On my trip to Annapolis last weekend, I didn’t get to see my friend Christian like I usually do since he was out of town. In addition to being a great writer and occasional contributor to this blog, Christian also likes watching old Navy games as much as I do. One of our favorite pastimes when I come up to visit is picking a “feel-good” Navy game to watch; one of those games where everything goes right and Navy wins in a blowout. The Texas Bowl is always a favorite, along with the Meadowlands Massacre, ’04 Rutgers, ’84 South Carolina, and either of the recent East Carolina games. The 2010 Notre Dame game is another regular in the rotation. Nothing puts you in a good mood quite like watching Navy kick butt.

I might not have caught up with my friend this time, but I did get my feel-good game. Navy won its 12th-straight Senior Day contest in convincing fashion, topping Georgia Southern 52-19. In a season where it seems like the Mids haven’t been able to catch a break, everything seemed to bounce their way against the Eagles. Navy won the turnover battle 3-0, intercepting passes from both of Georgia Southern’s quarterbacks and recovering a key fumble after the Eagles converted on 4th down. Not that the Mids really needed those breaks; they just turned a convincing win into a blowout. The win brought Navy’s record up to 5-5, keeping hopes for a winning season alive and bringing them one win away from a Poinsettia Bowl berth. Georgia Southern fell to 8-3, but still has an opportunity to claim their first outright Sun Belt title with a win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.

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Navy Notables – 11/26/14

You all have read how Mike and I loved the Veterans Classic.  Tonight, you can go behind the scenes with CBS Sports when they air “Hoops Confidential: Veterans Classic” at 9pm on CBSSN.  The half-hour long show follows VCU, Tennessee, and Michigan State players and coaches as they get a look at the Yard and what going to a service academy entails.  Additionally, Edward Alade (this blogger’s favorite player on the team thus far) was followed to provide a look at a typical day.  As Mike said yesterday, the Veterans Classic is just the gift that keeps on giving.  For those who miss it, fret not.  It will re-air on Thanksgiving night at 11:30pm and on Friday morning at 11:30am.

Yesterday we talked about the Navy men’s lacrosse schedule for 2014.  Today it’s the women’s turn.  A 17-game slate was announced, including games at powerhouses Virginia and Duke in addition to 7 other road games.  The Cavs and Devils finished 2014 ranked 10th and 11th, respectively as Duke reached the NCAA quarterfinals and Virginia made it to the Final Four.  The ladies didn’t win the Patriot League title for the first time in 5 years in 2014 after being knocked out in the semis by Boston University (revenge is set for March 21st in Boston).

Navy women’s basketball defeated George Mason last night in Alumni Hall, 84-79.  As the team’s SID Justin Kischefsky pointed out, that was the 2nd highest point total in regulation for a Stefanie Pemper coached Navy squad.  Navy held a 6 point lead at the half and went on an early run in the 2nd to open up a lead that got as big as 18 with under 8 minutes to go.  The Patriots made a furious rally, but were never able to get closer than 4 points with 24 seconds to go.  The Midshipmen were 11-of-28 from three, which proved to be the difference as the Patriots held the edge in rebounds, 2nd chance points, free throws made, and turnovers.

Quick Hits:

  • Navy Men’s basketball returns home tonight to face Penn State Harrisburg.  Tip is at 7pm and is available for viewing on
  • 4/C Josh Hughes of the Squash team was named the NAAA Athlete of the Week.  His 5-game win in the 5th position helped the team defeat #10 Princeton for the first time since 1985, a string of 19 defeats.
  • The Akerson Tower club level at NMCMS is on schedule to be finished by the end of the year.  The two hospitality suites will be used outside of football to host receptions and other functions.

Navy Notables 11/25/14

The Navy men’s lacrosse 2015 schedule was announced this past weekend.  The Midshipmen have a challenging slate of 13 games, including the first game against Air Force in over a decade.  Five of Navy’s opponents finished in the top 20 last season and 4 of them played in the NCAA tournament.  Navy will open at home with traditional opponent VMI before welcoming in-state rivals Maryland to NMCMS on February 14th.  Navy’s other OOC games will be a home tilt vs. Towson and an away game against Johns Hopkins on March 7th.  Opinion incoming: call me crotchety, but I think the lacrosse season is getting going way too early.  Navy will play four games in February and their season will be more than half way over by March 10th.  That’s a bit ridiculous.

For those who came up in the dark ages of Navy football, it never gets old to read commentary that shows just how much the program has grown since the option renaissance took root in 2002.  South Alabama coach Joey Jones spoke to this point when addressing the media ahead of the Friday afternoon game: “Getting a program like Navy to come here is a big deal…We want to play teams like that.”  That Navy has gone from a winless team to one that is bringing a national brand and cachet into away stadiums is something else.  As Bill Wagner of the Annapolis Capital Gazette writes, Navy needs to lock up a bowl bid with a win in Mobile.  If there is no solid back-up plan for the Poinsettia Bowl committee, a 5-6 Navy could be locked out before the Army-Navy game.

Quick Hits:

Navy Notables – 11/24/14

Navy men’s basketball got their first win of the Season on Sunday vs. Binghamton in the consolation game of the Tip-Off Tournament.  Though they lead by one at the half, Navy found themselves down 53-42 with less than 14 minutes left in the game.  Over the course of the next 9 minutes, Navy hit 8-of-10 shots from the floor, including two Brandon Venturini three-pointers, to tie it up at 60.  Venturini hit his 4th three of the game with 3:15 left to give the Mids the lead for good.  For the game, Ventrini was 9-of-13 from the floor and a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line to lead the team with 26 points.  The men return home for a Thanksgiving-eve match-up with Penn State Harrisburg.

This week’s football opponent, South Alabama, kept it close with South Carolina in the first half before dropping the contest 37-12.  Twice in the 1st half the Jaguars got inside the Gamecocks’ 5-yard line, but had to settle for field goals.  There is an air of uncertainty around the quarterback position at South Alabama heading in to Friday afternoon tilt, with three different quarterbacks having played in the past 4 games due to injuries and ineffectiveness (two QB’s have combined for 8 interceptions in the past 3 games).

As anyone who has set foot in Alumni Hall and has seen the banners knows, the women’s basketball team has had an amazing run of success.   But now the ladies find themselves going through a bit of a rebuilding year, returning just one starter from last year’s Patriot League regular season champions.  On Thursday night, the team rallied from a 3-point halftime deficit against Division III Mary Washington to prevail 79-59.  But there would be no such rally on Saturday vs. Penn.  Trailing by 12 at the break, Navy was only able to gain back three in the 2nd half and ended up falling 60-51.

Quick Hits:

  • With a win this past Saturday, Western Kentucky became the 8th bowl eligible team Navy has played in 2014.  Temple has the potential to become the 9th such team if they can win one of their final two games of the season (vs. Cincinnati, at Tulane).
  • The Senior Bowl has a nice Q&A with Navy long snapper Joe Cardona, just the 3rd Mid to be selected to the prestigious event.
  • Water Polo ended its season with a 3rd place finish at the CWPA Championship this past weekend.
  • Wrestling finished 8th at the Navy Classic with 5 place-winners, but was shut out of an individual championship for just the 4th time in the 37 year history of the meet.
  • Navy cross country runner Steve Schroeder finished in 182nd place at the NCAA championship.  Despite a strong start, Schroeder was hampered by back spasms for the final 5000m of the race.
  • Navy volleyball’s season ended with a 3-set loss to Lehigh in the Patriot League tournament.  The season ends with Navy having its first winning record since 2008 and the first sweep of Army matches since 2005.

Navy Notables – 11/21/14

Navy men’s basketball dropped their third consecutive game, 88-51 at the Providence Friars on Thursday night.  After opening with a 5 point home loss to Michigan State, Navy has been outscored by a combined 180-104 by Providence and Notre Dame.  Perhaps the most telling stat of the game was the dichotomy in shooting 3’s.  Providence was 11-21 from beyond the arc, while Navy was struggled to 4-17.  But before we get too worried, let’s remember that this is the a Providence team that won the Big East last year and returned several key contributors, while Notre Dame is in the top half of the extremely deep ACC.  Navy heads to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn to face a the CAA-favorite Northeastern Huskies on Saturday night.  The Huskies are fresh off a win at Florida State and looking to push their record to 3-0.

On the women’s side of the hardcourt, Navy blew past Mary Washington in the 2nd half last night to notch their first win of the season.  Trailing by three at the break, Navy opened the 2nd half on a 21-4 run en route to a 79-59 victory.  Contributing to the dominant performance in the game was Navy’s out-rebounding the Eagles 33-14 in the 2nd half.  But there is certainly room for the team to improve as the ladies shot just 4-of-21 from three and 23-of-40 from the free throw line.  Navy continues a 6 game home stand on Saturday night against the Penn Quakers.

It was announced earlier in the week that two Navy football players have been selected for leadership roles for the second semester.  Linebacker Joe Worth has been chosen to lead the Brigade of Midshipmen as the Brigade Commander.  He becomes the first football player to hold this position since Zerbin Singleton served in the role in 2008.  Additionally, safety Shakir Robinson has been selected as First Regimental Commander for the spring.

Quick hits:

Navy Notables – 11/20/14

Glass half full vs. empty test – senior forward Worth Smith is going to miss the next 6 weeks of basketball due to a dislocated kneecap suffered in the first half of the Michigan State.  Given what it looked like when he went down, this is probably the best case scenario.  It is anticipated that Smith will be able to return by the time Patriot League play starts in late December.  This is the 4th major injury of the season for the Navy basketball team, joining Tim Abruzzo (ACL), Michael Brown (broken jaw), and Kendall Knorr (tendinitis).

Austin Grebe was named the ECAC special teams player of the week for his performance against Georgia Southern.  He was perfect from the field against the Eagles, connecting on all 7 extra point attempts and converting his only field goal attempt (from 36 yards).  Grebe, who won the kicking job before the VMI game, has yet to miss.  For the season, he’s 23-23 on extra points (yes, Navy has scored 23 touchdowns in the last 4 games) and 4-4 on field goals.

If you were at the football game on Saturday, you would have seen the Varsity Offshore Sailing Team recognized for their season on the water, which included many regatta victories.  But the single most notable moment of the season wasn’t marked with the raising of any silver in victory.  It was the successful recovery of a man overboard during the Annapolis Yacht Club Fall Series.  The crew, firmly in the lead of a distance race, reacted swiftly when a lifeline broke on an opposing boat and recovered the person in the water in a scant 4 minutes, averting possible disaster.

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I don’t take vacations as often as I should. Not that I’m a workaholic or anything, but my wife has a weird schedule that doesn’t sync up very well with mine when it comes to taking time off. The problem with never taking vacations– other than the obvious– is that on the rare occasions when we do take one, we feel a lot of pressure to make sure we’re packing in as much fun as possible. Every second just has to be filled with excitement, and we can’t miss out on anything our destination has to offer since we don’t know when we’ll be able to take another trip. Ironically, the pressure to have fun ends up adding a layer of stress that makes everything less fun.

The same thing happens to me when I make it up to Annapolis. I don’t go anywhere near as often as I should; the last time I attended a home football game was against Central Michigan in 2010. I was determined to go to a game this year, and considered San Jose State since my class was having our reunion that weekend. Then the Veterans Classic was announced, and after that the choice was obvious (sorry, ’99). This was an event I had to see, and by the time last week rolled around I could barely contain my excitement for it. But as my trip grew closer, I started wondering: was I setting myself up for disappointment? Was I putting too much pressure on myself to have fun at this event? Was there any chance the Veterans Classic could possibly live up to the expectations I had built up in my head?

As it turns out, it blew them away.

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