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Max Hewitt scored one of the biggest goals of Navy's season in a win over Hopkins.

NCAA Rewind: Ball Control Issues Limited Navy's Ceiling

June 19, 2024
Patrick Stevens
Rich Barnes

Before USA Lacrosse Magazine looks ahead to what’s to come in 2025 — look out for our NCAA Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings later this summer — our team of staff and contributors decided it was worth taking a last look at the 2024 college lacrosse season.

To do that, we’re taking a journey through 30 of the top teams in men’s and women’s lacrosse to see what went right, what went wrong and how we should feel about the season.

USA Lacrosse preseason/final ranking: unranked/unranked
2024 record: 9-7 (5-3 Patriot League)

What went right: The Midshipmen’s stars were stars. Senior defenseman Jackson Bonitz caused 29 turnovers, and Jackson Peters was unleashed as an offensive threat in transition, collecting 10 goals and four assists to cement himself as one of the season’s top defensive midfielders. 

Navy solved Boston University’s 10-man ride for the second consecutive year, rallied after a slow start to stun Johns Hopkins on the road and won a Patriot League tournament game for the first time since 2010 with its quarterfinal defeat of Loyola. 

Freshman Zach Hayashi admirably plugged a giant gap on faceoffs, winning 57.5 percent of his draws while taking all but 31 of Navy’s attempts on the year.

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What went wrong: Way too many turnovers (17.25 per game, 52nd in Division I) and far too many bungled clears (.845 clearing percentage, 54th in Division I), problems that surfaced throughout the season. For a team with a modest margin for error and a tendency to erratically spray shots (even if it did improve its shooting from 22.6 percent to 26.7 percent after luring Dave Cottle out of retirement to serve as offensive coordinator for one year), that just is not a formula for success.

Season highlight: The Mids’ most impressive performance was arguably their 10-9 overtime defeat of Hopkins on March 15. One of Navy’s team buses was involved in an accident on the way up from Annapolis, while another broke down on Interstate 97. They arrived at Homewood Field an hour before a scheduled 7 p.m. start that was pushed back 30 minutes and promptly fell behind 6-1. But the Mids surged back, and Max Hewitt capped the night with a winner in extra time to secure the program’s second consecutive victory at Hopkins.

Verdict: Considering how wobbly things looked after back-to-back blowout losses to Towson and Penn State to close out February, Navy did a decent job of stabilizing things and remaining in most games the rest of the way. Nonetheless, it lost the most important game on its schedule (April 13 at Army) and struggled to take care of the ball. Remedying those two things will be a priority in 2025.