Navy freshman puts exclamation point on collegiate debut

I receeivd the following from Patrick Stroop:

By  Ed Lee

Two hours before his collegiate debut against the Virginia Military Institute Saturday, Navy attackman Sam Jones received a text message from his father Dave Jones, a 1982 graduate who was the captain of the lacrosse team his senior year.

The message read, “Go have fun. Don’t be afraid to shoot.”

Jones, an Annapolis native and Severna Park graduate, took his father’s words to heart, unleashing eight shots and scoring four goals in the Midshipmen’s 14-8 victory. The output was the most by a Navy player since Taylor Harris scored six against Holy Cross on March 26, 2006, and tied the second-most goals by a Midshipmen during coach Richie Meade’s 17-year tenure at the school.

Jones said Monday that he never anticipated scoring four goals in his first game on the collegiate level.

“I was a little bit nervous, but there are a lot of guys on the team who do a good job of keeping us calm,” he said. “[Junior attackman] Taylor Reynolds, [senior goalie] Mike Haas, the two of them really look out for me, and it was nice. I’m real confident playing with the group that I play with, and that calmed me down.”

Jones was initially credited with five goals, but further review of the game film showed that fellow freshman Tucker Hull scored one of those tallies. Still, it’s an impressive showing for Jones, who quickly downplayed his performance.

“I’ve watched the film briefly, and I can easily tell you that there were a few things that I was doing wrong,” he said. “I had some goals, but I’ll be the first one to tell you that that game probably wasn’t the best I’ve played, and I hope it’s not the best game I ever do play. It was good. We won. That’s the most important thing. But I would say that there’s a lot of things that I could do better.”

In addition to his father, Jones’ grandfather Jack Jones was a 1954 graduate who was the 1954 recipient of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s Ensign C. Markland Kelly Award, which is given to the top goalie in Divisions I, II and III. Sam Jones said he feels honored to continue his family’s legacy at the academy.

“It’s not a big deal in my household, not something that’s talked about a lot,” he said. “But my granddad’s at every game. My dad makes it out to about 90 percent of the games. I got a text two hours before the game that said, ‘Go have fun. Don’t be afraid to shoot.’ That’s all the lacrosse we talked about that week. I think we talk more about the Naval Academy experience than we do about lacrosse in general. But it’s really cool. I definitely feel that when I go onto the field, I’m playing for them, but you feel that way about your teammates and everybody else, too. It’s a cool thing to be a part of.”

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