College roundup: Varello, Kern earn honors from Patriot League

NAVY MEN’S LACROSSE: Senior Joe Varello and sophomore Ryan Kern were named the Patriot League Faceoff Specialist of the Week and Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week, respectively, after guiding Navy to a 9-8 Star Game victory over archrival Army on Saturday and securing at least a share of the Patriot League regular-season crown for the third time in the last four years.

Varello won 12 of the 20 draws against Army’s John Ragno, including 6 of 9 in the second half. One of Varello’s most important faceoff wins of the day came with under seven seconds to go in the opening half. After Army’s Matthew Donovan gave the Black Knights a 5-4 lead with 6.8 seconds remaining in the half, Varello won the ensuing faceoff and found long-stick midfielder Jeff Durden open for the game-tying buzzer beater.

Behind his 12 for 20 effort, Varello moved into the top 10 (ninth) on Navy’s single-season faceoff wins leader board with 133, while holding steady and No. 6 on the career list with 222. Additionally, he paced the team with seven ground balls, as he moved into a tie for 15th on the Mids’ all-time single-season ground balls list with 65.

A year after earning USILA National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Army in the 2017 Star Game, Kern once again put a solid effort together to lead the Mids to their fourth straight victory in the Star Game. Kern recorded nine saves, including seven in the second half. After Army closed to within one (9-8) at the 6:19 mark, the Black Knights fired off seven shots to just one by Navy. Among those seven shots, Kern would face a flurry of three shots in the final 13 seconds. Conor Glancy’s shot steered wide at 0:13, while Kern warded off Sean O’Brien’s shot before it caromed off his stick with 0:04 left and Austin Colvin’s narrowly missed as his shot sailed just wide of the right post as time expired.

The Midshipmen (8-4, 7-1 Patriot League) will step out of conference to play their regular-season finale on Saturday when they travel to Syracuse (7-4, 4-0 AAC) to play the Orange.

NAVY WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Julia Collins and Marie Valenti were named Patriot League Attacker and Defender of the Week, respectively, as announced by the conference office.

Collins and Valenti helped Navy to a pair of wins on the week, including a victory over No. 11 Virginia (W, 16-13) and a win over rival Army West Point (W, 20-7) to earn the first Star in women’s lacrosse history.

Collins finished the week with a team-high 11 points, scoring four goals and adding a team-best seven assists. In addition, she pulled down six draw controls and picked up four ground balls, while also causing a turnover.

Valenti, who picked up her first PL weekly accolade since being named Rookie of the Week twice as a plebe, finished the week with a team-best five caused turnovers and was second on the team with eight ground balls.

Navy plays at American on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Mids remained ranked in all three national polls this week. Navy (11-3, 5-1 Patriot League) is currently 11th according to the IWLCA Coaches Poll, 12th in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, and 12th in the US Lacrosse Magazine Poll.

LOYOLA MEN’S LACROSSE: Pat Spencer (Davidsonville, Boys’ Latin) was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week after the Greyhounds won a pair of games last week.

Loyola recorded an 11-8 victory over Georgetown University, a team now ranked 18th in the nation, on Tuesday afternoon before posting a 23-9 Patriot League win over Boston University Saturday.

In Loyola’s two victories, Spencer averaged eight points after tallying two goals and five assists at Georgetown to go with three and six, respectively, against Boston University.

He became the Patriot League’s all-time leader in assists with his first of the game against the Hoyas in just his 45th career game. Versus the Terriers, Spencer moved into second-place in career points in the Patriot League with 246. He trails only Bucknell University’s Chris Cara (2002-05) who has 249.

NAVY MEN’S SOCCER: Head coach Tim O’Donohue announced Mark Risbridger will join the men’s soccer staff as a volunteer assistant coach.

Risbridger most recently was a member of the coaching staff at Springfield College. He served as the associate head coach at Springfield from 2016-17 after serving as an assistant coach from 2013-15. He was also Springfield’s recruiting coordinator.

NAVY INTERCOLLEGIATE SAILING: The Navy Spring Regatta featured 20 top teams competing in a wide range of conditions, from bright and sunny to cold and rainy and wind ranging from 3-20 knots. In the end, the Midshipmen finished third overall, just 10 points out of first. Gary Prieto, Ana Mier and Kent Mathes were third in A Division while Peter Hogan, Kelly Milliken, Parker Loftus and Kent Mathes were fourth in B.

Another Navy team was competing at the Merchant Marine Academy in the Owen Trophy. Navy finished fifth overall out of 15 teams. Jimmy Madigan and Holly Koerwer finished seventh in A division while Connor Bayless and Madeline Pruzan were third in B.

Navy also had two boats sailing in the 15-boat George Washington Women’s invite. Navy’s Jessica McJones and Karma Richards overcame a rough start the regatta and climbed to fifth overall at the end. Brittney Slook and Emma Remis started out strong, but were forced to retire from the regatta after race six due to a lingering injury on Slook’s shoulder.

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