Hopkins surprises Syracuse, 14-10 Second-half blitz powers Blue Jays

March 17, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Attackmen Dan Denihan and Brad Berzins may not remind many of Terry Riordan and Brian Piccola, one of the best tandems ever, but the two new starters are beginning to make their names in Johns Hopkins lacrosse history.

Denihan and Berzins combined for seven goals and No. 7 Hopkins used a seven-goal scoring run midway through the second half to defeat rival and No. 3 Syracuse, 14-10, yesterday before 5,977 at Homewood Field.

Denihan, the nation's top prep player out of Manhasset High in New York last year, finished with four goals, and set the tone of the game with two in the opening four minutes as Hopkins took a 2-0 lead.

Berzins, a junior transfer from the University of Maryland, had his three goals during a spurt when Hopkins broke a 6-6 tie to take an insurmountable 13-7 lead with 9: 56 remaining in the game.

"I wouldn't say the pressure comes from the coaches, but from the community," said Denihan, referring to Piccola and Riordan, the Blue Jays' four-time All-America attackmen who graduated last year.

"Every year, it was always Terry and Pic," said Denihan. "We don't score in bunches like they did, but our scoring is more dispersed. I think we're handling the pressure OK."

Syracuse coach Roy Simmons Jr. would agree. The Blue Jays also got two goals each from midfielders Milford Marchant and Andrew Godfrey. Attackman Dave Marr was his usual unselfish and splendid self with a goal and three assists.

"We tried not to get caught up in their rhythm, and ride them hard on the offensive end because their fast break scares us as well as everyone else in lacrosse," said Hopkins coach Tony Seaman.

"But to get four goals from a freshman, and three from a player who hasn't been with us very long, well, those guys are starting to grow up."

Hopkins (2-1) couldn't put Syracuse (2-2) away until Marchant started the scoring spree with a low, hard shot with 4: 48 left in the third quarter that put the Blue Jays up 7-6.

Hopkins midfielder Ed Zuchelli scored on a long shot nearly 2 1/2 minutes later. Berzins then scored off a loose ball and Marr beat defender Rorke Denver for a goal to close out the scoring in the quarter.

Syracuse attackman Jim Morrissey scored the first goal of the fourth period with 13: 03 left, but Berzins scored two straight in a two-minute span, and Denihan blistered a shot through the legs of goalie Jason Gebhardt that put the Blue Jays ahead 13-7 with 9: 56 left in the game.

That was enough for Hopkins to win its fourth regular-season game against Syracuse in the past five years.

"I would just like to beat them in May," said Seaman of Syracuse, which has won two of the past three NCAA championships.

The Orangemen are notoriously slow starters, but they always peak in the postseason. Even after yesterday's loss, Simmons ++ didn't seem to be too upset with the Orangemen, who had only three days to prepare for Hopkins after beating Yale, 14-13, Tuesday in Boca Raton, Fla.

The Blue Jays' defense played well yesterday, but the Orangemen contributed to their own downfall. Syracuse was sluggish, out of sync and played too much one-on-one. Defensively, the Orangemen looked very much like a team recovering from losing a trio that was the best in the sport a year ago.

"I'm never comfortable taking a team to the beach and then coming to Hopkins," said Simmons. "They have a very intimidating defense. They had two weeks to prepare for us, and their coaching staff did a great job. Our goal is to grow and learn from every lesson. We'll go home and pick up the pieces."

And then Simmons flashed that confident smile, the same one he has shown after winning six national titles.

"We've struggled to be 2-2. I think we've averaged two losses for about the last 15 years," said Simmons. "But we'll enjoy being David, and we'll let the big boys be Goliath for right now. But we'll be back."

Pub Date: 3/17/96

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