Navy's Richie Meade: Don't read my lips
Richie Meade didn’t mince words when describing the Midshipmen’s defensive effort last Saturday. Today, the Navy coach tried to dilute the harshness of his initial analysis.
After Navy’s 14-9 victory over Lafayette, Meade dissected the defensive performance, telling the school’s Web site, "This was probably the worst defensive game I’ve seen us play in the last four years. I have to give Lafayette credit because [coach] Terry Mangan has done an outstanding job of recruiting some good young talent. But for us to give up nine goals is unacceptable against any opponent. We need to get some things fixed. Offensively we are improving, but today we definitely took a step backwards on the defense."
Earlier today during the team’s bus ride back from last night’s 10-8 win against Lehigh, Meade explained his comments.
"I think I was probably a little bit too critical," he said. "It’s always different after you watch the film, but we’re making a few mistakes that are very correctable. They’re all just little things. We’re working through that. I thought we played better last night than we did against Lafayette. I think we kind of took advantage and made some very big plays, but it’s a continuing process. We’re no different than a lot of teams. We may be talking about it a little bit more publicly, but I think everybody’s in a situation right now where they’re trying to win games and get better, and we’re accomplishing both of those things right now."
The Midshipmen are tied with North Carolina as the seventh-stingiest defense in the country, surrendering just 6.71 goals per contest and limiting opponents to 24.4 shots per game. But Navy has allowed seven goals with less than 40 seconds remaining in a quarter, including five under three seconds on the clock.
For that reason, Meade is careful about giving statistics much weight.
"The thing that is sometimes misleading about statistics is what actually happens on the field," he said. "… Our concern is not how many goals we’re giving up, but the types of goals we’re giving up and where they’re being given up from. That’s something that maybe we look at a little bit differently than some other teams. Defensively, it may look good on paper that we’re giving up 6-point-whatever-it-is, but where those goals are coming from is something that we’re trying to correct. We’re just constantly trying to get better."
On another note, freshman goalkeeper R.J. Wickham was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week. Becoming the first Midshipmen goalie to earn such accolades, Wickham is 3-1 and owns a 6.75 goals-against average and .534 save percentage.