Navy doesn't have to look far for motivation
With no Patriot League tournament on the horizon for the first time since the school joined the conference for the 2004 campaign, Navy has centered all of its attention on a singular focus.
“We can beat Johns Hopkins,” coach Richie Meade said Wednesday of the team’s regular-season finale on Saturday night. “When the press looks at a game, they look at all the implications of that game. When we look at the game, we’re trying to play as well as we possibly can, trying to do things better than we did last week, and trying to take a step forward. We’ve got a great group of seniors playing in their last game in a Navy uniform, and we’ve got a bunch of freshmen and sophomores that have never played at Homewood Field, and this is a great challenge for them. And we’ve got a bunch of juniors that are going to be leaders of our team next year. So we want to play well. We want to rebound from what was a very disheartening loss [to Army on Saturday].”
Rather than wallow in despair, the players have taken out some of their frustrations in practice and in the weight room. Meade said the players had a tougher-than-usual practice on Monday at a time when the coaching staff would usually go lighter to preserve the players for making a run at the postseason.
“The guys have responded,” he said. “It’s very difficult to be in this situation. It’s tough, but the Midshipmen at the Naval Academy have to deal with much tougher things than this. So we look forward to the challenge, and I’m really looking forward to watching us play on Saturday and seeing what we’ve got.”
Meade said that junior goalkeeper R.J. Wickham will start after making just one save and getting yanked in favor of senior Mike Haas in the loss to Army.
“R.J., playing against Georgetown and North Carolina, looked like the best goalie in the country,” Meade said. “Why he didn’t play that way on Saturday, I have no idea, and I don’t think he does either. But we know what his capabilities are, and he’s our guy. Mikey Haas did a great job going in, but R.J. is our goalie. It’s going to be a very tough environment at Homewood Field, and R.J.’s going to have to stick his nose in there and play tough.”