SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2012
JU meets Navy in Moe's Southwest Grille Classic

The Jacksonville University team hits the field for the second time this season taking on the Naval Academy in the second game of today’s doubleheader at the Moe’s Southwest Grille Classic.

The Dolphins put on a late charge before falling to Towson 12-10. Freshman Ari Waffle and junior Cameron Mann each scored three goals in the opener to lead JU.

Meanwhile, Navy was taking care of JU’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference mate VMI, 14-7, in a game that saw the Midshipmen fire 46 shots.

Sophomore attack men Tucker Hull and Sam Jones combined to score 17 points, including 11 goals, as the Midshipmen won their 11th-consecutive season-opener.

Jones, who had five goals and our assists, was named Patriot League Player of the Week for his efforts.

Like JU coach Guy Van Arsdale, Navy coach Rick Sowell will be in his second-game for the Midshipmen. He was hired last summer after the team posted a 4-9 record including a five-game losing streak to end the season. Sowell, who was hired from Stony Brook, has helped rebuild programs there, Georgetown, Dartmouth and St. Johns.

“It’s another program of great tradition and another program with a new coach who is a very fine coach,’’ Van Arsdale said. “I’m sure is going to have them playing relentless. Navy is always a relentless type team.’’

Van Arsdale noted Navy is traditionally strong in transition and on ground balls.

“Not surprisingly, they are a team that plays hard and we’re going to have our hands full,’’ he said. “They’ve got a very talented attack, capable of putting a lot of pressure on the goal so we’ll have to be ready to deal with that.’’

Van Arsdale said his team had a little of everything in its opener.

“It looked a lot like a first game in some ways and we, at points in the second half, lost a little composure as things got tight as things headed in the wrong direction,’’ he said. “We made some poor choices when if we had stuck to the plan and made the choice we were working on making in those situations there would have been a chance for a different result.’’

He said he believes the team understands what happens and now can’t repeat the same mistakes.

“It’s a great game for us as long as we learn from it,’’ he said. “If we go out and  make the same mistakes against Navy that we made last weekend then it doesn’t do us much good.’’

Van Arsdale, a veteran of the lacrosse world, said he has been impressed by the aura of the today’s Classic.

“It’s incredible,’’ he said. “The southeast region doesn’t have anything comparable to this and there aren’t many of these events anywhere in the country and to have one here in Jacksonville is a real treat.’’

Tickets are available by clicking the link or at the gate and range from $20 to $35.

-       -   Jim Nasella