Johns Hopkins controlled the faceoffs, and it won most of the ground balls against Towson State. Blue Jays attackman Brian Piccola had six goals by the end of the third period, and most of the crowd was filing out with 14 minutes left in the game.
Guess who won? Final score: Johns Hopkins 15, Towson State 8 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I lacrosse tournament last night before a standing-room-only crowd of 7,812 at Minnegan Stadium, an attendance record.
Despite the lopsided score, it was close until Piccola scored goals No. 4, 5 and 6 in the last seven minutes of the third period to put the Blue Jays ahead, 12-7, at the end of the quarter.
But don't get the impression fifth-seeded Johns Hopkins (8-4) was a powerhouse. No. 4 Towson (9-3) was never in sync, possibly being hurt by an opening-round bye last week.
The Blue Jays, though, were more inspired, and the motivation may have come from a 14-13 last-second loss to Towson two weeks ago.
Hopkins will play Syracuse (12-1) in the semifinals Saturday (1 p.m.) at the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field. Top-seeded Syracuse, which beat No. 9 Yale, 17-8, yesterday, lost to Hopkins, 15-14, earlier this season.
Johns Hopkins did not play that well in the first half, but Towson was horrendous in the first two quarters, when the Blue Jays took an 8-4 lead.
Johns Hopkins controlled the tempo of the game despite outshooting the Tigers only 13-11. Towson, though, simply could not play pass and catch as the Tigers showed signs of a team that had not played in two weeks.
Johns Hopkins went ahead 1-0 on a goal by midfielder Adam Wright nearly three minutes into the game. Hopkins attackman Brian Piccola pushed it to 2-0 on a fast-break goal with 7:27 left in the quarter, and fellow attackman Terry Riordan, after juking Towson goalie Jerry DeLorenzo who came out of the goal, scored with 4:24 remaining in the quarter to make it 3-0.
Towson scored when attackman Joe Genovese scored on a high shot with 4:02 remaining in the quarter. Genovese scored again on another high shot with 26 seconds left in the quarter to pull Towson within 3-2.
Both goalkeepers were superb in the first period. DeLorenzo and Blue Jays' Scott Giardina both finished with five saves. DeLorenzo had two from point-blank range, including a shot by midfielder Brian Lukacz midway in the period on an extra-man opportunity.
Genovese scored 1:19 into the second period, but the goal was disallowed because of an illegal procedure penalty against Towson.
Lukacz, stopped early in the first period, scored on a high shot with 10:29 left in the half to give Johns Hopkins a 4-2 lead.
But Towson attackman John Blatchley, rolling around the goal to his right, beat a Johns Hopkins defender for a goal outside the crease for a goal with 5:51 left in the second quarter.
Johns Hopkins answered with a goal 36 seconds later, when Lukacz scored from 15 yards out. Towson continued its error prone ways later in the quarter as Wright, after the Blue Jays scooped up a loose ball at midfield, scored from the right of the crease with 3:54 left to put the Blue Jays ahead, 6-3.
The Blue Jays seemed to really take control when attackman Jeff Wills scored with 2:41 remaining in the second quarter, but Towson got a lift when midfielder Lindsay Dixon scored with 18 seconds left in the half.
Hopkins got a bigger lift winning the ensuing faceoff and getting a goal from Piccola with two seconds left for an 8-4 halftime lead.
Towson seemed to pick up the pace in the third period. Attackman Steve Carcaterra scored 2:15 into the quarter, and Genovese scored his third goal 21 seconds later to pull Towson with 8-6.
But Hopkins, as it did at the end of the first half, killed a Towson rally when Piccola scored with 10:54 remaining to give Hopkins a 9-6 lead. After that, the Blue Jays went to a deliberate offense.
Towson came back on an unassisted goal from midfielder Tim Barger with 6:52 remaining, but Hopkins won the ensuing faceoff and played momentum killer again. This time it was Piccola, scoring with 6:45 left. Piccola scored again with 3:50 remaining, and later with 1:22 left to give the Blue Jays a 12-7 lead at the end of the quarter.
On both goals, Towson was forced to chase the ball, and Hopkins did a good job of finding the open man.