Hopkins foils Towson, Seaman's plan, 20-10

No. 2 Jays don't show mercy toward ex-coach

May 03, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

No one could have devised a more detailed strategy in preparation for Johns Hopkins than Towson lacrosse coach Tony Seaman.

He worked up a zone defense. He thought up a ball-control attack as well as some isolation plays against the Blue Jays' short-stick defenders. He even tried the element of surprise by starting backup goalkeeper Sam Hudson.

But it never crossed the former Blue Jays coach's mind to mention to the Tigers: Catch the ball, stay onside and don't throw passes over teammates' heads.

Seaman could only watch with arms crossed on the sidelines as No. 2 Johns Hopkins translated Towson's ineptness into a 20-10 rout yesterday in front of 2,116 at Minnegan Stadium.

"You can write any game plan and draw all the X's and O's you want to, but if you don't execute " said Seaman, who coached Hopkins for eight seasons before being fired June 22. "We turned it over and turned it over. That was the kind of day it was. That killed us."

The Blue Jays (10-1), winners of nine consecutive games, turned their first meeting with their former coach into a historic one. Dan Denihan tied a school record for total points in a game with five goals and six assists despite sitting out the final nine minutes.

Hopkins also won its seventh straight game by nine goals or more for the first time in its program history. Oh, the Blue Jays started playing lacrosse in 1883.

Towson (4-7), which has won only once since March 23, gave up 20 goals in consecutive games for the first time in its 41-year lacrosse history.

"I think we have made progress, week by week and game by game," Hopkins coach John Haus said. "You have to do that. We also realize that we have to play our best lacrosse in a couple of weeks from now. That's very important."

After an extra-man goal by Kevin Sturm lowered Towson's deficit to 5-3 only 5 1/2 minutes into the second quarter, Hopkins punished the Tigers for every mistake.

A check of Sturm by defenseman Brandon Testa became a goal by Ryan Quinn.

A bad Towson pass turned into an unassisted score by A. J. Haugen.

A forced feed into the middle by the Tigers' Dannie Ross set up Conor Denihan's goal on the other end.

A pass over the head of Towson's Steve Preis paved the way for a Dylan Schlott score. That goal was registered against a Tigers defense that had too many players on the field for the second time in the first half. Combine that with two offside calls before halftime and Towson's breakdown was in full swing.

Final tally over the five-minute span: Towson committed five turnovers; Hopkins scored four goals, propelling the Blue Jays to a 9-3 lead with 3: 44 left before until halftime.

Hopkins had little difficulty solving the zone during that stretch, converting on four of its five shots. The Blue Jays created open spaces for their shooters by quickly reversing the ball from behind the goal to the wings.

"It's chemistry," said Dan Denihan, the first Blue Jay to record 11 points since Matt Panetta in 1991. "Sooner or later, you break a sweat and start to see what they're doing. People start to move off ball and things fall into place. When I got comfortable with that zone, I started to feel it. And guys started finishing their shots."

Towson just never gave itself a chance.

After three quarters, Hopkins had more goals (16) than the Tigers had shots (15). At that same point, Towson matched its number of successful clears (eight) to failed ones.

Add that mess up and the Blue Jays' margin ballooned to 20-6 midway through the fourth quarter before they inserted the reserves.

After the game, some Hopkins players gave Seaman a handshake along with a pat on the back. Others hugged him.

Hopkins also handed Seaman his first losing season since 1990, the year before he arrived at Homewood.

"We knew what the consequences were with Coach Seaman and everything, but we were focused on the game," Hopkins midfielder Conor Denihan said. "He was a great coach for us, and I loved having him as my coach. But he's still the opposing coach."

Johns Hopkins 4 6 6 4 -- 20

Towson 2 3 1 4 -- 10

Goals: JH--D.Denihan 5, Haugen 3, Schlott 3, Molenaar 2, C.Denihan 2, O'Kelly 2, Quinn, Rapuano, Driscoll; T--Jones 2, Berry, Ross, Sturm, Ford, Palumbo, Preis, Murray, Paradise. Assists: JH--D.Denihan 6, O'Kelly 4, LeSueur, Quinn, Haugen; T--Ford 2, Paradise, Wohltmann. Saves: JH--Carcaterra 7, Murtha 3; T--Hudson 9; Horrigan 7, Murphy 3.

Pub Date: 5/03/99

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