1-on-1 Princeton too good for Jays, 17-10 Length-of-field scores spur 7-2 run in opener

March 01, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

To truly appreciate Princeton lacrosse, one only had to watch the third quarter in amazement.

Showcasing an assortment of dazzling one-on-one maneuvers, the top-ranked and two-time defending national champion Tigers sideswiped No. 6 Johns Hopkins, 17-10, before 5,914 at Homewood Field yesterday.

Princeton shook off a stale first half and displayed its patented hustle and athleticism, outscoring the Blue Jays 7-2 in the third quarter to break open a one-goal game. Six of those Tigers goals were unassisted and featured length-of-the-field runs, spinning open-field moves and explosive dodges to the goal.

Princeton (1-0) won its 29th consecutive game, tying Syracuse (1989-91) for the second-longest winning streak in Division I history.

The 17 goals represented the most goals allowed by the Blue Jays (0-1) in four years and the widest margin of defeat since an eight-goal loss to Maryland in the 1995 national semifinals.

"We started to be a little more patient," Princeton coach Bill Tierney said. "It looked like early in the game when they were up 3-1, it seemed like every time down the field we needed to have the ball in the back of the net. But you've got to have patience and it seemed like after that, we did that very well."

Just break down the third quarter, where Hopkins didn't convert when faced with an empty net, a point-blank shot on the crease and a key opportunity with a two-man advantage.

While the Blue Jays only gained frustration, the Tigers built momentum.

Capping a three-goal run to open the second half, freshman Matt Bailer got back the ball after winning the faceoff, raced down the field 20 yards and stuck a high shot 4 1/2 minutes into the third quarter to push the lead to 9-5.

After Hopkins got within 10-7, Princeton sophomore midfielder Josh Sims out-sprinted defenders twice for goals in a three-minute span. The last came when Sims forced a ground ball by checking the Blue Jays' Dudley Dixon to the turf at midfield and single-handedly cleared the ball, finishing the melee with a close-range shot.

Then Jesse Hubbard, who earlier in the game broke the Princeton career record for goals with his 123rd, ended the third with a left-handed, behind-the-back goal through a crowd of defensemen. It was Hubbard's fifth goal and put the Tigers ahead 13-7.

"No one expects something like that," Princeton attackman Jon Hess said. "It kind of sets up the defense. Now they say we stopped them and they still scored. So now what do we do?"

The Blue Jays rightfully can shake their heads.

Hopkins won 22 of 31 faceoffs, held a 50-41 advantage in ground balls and was only outshot 43-42. Plus, goalkeeper Brian Carcaterra did his part by warding off 17 shots.

But Hopkins couldn't continue its early intensity, which jump-started the Blue Jays to a 3-1 advantage and the lead for most of the first half.

The Blue Jays can only point to the lack of production out of their highly touted midfield of A. J. Haugen, Andrew Godfrey and Matt O'Kelly, who combined for one goal and three assists.

And there was Dixon, their top attackman, who consistently forced shots in being shut out for the game's final 53 1/2 minutes while still showing the effects of a severe off-season knee injury.

"The whole difference in the game was the third quarter. It was huge," Hopkins coach Tony Seaman said.

"I can see O'Kelly with the open goal. I can see Godfrey diving around the crease. I can see being two men up, where Dixon made a horrible choice of shooting the ball. It comes back to kill you."

Pub Date: 3/01/98

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