Hopkins edges Princeton, 15-14

March 05, 1995|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

The play was designed with many options, the last of which was for Peter Jacobs to take the final shot. But with three seconds remaining, Jacobs scored the game-winner as Johns Hopkins opened its season in dramatic fashion with a 15-14 win over Princeton yesterday.

The win touched off a wild celebration of Hopkins players at midfield as a stunned crowd of 5,017 at Homewood Field had watched the Blue Jays rally with two goals in the last 20 seconds to pull out the victory over the defending national champions, whose eight-game winning streak ended.

Blue Jays senior attackman Brian Piccola had scored with 18 seconds left to tie the game at 14, a goal that was a result of sheer muscle, extraordinary talent and a strong will. Jacobs' goal was almost by accident.

"I was trying to draw the double-team, and I didn't know how much time was left," said Jacobs, a senior midfielder. "But then I took a peek and saw about five seconds left. Then I said, 'Oh, oh, I better shoot and try to win this game.' "

If there was an MVP yesterday, it was Jacobs, who won 21 of 30 faceoffs as Hopkins controlled the game's tempo. His game-winner came after he won the faceoff after Piccola's goal.

Jacobs jogged the length of the field, patiently looking inside to attackman Terry Riordan on the crease, or Piccola and fellow attackman Dave Marr working off a possible double-team.

When nothing opened up, Jacobs became the closer, finishing off Princeton (0-1), which had beaten Hopkins in four of their previous five meetings, including a 12-11 victory over the Blue Jays in the Division I quarterfinals last season.

"I'm still in shock," said Hopkins coach Tony Seaman. "We had a time in the third quarter where I thought we were going to run them out of this place. In many ways, this game was like the playoff game last year, but out on the field, I didn't have time for flashbacks."

But a lot of the Blue Jays remembered the playoff loss last season, which ended with Princeton attackman Scott Conklin scooping up a loose ball and scoring from outside the crease 1:20 into the four-minute sudden-death overtime.

Piccola couldn't forget. He missed a wide-open shot from 7 yards with 12 seconds left in regulation.

That's what made his game-tying goal yesterday so special. He took the ball from behind the goal and worked to his left, bumping and pushing Todd Higgins, Princeton's best defenseman. When Piccola pushed for a second time, Higgins tried to push back. Piccola turned right and scored.

"Nine out of 10 times, I make that back-door play, but that was the one time I didn't," said Piccola, referring to the playoff game. "It just keeps sticking in my mind. Today when I saw the clock going down, I just said I'm going for it. Now I feel little better."

This Princeton team was not close to the ones that won two of the past three championships. Gone are attackman Kevin Lowe, defenseman Peter Ramsey, midfielders Scott Reinhardt, Paul pTC Murphy and Brian Tomeo and goalie Scott Bacigalupo.

But speed, disciplined offense and smothering defense helped the Tigers to a 4-3 first-quarter lead and a 6-4 advantage with 5:10 left in the first half. But Hopkins' relentless offensive pressure, especially when Princeton tried to clear, was too much for the Tigers, as Riordan, who finished with four goals, scored two in the remaining time to put the Blue Jays ahead 8-6 at the half.

Hopkins had a four-goal surge midway through the third period for a 12-7 lead with 6:18 left, but Princeton exposed the Blue Jays' weaknesses of an inexperienced defense and inconsistent goalie play with three goals in the final five minutes to pull within 12-10 at the end of the quarter.

Princeton tied the game at 13 on Jesse Hubbard's third goal with 5:03 left and went ahead on Don McDonough's third goal with 3:51 left.

"We have a lot of sophomores who made sophomore mistakes," said Princeton coach Bill Tierney.

Said Seaman: "We'll probably meet them again. They'll make the playoffs, but I won't mind if they don't."

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