Navy Buoyed by Goalie Jo Torres' Relentless Play Between the Pipes


Navy sophomore goalie Jo Torres ranks fourth nationally with a 51.9 save percentage.

When the Navy women’s lacrosse took on Lehigh in late March, things initially looked troubling for the Midshipmen. Down by three goals less than 10 minutes in, Navy desperately needed a momentum shift.

Sophomore goalkeeper Jo Torres provided just that.

Shot after shot, Torres was relentless. Seemingly everywhere at once, she stopped four straight near the end of the first quarter to keep the Mountain Hawks on their toes.

By the final whistle, Navy had taken over. Torres’ sharp play, including 11 saves, and the Midshipmen’s energized offense, which scored 11 goals in the final three quarters, put Navy over the top. Their efforts gave the Midshipmen their first win over Lehigh since 2019.

“We were ready,” Torres said. “We were prepared. We knew we had to beat them because last time [in the 2021 Patriot League quarterfinals] it was horrible losing in overtime to them, but we knew we had a lot going for us [this time].”

Just prior to the Lehigh matchup, Navy lost a close 13-12 decision to Georgetown. Since then, the Midshipmen have gone 5-0, easily handling a slate made up of solely Patriot League matchups.

Torres has played a key role for Navy throughout this stretch, emerging as a defensive star in her second season in the cage. She ranks fourth nationally with a 51.9 save percentage and has helped power Navy to ranking fourth nationally in scoring defense.

A member of the high school class of 2020, Torres didn’t finish her senior season at nearby St. Mary’s Annapolis (Md.), didn’t get a typical fall ball season her freshman year and played an abbreviated, mainly Patriot League schedule last spring. Her first game for the Midshipmen came against Army, where she recorded a 10-save second half to secure a narrow one-goal victory.

Torres said she has gradually gained confidence as she’s played more over the past year. Starting some games her freshman year provided a boost. Playing a robust, competitive fall ball schedule against programs like Syracuse, North Carolina and Maryland helped, too.

Another important source has been encouragement from her teammates on defense, many of whom are experienced upperclassmen.

“They’re the ones that tell me, ‘Jo, you got this,’” Torres said. “They’re the ones that give me confidence. They know I’m going to be right back there, ready to save the ball, and I know they’re going to do everything in their power to force the bad shots. They give me a lot of trust and I trust them.”

While Torres is a sophomore, many of the defenders surrounding her are seasoned veterans. Senior defenders Alexis Bell, Grace Loughery and Christine Fiore and junior defender Erin Carson have all played crucial roles for the unit, chipping in double-digit caused turnovers and ground balls. Unlike many opponents, Navy has no graduate students on their team per academy policy.

With the number of calls that go against defense, players must be tough, coach Cindy Timchal said. The Midshipmen’s upperclassmen have embodied that mindset this year, Timchal said, while playing unselfishly and leading the team together.

With the ups and downs of lacrosse during the pandemic Timchal said she’s been “surprised and excited” to watch her players’ growth and perseverance over the past year. Tenacity and toughness have been key to the Navy’s growth and success since the pandemic, she said.

“Tough times don’t last forever, but in our case, tough players do,” Timchal said. “The key is to be resilient, to know mistakes are going to be made, to understand that lacrosse is fun and free. But so many teams we face are just tough teams, so you have to be tough.”

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