Hopkins back in final four

Carcaterra-led Jays make Hofstra pay in NCAA quarters, 11-7

May 23, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- The Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team craved redemption.

But the Blue Jays' hunger didn't revolve around overtime losses that ended their previous two seasons in the NCAA quarterfinals or restoring their program to final four prominence. Yesterday, the motive was more personal and immediate.

Redeeming itself after an embarrassing loss at Hofstra only two weeks ago, No. 2 Hopkins made the plays in the second half instead of fumbling them, advancing to its first final four since 1996 with an 11-7 victory over the No. 7 Flying Dutchmen at Hofstra Stadium.

The Blue Jays (11-2) took satisfaction in ending Hofstra's nation's-best win streak of 13 games before a quarterfinals-record crowd of 12,292, which also was the best attendance ever for an outdoor college-lacrosse game on Long Island.

Hopkins, which became the first visiting school to win a quarterfinal game in five years, will now play the winner of today's Virginia-Delaware game in the national semifinals Saturday in College Park.

"We wanted to make them pay," Hopkins midfielder Matt O'Kelly said. "We played a little too timid the last time."

Last time, Hofstra pressed in the fourth quarter and Hopkins turned the ball over. This time, Hofstra pressed in the fourth and Hopkins turned in results.

The Flying Dutchmen (13-3) placed 10 of their 12 shots on goal in the quarter, but changed the scoreboard only twice. Blue Jays keeper Brian Carcaterra clamped down, making eight of his 19 saves in the final quarter.

"When we did get inside, Carcaterra had a great day," Hofstra coach John Danowski said. "He was tremendous. If a couple of those go the other way, momentum changes. It could have been a different result."

The Blue Jays clutched the momentum as tight as those recent Long Island memories.

O'Kelly, who committed the pivotal turnover in the final seconds in the last meeting with Hofstra, returned the favor yesterday by constantly forcing the ball loose on the defensive end.

His check of Brian Spallina in the third quarter became a Conor Denihan goal 14 seconds later, giving Hopkins a 6-4 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter.

When the Flying Dutchmen answered 49 seconds after that, the Blue Jays controlled the ensuing draw with the nation's second-best faceoff team and went ahead 7-5 on an unassisted goal by A.J. Haugen.

Dylan Schlott and Justin Shaberly then beat Hofstra goalkeeper Michael Demeo high to increase Hopkins' advantage to 9-5 with 8 1/2 minutes left. That's when the Flying Dutchmen accelerated their play, only to have Carcaterra slam on the brakes.

Hofstra cut the margin to 9-6 and found itself with an extra-man opportunity with 7: 50 remaining. The Flying Dutchmen executed their play to perfection, feeding the ball inside to a wide-open Brad Obloj in the crease.

Obloj had enough time to fake three times, but struck out against Carcaterra, who deflected the shot on more than a hunch.

"I tried to stay calm and didn't want to chase after his stick," said Carcaterra, last year's Goalkeeper of the Year. "I waited until the ball was released. I just played on it and got a piece."

Only 14 seconds after Carcaterra's stick save, O'Kelly pushed the ball on the fast break before Dan Denihan scored his fourth of the game for a 10-6 lead with 6: 47 left.

Hofstra failed to recover this time, turning the ball over four times in the final 6 1/2 minutes.

"We don't look to play a particular team," said Denihan, one of 15 Long Island natives on Hopkins' roster, who had had a 12-game goal-scoring streak stopped by Hofstra on May 8, "but I'd be lying if I said it didn't give us motivation to get them back and prove to everyone that we can play."

Now the stage shifts to College Park, where Hopkins lost in overtime in the '97 and '98 quarterfinals.

Only seven Blue Jays remain from the group that suited up for the school's last final four appearance. And most of Hopkins' players were just learning to play the sport when the Blue Jays won their last national championship, in 1987.

The 12-year drought hasn't lessened expectations.

"The goal is to get to College Park," O'Kelly said. "The Final Four is one thing, but the goal is to get there on Monday [for the championship game]. That's what we've talking about all year."

Hofstra 2 2 1 2 -- 7

Johns Hopkins 3 1 3 4 -- 11

Goals: HOF--Shanahan 2, Eisenhart, Obloj, Ghedina, Kessler, Rogers; JH--D.Denihan 4, Haugen 3, Schlott 2, C.Denihan, Shaberly. Assists: HOF--Flocco 2, Kessler 2, Shanahan; JH--O'Kelly 2, C.Denihan, Nadelen. Saves: HOF--Demeo 15; JH--Carcaterra 19.

NCAA lacrosse

Division I quarterfinals

Yesterday's results

At Hempstead, N.Y.

Johns Hopkins 11,

Hofstra 7

Georgetown 17, Duke 14

Today's games

At Princeton, N.J.

Loyola (12-0) vs.

Syracuse (10-4), 1 p.m.

Virginia (10-3) vs.

Delaware (14-2), 4 p.m.

Inside

Salisbury earns spot in Div. III final. 12f

Pub Date: 5/23/99

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