal opportunities and several we capitalized on."




All-America goalkeeper Matt Russell (Madison, Conn.) did a fine job in the cage for the Mids, warding off eight shots on goal, including several point-blank shots in the third period.

Looney led Navy with his five points on four goals and an assist giving him ten points (9-1) in 2005 so far. Horn produced a pair of goals and an assist and Birsner tallied a goal and two assists for three points each. Freshman defensive midfielder Mikelis Visgauss (Setauket, N.Y.) turned in his first-career goal for the Mids.


ACTION VIDEOS


Carolina's Ryan Blair to Mike McCall


Navy's Chris Pieczonka


Carolina's Paul Spellman


Navy's Jon Birsner


Carolina's Dave Werry


Carolina's Bryant Will to Jed Prossner


Navy's Steve Looney


Navy's Nick Mirabito


Navy's Tommy Wallin to Ben Horn


Navy's Steve Looney


Carolina's Paul Spellman


Carolina's Andrew McElduff to Mike McCall


Carolina's Paul Spellman


Navy's


Navy's Jon Birsner to Steve Looney


Navy's Matt Russell


Carolina's Jed Prossner to Ryan Walterhoefer


Carolina's Trey Sheain


Navy's Matt Russell





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