After a season-opening loss to Princeton, it was taken for granted that Johns Hopkins University's lacrosse team would get better by the end of the season, maybe enough to make the playoffs.
The Blue Jays, though, seem in playoff form after week No. 4.
No. 8 Johns Hopkins (3-1) upset No. 4 and three-time defending national champion Syracuse (2-2), 18-12, Saturday night before 10,936 at the Carrier Dome. It was only the third time Syracuse had been beaten at the dome.
"This was a huge win," said Tony Seaman, Johns Hopkins first-year coach. "That loss to Princeton in the season opener has really helped us. It's a tribute to the players and the
"The players now have a better understanding of the staff and defenses we want to play. It just takes time. The kids were so used to playing one way, and now they have adjusted. This was certainly one of the biggest wins in my career."
Led by All-American midfielders Paul and Gary Gait the last four years, Syracuse won three National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I championships.
No coach came closer to beating Syracuse more often than Seaman's teams at Penn, which were 0-8 against the Gait-led Orangemen, but lost five games by two goals or fewer.
Said Seaman: "The miracle boys are gone now. This win has been a long time in coming."
Syracuse led, 9-8, at the end of the first half but scored three goals off the transition, and another three on extra-man situations.
"We went at them from the attack in the first half, but then got our midfield more involved in the second," said Seaman, whose team took only 41 shots.
The Blue Jays won't have long to celebrate. They must face No. 1 Virginia (6-0) on Saturday (2 p.m.) at Homewood Field.
"There are no Notre Dames or Lafayettes on this schedule," said Seaman. "We're playing nine of the 10 best teams in the country, but if there is a way to prepare, then this is the way to do it.
"But we're starting to see some light. I wouldn't want to be a Cavalier right now, but we'll have to wait and see."