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Men's Lacrosse

Navy's OT Winner Lifts Men's Lacrosse to Star Win

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Senior co-captain Jack Sweeney cashed in on his lone appearance of the game, as the extra-man sniper scored the game-winning goal 58 seconds into overtime to lead the Navy men's lacrosse team to a 12-11 victory over #6 Army Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium. Army is the highest-ranked opponent Navy has defeated since beating #3 Yale 13-10 in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

After winning the overtime faceoff, Navy marched to its offensive box where the defense converged upon leading scorer Patrick Skalniak and Army was flagged for a 30-second hold. The Mids put their extra-man unit on the field for the first time on the afternoon, a unit led by Sweeney who came into the contest with 11 extra-man goals over his career including a team-high 4 this season. Navy ran a set play for its extra-man ace that saw Max Hewitt find an open Sweeney in the center of the box for the game-winner.

It was Navy's first overtime game since dropping a 9-8 decision to the Black Knights on April 13, 2019, in what was the 100th game in series history. It was the Mids' first overtime victory since dealing Army an 11-10 loss at West Point on April 16, 2016.

The win also clinched one of the six spots in the Patriot League Tournament set to be played May 3-8.

"This was a great college lacrosse game," said third-year Navy head coach Joe Amplo, who is now 2-0 against the Black Knights. "I'm proud of our guys for hanging in there and finding a way to win this game. At one point we were up 10-8 in the game and I looked up and Army had pulled ahead 11-10. We could have broken at that point. Instead Nick Cole, one of our senior leaders, made a play and gave us a chance to win."

Army opened the game with a 4-2 advantage after the first quarter of play, as four different players notched goals for the Black Knights.

Skalniak scored his second goal of the game off an assist from Dane Swanson to pull the Mids to within one just 24 seconds into the second quarter. The Mids, however, would be held without a goal the rest of the quarter as Army scored the final two tallies to take its largest lead of the game into the halftime break at 6-3.

The Mids scored the first three goals of the second half, including back-to-back goals by co-captain Nick Cole and Skalniak a minute apart to pull even with the Black Knights. After a 16-minute drought going back to the second quarter, Army answered with back-to-back goals of its own 47 seconds apart to take an 8-6 advantage.

Navy scored the final goal of the third quarter and trimmed the deficit to one (8-7) when Cole found Henry Tolker for a 15-yard sidewinder that found its way past Army goalkeeper Wyatt Schupler.

The Mids' momentum carried over to the fourth quarter where they scored three-consecutive goals to take their first lead since the opening goal of the game at 14:02. Xavier Arline (So / A / Wading River, N.Y.), playing in his first game since Johns Hopkins on March 18, knotted the game at eight apiece when he wrapped around the right side of the goal and sent his backhanded shot to the back of the goal. Arline then fed Tolker from behind the crease for the go-ahead goal. A minute later, the Mids took their largest lead of the game (10-8) on a crankshot by Swanson with 9:27 to go.

Army maintained its composure and Tewaaraton Award nominee Brendan Nichtern orchestrated a 3-0 run by the Black Knights with his goal at 7:19. Danny Kielbasa capped the Army run with his bounce shot off a restart to give Army an 11-10 lead with just over 5 minutes to play.

Both teams had a handful of good looks before Cole took advantage of being at the right place, at the right time. Skalniak let his shot fly only for it to be blocked and the loose ball would fall right in front of Cole at the crease. Cole quickly scooped up the ball and poked it past Schupler to level the game at 11 with 1:57 remaining.

Nichtern had two solid looks for the Black Knights with under 15 seconds to play in regulation, sending both shots wide of the goal.

Seven players scored goals for the Mids, including Skalniak who pitched his fifth hat trick of the season with a team-high 3 goals. The three-year starter also became just the fifth different midfielder in program history to reach 40 points in a single season. He stands fifth on the Mids' all-time points list by a midfielder with 42 points on 25 goals and 17 assists.

Swanson, meanwhile, was one of three players to register 4 points in the contest, scoring a goal and added a team-best 3 assists. With his performance against the Black Knights, Swanson became the 18th different midfielder in school history to score 30 points in a season and he has amassed 33 points on 18 goals and 15 assists this spring. Skalniak and Swanson are just the second set of midfielders in Navy history to reach 30 points in a season, joining Ryan Wade and Greyson Torain who accomplished it in 2018 and again in '19.

Cole and Arline finished with 2 goals and 2 assists apiece, Tolker scored 2 goals, Hewitt had a goal and an assist and Sweeney notched his fifth goal of the season.

"I am so proud of Jack," said Amplo. "It's what you expect from a Navy senior captain. He scored the biggest goal of our season and one of the greatest in Army-Navy history. It was a great moment he and our team will share for years to come."

A tip of the cap goes to Navy faceoff specialist Nate Hammond who went the distance for the Mids and won 14 of the 27 draws. With his performance, he became the 18th different player in program to reach the 100-win career milestone. His win and attempt totals, along with his 6 ground balls were all career highs.

First-year starter Pat Ryan anchored the Mids' defensive effort with 11 saves in the contest, while the Mids yielded 11 goals which were the second fewest by the Black Knights this spring.

Six different players scored goals for the Black Knights, including Nichtern who led the team with 3. Defensively, Schupler made just 3 saves in the contest, one in each quarter except the fourth.