Navy Overcomes Challenges, Tops Ohio State in Season Opener


Senior midfielder Jenna Collins led Navy with five points (4g, 1a) and added three draw controls against Ohio State in a 9-7 Navy victory.

Make it rain or surrender to the challenge. The latter is not in the cards for Midshipmen.

Despite a torrential downpour at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Corps Stadium and an Ohio State team providing endless pressure, Navy, the Patriot League favorite, secured a 9-7 win over the Big Ten foe in its season opener Saturday.

“The main key was we adapt and overcame,” said Navy senior midfielder Jenna Collins, who recorded a team-high five points on four goals and one assist. “It just started the moment we stepped on this campus. They’ve bred us to be strong and adapt and overcome. That’s a big theme here – adapt and overcome. I think that’s really what pushed us through, having that mindset just to keep going.”

Turning the corner into 2018, many wondered whether the 2017 Cinderella season that saw Navy become the first women’s team from a service academy to advance to the NCAA final four was a fluke.

Yet from the outset, coach Cindy Timchal said she and her team were not satisfied with just one hot run.

“Last year wasn’t a fluke,” Timchal firmly stated at the opening of her postgame press conference. “We made a decision early on that we were going to step out onto the field against some of the toughest teams in the country, so we opened up at home against a Big Ten school. … They’re a very scrappy and aggressive team. I think we responded well.”

A first half that saw Ohio State score the first goal of the game and own the draw with a 6-4 advantage led to a second period that Navy controlled. In the second half, Ohio State scored first again, but the Midshipmen more than doubled Ohio State in shots and dominated the draw, 7-1.

As the game went on, and the weather deteriorated, Navy improved.

“Hey, we’re in the Navy and this is Navy weather,” Navy goalie Ingrid Boyum said.

The Midshipmen went from a five-minute response to Ohio State’s game-opening score to taking just 1:19 to score following the Buckeyes’ first second half goal.

Then with just over 20 minutes remaining in the game, it took 12 seconds for Navy to respond to an Ohio State goal.

After Buckeyes junior attacker Sara Dickinson scored on a free position at the 21:23 mark, Navy sophomore midfielder Kayla Harris cleanly won the ensuing draw. Harris then kicked the ball downfield to Jenna Collins, who looked inside to junior attacker Meg O’Donnell.

The pass went over O’Donnell’s stick, but junior attacker Molly O’Sullivan was right behind her to back her up. O'Sullivan caught the pass near the intersection of the 8-meter and the crease and was wide open for the quick-stick goal.

Harris led the Midshipmen with five draw controls, all of which came in the second half.

“Kayla Harris was so scrappy and helped us tremendously on the draw,” Jenna Collins said. “If it wasn’t for her, I think honestly it could be a different game out there. We were struggling a little bit in the first half.”

Both goalies also kept their teams in the game with 17 saves for Ohio State’s Jill Rizzo and 10 saves for Navy’s Boyum.

Boyum – who recorded 45 stops over five games in the 2017 NCAA tournament to lead her team into championship weekend – echoed Timchal’s sentiments after the game.

“[Coach Timchal] just told us in the locker room that she doesn’t believe in having that target on your back,” Boyum said. “Her motto is win the day and we try to focus on our game today versus Ohio State and not what happened last year, however exciting that might be.”

Prior to 2018, Timchal said Navy was hungrier for more and coming up short wasn’t an option.

“Can [Navy's] chemistry continue?” one rival coach anonymously asked US Lacrosse Magazine during the preseason.  

“We’re satisfied winning today and being 1-0,” Timchal said. “Now, we would like to prepare as hard as humanly possible for the next games coming up. That will truly be our focus.”

Next up, Navy will host Columbia and Michigan before a tough four-game slate on the road, featuring two Top 20 teams in 2017 NCAA runner-up Boston College and No. 6 Florida.

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