Larkin totals eight points to lead Navy rout of Army
By BILL WAGNER | The Capital (Tribune News Service) | Published: April 2, 2017
Navy had an eight-year head start on Army with regard to fielding a varsity women's lacrosse program. If Saturday's second meeting between the schools was any indication, the Black Knights still have a lot of catching up to do.
Freshman attacker Kelly Larkin scored three goals and dished off five assists as Navy dominated every aspect of the game in routing Army, 22-7, before a raucous crowd of 1,862 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Junior midfielder Jenna Collins totaled four goals and three assists for the Midshipmen, who totally controlled possession and outshot the Black Knights 37-13. Junior attacker Julia Collins matched her twin sister with four goals and also had an assist.
"We got everyone involved and everything just clicked today. We had some great cutting, great movement," Jenna Collins said. "I think most of our goals today were assisted and that shows that everyone is connecting."
Senior attacker Morgan Young also had a huge game with four goals and three assists for Navy (8-3, 3-1), which won the ground ball battle 18-8 and forced 15 turnovers.
"Draw-wise, we knew it would come down to just scrapping. If we weren't going to win the draw, we were going to defend hard and get the ball back," Navy head coach Cindy Timchal said.
Junior attacker Amy Johnston scored three goals while junior midfielder Rachel Hornick had two goals and an assist to lead Army (4-8), which remained winless against Patriot League competition during its two-year existence.
"Today, the more talented team won the game. We have a lot of work to do and I hope this fuels the fire for the next time we see Navy. Definitely a feeling to remember," said Army head coach Kristen (Waagbo) Skiera, a Mount Hebron graduate.
A large contingent of midshipmen showed up to support the home team in the first Army-Navy women's lacrosse game held in Annapolis. A good number of cadets made the trip from West Point to cheer for the visitors. It was one of the largest, rowdiest home audiences in the 10-year history of Navy women's lacrosse.
"Having all these midshipmen and cadets come out and cheer both teams on is really neat to see. It's a testament to the atmosphere you can have for a women's sport when you have Army versus Navy," Timchal said.
"I don't think we truly realized the impact of this game until we looked up in the stands and saw all those people. I'm just so proud of the performance of Navy women's lacrosse and so impressed with the turnout for this game."
Navy was clearly focused and came out with considerable energy and emotion, jumping all over Army early. Jenna Collins fed her sister for a point-blank goal just 45 seconds into the contest and 10 minutes later Navy was already ahead 5-0.
Army finally got on the board at the 17:48 mark when Johnson cut to the crease and finished an inside feed from Hornick, but Navy responded with a 3-0 run that featured two goals by sophomore midfielder Meg O'Donnell to take an 8-1 lead.
Army beat Navy 9-6 on draws during the first half, but often gave the ball right back cby committing 11 turnovers. Navy keeper Ingrid Boyum further frustrated the Black Knights by saving four of the eight shots they put on goal during the opening 30 minutes.
"We played an awful lot of defense. I also don't think our defense played cohesively today," Skiera said. "Navy is a very skilled team with a lot of offensive weapons. It was a bad team to choose to have an off game defensively."
Larkin scored a goal and assisted two others as Navy started the second half with a 3-0 run to increase its advantage to 13-4. Army could not get enough defensive stops or score enough goals to slow the onslaught and the running clock went into effect with 18 1/2 minutes remaining when Julia Collins scored off a free position shot to make it 16-6. Timchal cleared the bench down the stretch and even the reserves got into the act as the Mids reached a season-high for goals.
"Navy scored three on us early in the second half and from there we couldn't get the momentum back," Skiera bemoaned. "I think we only had the ball in our offensive end six or seven times in the second half."
Sophomore midfielder Andie O'Sullivan chipped in two goals and an assist while freshman midfielder Kayla Harris (Broadneck) added a goal and an assist for Navy, which repeatedly sent cutters to the crease and found them wide open.
"The neat thing is that we've been able to tweak a lot of our offense. We added another set today that opened up some opportunities," Timchal said. "I believe that a lot of what we've been working on offensively the last few weeks has helped."
Skiera, who was an All-American attacker at Duke and served as offensive coordinator for Timchal while an assistant at Navy for four years, came away impressed with the offensive talent that has been assembled by the archrival.
"I think Navy has every piece of the puzzle. They have feeders, they have players that can shoot from either side and they have top drivers. To try to guard all of that at once is tough," Skiera said. "If we focused on Julia Collins and Kelly Larkin down low to eliminate some of those feeds, they just kick it up top to their dodgers and have Jenna Collins and Morgan Young. Their offense is really well-rounded and can attack in so many different areas."
There was no Army-Navy women's lacrosse game when the Collins twins were freshmen. They and other members of the junior class hope to complete their careers 3-0 versus the archrival by winning the inaugural Star game for the sport next year at Michie Stadium.
"My plebe year, I was always jealous of the other sports teams that they got to play Army," Collins said. "Having Army here at our home stadium and having so many midshipmen come out was a wonderful experience."
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