Starting attackmen Henry Tolker (So / Catonsville, Md.), Xavier Arline (Jr / Wading River, N.Y.) and Mac Haley (Fr / Shady Side, Md.) combined for 10 goals to help lead the Navy men’s lacrosse team (3-0 / 0-0 Patriot League) to a 13-12 victory over Hofstra (0-2 / 0-0 CAA) Saturday afternoon at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. Haley’s goal at the 3:44 mark in the fourth quarter proved to be the deciding goal in the contest.
“Sometimes you have to figure out ways to win that aren’t pretty,” said fourth-year Navy head coach Joe Amplo, a 1996 graduate of Hofstra. “I was impressed with how hard they (Hofstra) played and the energy they brought. They easily could have called it a day when we got up early in the first quarter, but they didn’t. Credit to them for pushing forward, pushing us to the end.”
The Mids scored early and often, as Toker and Arline helped Navy jump out to a 5-1 lead in the opening frame. Tolker scored Navy’s first-two goals of the game and had a hat trick by the end of the quarter, while Arline scored twice and assisted on a third.
Hofstra, however, would answer by scoring three-consecutive goals in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second quarter to trim Navy’s lead to one (5-4).
The Mids had the final say in the half, as the defense held the Pride scoreless for the final 12:34 while Haley scored his first goal of the afternoon and short-stick defensive midfielder Jackson Peters (Jr / Darien, Conn.) punched in a transition goal at 4:56 to give Navy a 7-4 advantage at the break.
Just 73 seconds into the second half, Peters scored his second in as many shots off an assist from co-captain Patrick Skalniak (M / Sr / Dallas, Texas) to match Navy’s largest lead of the game at 8-4.
The two teams went on to exchange goals before second-year attackman Gerard Kane put the Pride on his back and he scored three-consecutive goals to get Hofstra to within a goal (9-8) at the end of three quarters.
Hofstra knotted the game up at 9-all when Kane found Rory Jones for the equalizer 30 seconds in the final frame.
Navy maintained its poise and scored 4 of the next 5 goals in the contest with a Ryan Woodland marker sandwiched between Navy’s goals. Tolker scored a pair of goals in the fourth quarter, while Haley’s goal off an assist from Max Hewitt (Jr / M / Denver, Colo.) put the Mids up by 3 (13-10) with under 4 minutes to play.
Sophomore attackman John Madsen gave the Pride a spark in the final minutes. He scored back-to-back goals, including intercepting a clearing pass by Navy on the defensive end and punching in the goal with just over a minute to play in the contest.
Hofstra won the ensuing faceoff and called timeout to set up a final play with 1:01 left. The Pride immediately turned the ball over coming out of the timeout and Navy was able to whittle down the clock. Hofstra had one final chance with 3.3 seconds remaining, but Navy short-stick defensive midfielder Henry Rentz (Sr / Edgewater, Md.) intercepted the last second shot to preserve the Mids’ win.
Tolker finished the game with a career-high 5 goals, while Arline turned in a career-best 7 points with highs in both goals (3) and assists (4). It was also Arline’s first-career hat trick. Haley and Peters had 2 goals apiece, while starting midfielder Dane Swanson (Jr / St. Mary’s City, Md.) notched his first goal of 2023. Additionally, a day after being named the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, Skalniak extended his consecutive games with a point streak to 32 with a pair of assists. He is also now just 10 points shy of the 100-career point milestone.
“I thought today in particular we saw a big glimpse of what X (Xavier Arline) can provide this team,” said Amplo. “He has a commanding presence amongst the team and creates opportunities for his teammates.”
Senior Pat Ryan (Groton, Mass.) and Dan Daly (Fr / Wayne, N.J.) once again split time managing the cage with Ryan making 8 saves and allowing 4 goals in the opening half, while Daly recorded 6 stops and gave way to 8 goals in the second half.
While Navy in the opening half in the faceoff game, winning just 4 of the 9 draws, senior Nate Hammond (Lincoln University, Pa.) came in and gave the Mids a lift in the second 30 minutes where he won 6 of the 13 draws he took.
“Nate provided us with a spark in the second half after not taking a faceoff in the first half,” added Amplo. “I was proud of how he came in and fought.”
Hofstra was led by Kane’s 6-point performance (3G, 3A), while Madsen also had an assist to go along with his hat trick. Pride goalkeeper Mac Gates had just 1 save in the opening half, but came back to make 9 stops over the final 30 minutes.
The Midshipmen return home next Saturday to play host to Manhattan at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Faceoff is slated for 12:00 pm with live coverage by ESPN+ and WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM.