SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2012
With Duke on tap, no time to bask in Navy win
JU’s win over Navy Sunday was a nice one and coach Guy Van Arsdale is grateful to all those who reached out to him. He, and the team, would like to bask in the bit of glory but with 10th-ranked Duke on the horizon time doesn’t allow such a luxury.

“I am grateful for all those people who reached out and were excited with the success of our young men and I’m also grateful that we had a chance for people to be exposed not just to Jacksonville lacrosse but to Jacksonville University and realize what a gem there is down here in North Florida,’’ Van Arsdale said this week. “I think that’s been wonderful but at the same time you don’t get caught up in too much of that because of you turnaround and don’t perform to are capabilities we won’t get as many phone calls.’’

The 13-7 win in the Moe’s Southwest Grille Classic was significant on a couple of levels. It was the team’s first win of the season and the first win under Van Arsdale.

Freshman Ari Waffle leads the team with five goals and eight points while T.J. Kenary has five goals and six points. Midfielder Cameron Mann has four goals, seven points.

“Any win is gratifying, first or last,’’ he said. “You’re happy to get a win especially when your team performs at a level that is getting closer to what you think they are capable of.’’

The wins are nice, but in the little reflection Van Arsdale would allow himself, there’s a much deeper reason he does what he does.

“The wins are great and we love ‘em and I’ll never downplay that but when I see a guy graduate and go on and do great things and over the years raise a family and is a good father and a good man and a good husband and for them to maybe acknowledge that you had a small piece in them getting to that place, that’s the real gratification,’’ he said.

And then, it was back to Sunday and a trip to Durham, N.C., to meet the Blue Devils.

“You have to put Duke as one of the giants in men’s lacrosse the last eight or 10 years,’’ he said. “They’re what a lot of us aspire to be. We would all love to achieve and compete on a level that they do. I have so much respect for John Danowski (Duke’s head coach). He is absolutely special in how he does things. In some ways it’s an honor for us to be able to line up against them.’’

Duke (2-1) beat 17th-ranked Penn 12-8 Friday and their sole loss was to No. 2 Notre Dame.

Van Arsdale said the reason the Blue Devils are where they are is pretty simple.

“They’re big and their fast and they play a frenetic pace in the middle of the field and have guys that you can do a great job defending them and they just beat ya,’’ he said. “They’re just good. They’re just good and it’s no secret why. Good players and good coaching mean a good team.’’

The Dolphins picked up a few votes in this week’s coaches poll and lurk just outside the top 20. Van Arsdale isn’t impressed.

“I didn’t know about that until somebody told me and, frankly, it means absolutely nothing to me,’ ‘he said. “I couldn’t care less. What’s most important is if we’re where we need to be and the only thing that is going to matter to us is end of the year and where we are in our MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) and where we are in competing for that championship. Polls are great for the fans, I couldn’t care less.’’

Fans can follow the game through live stats and video via judolphins.com.

- Jim Nasella