Johns Hopkins roared from behind, scoring 11 of the last 15 goals, to beat Princeton, 15-14, in the lacrosse opener for both teams yesterday.
Playing before 4,490 fans at Homewood Field, Hopkins trailed, 9-5, with 5.09 left in the first half. The Blue Jays looked as if they had a case of opening-day jitters.
Goals by Hopkins' Brian Lukacz and Jeff Wills cut the deficit to 9-7 at halftime. Then the Blue Jays outscored Princeton, 4-1, in the third period.
With 11:20 left, Hopkins led 15-12, but Princeton's Justin Tortolani and Kevin Lowe scored the final two goals.
A desperation heave from near midfield by senior Justin Tortolani in the final seconds was no threat, barely reaching the goal.
In the Baltimore Sun's preseason poll, Hopkins was picked No. 4 in the nation. Princeton was No. 6.
High scorer for the Blue Jays was Terry Riordan with four goals and two assists. Riordan is a 6-foot-4, 205-pound freshman from Baldwin, N.Y. Tortolani led Princeton with four goals.
"I thought all three of our freshmen played great," said Tony Seaman, who is in his second year as Hopkins' head coach. "Riordan did a great job. So did our other freshman attackman, Peter Jacobs. And Dan Evans [freshman defenseman from Loyola High] played very well at long pole."
Seaman said his team's slow and shaky start was the result of opening game nervousness plus some technical things.
"We couldn't get the ball upfield in the first half," Seaman said. "Then we had four or five penalties that hurt us.
"But these are two good teams that are evenly matched. They came down here and beat us last year in our opener and we wound up No. 4 in the country.
"We have a hell of an offense. We need to tighten up up defense, although [goalie] Scott Giardina [who had 13 saves] played great in the second half."
Bill Tierney, the former Hopkins assistant coach who in four years has brought Princeton up among the nation's elite, had a simple explanation for the dramatic turnaround.
"They called fouls against Hopkins in the first half," Tierney said, "but they didn't call any in the second half."
For the game, Hopkins was penalized eight times for six $H minutes, Princeton five times for 3.30.
"It was a tough opener for both teams," Tierney said. "It was an emotional game. But Hopkins shot very well. Their young kids did great."
Four Hopkins players scored two goals each -- Brian Lukacz, sophomore attackman Brian Piccola, Steve Veccione, heretofore a faceoff specialist; and Jeff Wills, senior attackman from Loyola High. Wills, who seems to be taking more of a leadership role, also had three assists.
Hopkins plays next at 3 p.m. Wednesday against Washington College at Chestertown. Princeton plays Bucknell next Saturday.
Princeton 4 5 1 4 -- 14
Johns Hopkins 2 5 4 4 -- 15
Goals: P--Tortolani 4, Burstein 2, Simmers 2, Lowe 2, Waller 2, Tomeo, Reinhardt. JHU--Riordan 4, Lukacz 2, Piccola 2, Veccione 2, Wills 2, Jacobs, Kelley, Wright. Assists: P--Lowe 4, Reinhardt 2; JHU--Wills 3, Cody 2, Riordan 2, Spero 2, Kelly, Piccola. Saves: P--Bacigalupo 8; JHU--Giardina 13.