Hopkins' 4-goal lead gets lost in scramble as Virginia rallies No. 2 Cavs drop No. 4 Jays below .500 with 16-12 win

March 23, 1997|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Johns Hopkins coach Tony Seaman could only shake his head in disbelief.

No answers. No insight.

In a span of 14 1/2 minutes in the second half, he watched his Blue Jays go from four goals ahead to five goals behind as No. 2 Virginia shocked No. 4 Hopkins, 16-12, before 5,584 at Homewood Field yesterday.

David Curry had three goals and an assist in that 9-0 run that started with 6: 13 left in the third quarter and ended with 6: 39 to go in the fourth.

The Cavaliers (4-2) beat the Blue Jays at Homewood for the first time since 1988. Hopkins (2-3), which has lost to the top three ranked teams by a combined six goals, drops below .500 after five games for the first time in seven years and only the second time in 26 years.

"It's a funny thing. I was going to ask all of you what happened out there," said Seaman to reporters afterward. "Of their 16 goals, I think 10 or 11 of them came off of ground balls and off scrambles. That's how that team makes its living. They didn't do that in the first half."

And Virginia thrived on the unsettled situations. It seemed that the Cavaliers' plan of attack consisted of dropping the ball on their offensive end, scrambling for the loose ball and scoring against an out-of-position Hopkins defense.

Down 10-6 with 6: 48 left in the third quarter, Virginia scored four times in less than five minutes. The Cavaliers tied the game at 10 just before the end of the third quarter when Doug Knight picked up a ground ball and blasted a 7-yard, left-handed shot into the goal.

It only got worse for the Blue Jays in the fourth.

A little more than two minutes into the quarter, Virginia attackman Michael Watson ran down a loose ball just inside the restraining line and zipped the ball to an open Drew McKnight on the crease for the easy score. Brian Birch won the ensuing faceoff for the Cavaliers, ran into the heart of the defense and set up Watson's underhanded shot to put Virginia ahead 12-10.

"I thought that was critical to score because we fought so hard to get back to 10-10," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "I felt we would scrap back. We generally do that, but have not broken through this year."

The Cavaliers proved relentless on the attack.

Two minutes later, Curry scored off a feed from McKnight. Three minutes after that, Wren tagged a one-hopper past Johns Hopkins goalkeeper Brian Carcaterra. Just 32 seconds after that, Jay Jalbert dodged past Rob Doerr.

By the time Johns Hopkins settled the ball down, its four-goal lead became a 15-10 deficit with 6: 39 left in the game. The Blue Jays ended their scoring drought at 19 minutes, but never got closer than four goals the rest of the game.

"There's no question, we're best in the unsettled game," Starsia said. "At times, I thought we should have just dropped the ball and then go to the goal."

Seaman had no such humorous explanation. He could only stare blankly at the stat sheet.

Hopkins outshot the Cavaliers, 57-49. The Blue Jays won the ground-ball battle, 51-46.

Hopkins defenseman Brian Kuczma shut down Virginia's top attackman, Watson, who scored his lone goal on a fast break.

The only place where Virginia dominated was faceoffs. Jason Hard and Birch combined to win 10 of 16 faceoffs in the second half, including six of eight in the third quarter.

"I don't think they did much six-on-six," said Carcaterra, who made a career-best 18 saves. "It was off of bad clears or them fighting for ground balls. And then they moved the ball real well. I think that was really it."

In the first half, the Blue Jays set a composed tempo to take an 8-4 halftime advantage.

Virginia then switched goalkeepers from freshman Ben O'Neil, who was making his first start, to its regular goalie, Chris Sanderson, at halftime. Breaking out of an early-season slump, Sanderson recorded 11 saves and held Hopkins to four goals.

But the biggest change occurred on the Cavaliers' offensive end. The makeshift situations allowed Virginia to score on 12 of 26 shots in the second half.

"The defense we play, we cause a lot of ground balls," Seaman said. "We just have to know what to do when that happens. We have to learn to play 60 minutes and not 30."

Pub Date: 3/23/97

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