Hopkins experiences a rough start

March 06, 1994|By Marc Bouchard | Marc Bouchard,Special to The Sun

A season-opening game between the country's third and fourth-ranked teams at historic Homewood Field on a beautiful sunny day.

Sounds like all the makings for a lacrosse classic.

But yesterday's matchup between No. 3 Princeton and No. 4 Johns Hopkins was anything but classic.

Princeton exposed Hopkins' inexperience at defense and ripped the Blue Jays, 20-11, before a crowd of 5,711.

It was Hopkins' worst defeat since a 19-7 loss to Syracuse in 1988.

"[Princeton] has a very experienced team, and they deserve to be highly ranked," Hopkins coach Tony Seaman said.

"They are as good as they were two years ago when they won [the national championship]. "We knew before the game that this was going to be a tough team to start against, with all the inexperience we have."

The Blue Jays started two freshmen and an inexperienced senior on defense, and it didn't take long for Princeton to teach the unit a lesson.

The Tigers took a 4-1 lead after 11:50, and led after the first quarter, 6-2.

After five minutes of the second period, Princeton was ahead 9-2.

Seniors Scott Reinhardt and Kevin Lowe each had three of the DTC Tigers' first nine goals. Reinhardt, a midfielder, finished with a game-high seven goals.

Attackman Lowe finished with four goals and four assists, making him Princeton's career leader in points with 185.

"I was overwhelmed by the quickness of Princeton," freshman defender Brian Kuczma said. "It was a real learning experience."

Despite numerous dropped passes and failed clears, the Blue Jays got to within 10-5 at halftime and after two minutes of the third quarter pulled to 10-6 on a goal by Chris Macon.

But an errant pass two minutes later marked the beginning of the end for the Blue Jays.

Princeton defenseman Rob Neff picked off an attempted clear by the Hopkins defense, raced untouched toward the goal and beat sophomore goalie Jonathan Marcus one-on-one.

From there, the Tigers scored five straight goals and entered the fourth quarter with a 16-6 lead.

"[The sloppy play] shocked me," Seaman said. "I hadn't seen any signs of that all spring."

Princeton goalie Scott Bacigalupo, a senior from St. Paul's who has won the Kelly Award as the nation's top goaltender the past two years, performed spectacularly, making 17 saves.

And the Tigers' defense, particularly junior Todd Higgins, did a good job of containing Hopkins' potent one-two punch on attack Terry Riordan and Brian Piccola.

Because of a preseason injury to starter Josh Miller, Princeton coach Bill Tierney moved Higgins, who usually plays long-stick midfield, to close defense and the assignment of covering Piccola.

Higgins virtually took Piccola out of the game, holding the senior to one assist.

"That was our big worry," Tierney said. "Asking 'Higgie' to go down there and do what he did was just a phenomenal thing."

Riordan, last year's leading scorer, finished with five goals, but two came in the fourth quarter when the game was essentially over.

One bright spot for Hopkins was the play of Macon, a junior midfielder from Gilman who played at Hobart his freshman year. He finished yesterday's game with four goals.

Hopkins plays again Wednesday in Chestertown against Division III Washington College.

Princeton's next game will be Saturday at No. 5 Virginia.

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