ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Junior attack Ian Dingman (Deferiet, N.Y.) turned in a hat trick for the third time this season, sparking fourth-ranked Navy (5-0/2-0 Patriot League) to an 11-6 victory over Patriot League foe Lafayette (1-4/0-1 Patriot League) Wednesday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. In addition to Dingman's three strikes, three other Midshipmen - Jon Birsner, Taylor Harris and Nick Mirabito - turned in multi-goal performances for the Mids.
Boasting a 5-0 record, Navy is off to its best start under 12th-year head coach Richie Meade. The last time the Mids began their season 5-0 was in 1989 when team captain Joe Schweitzer helped lead Navy to a 6-0 record before stumbling at Duke, 10-8, on April Fool's Day.
Meanwhile, the win pushes Navy's three-year Patriot League record, and a 7-0 all-time mark against Lafayette.
The opening half was all Navy as it built a 5-1 lead after the first 15 minutes and a 7-1 lead by intermission. By the half, Dingman had scored a pair of goals and added an assist, as had co-captain Jon Birsner (Levittown, N.Y.). The Mids scored their seven goals on 15 shots and nearly doubled up the Leopards in ground balls (21-11).
In the second half, the Mids appeared flat and Lafayette took advantage. The Leopards outscored the Mids by a goal in the second 30 minutes of play, scoring five goals on 11 shots. Navy, on the other hand, scored four goals on 18 shots and struggled in the third quarter to clear the ball, failing on three of the four attempts.
"The first 30 minutes we played well, but then we decided to stop playing," said Dingman, who moved into a tie for 14th (tied with Brendan Schneck, 1977-78) on Navy's all-time scoring list with 121 points. "At some point, we just all of a sudden stopped. I think we were being impatient on the offensive side of the field. The first shot will always be there, but if you work it around three or four times, you'll have a better shot. We came out unscathed, but I think we know that we can't stop playing."
Meade agreed with Dingman's assessment of his team's play.
"I thought we played pretty well for about 20 minutes and then got flat for whatever reason," said Meade. "Offensively we were impatient, we weren't making the extra pass, we were a little anxious and we played several people so it might have messed with out continuity a little bit. All that said, Lafayette played well and I give them credit. I would have liked to have seen us more focused and playing with more concentration further into the game, but I'm happy to win."
While Dingman paced the Mids in the goals category, sophomore attack Nick Mirabito (Binghamton, N.Y.) had a balanced game with four points on two goals and two assists. Birsner finished with two goals and an assist, while senior Taylor Harris (Clifton, Va.), who has been hampered with injuries throughout his career and underwent back surgery in the off-season, added a pair of goals and a helper in the Mids' win.
Navy junior William Wallace (Bloomfield Village, Mich.), who won 16 of 17 draws against Bucknell last weekend, struggled at the "x", winning just five of his 10 face-offs, but sophomore Dan Decker (Randallstown, Md.) came in to win five of his eight draws for the Midshipmen.
Junior middie Sean Burek paced Lafayette with a pair of goals, while freshman goalkeeper Jeff Canfield had a solid day in the cage where he stopped 12 shots on goal, including nine in the second half.
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