Blue Jays struggle but hang on to edge No. 9 Tar Heels, 10-8

Win is 2nd of season

Hopkins' Haus: `We need to focus for 60 minutes'

April 02, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Moments after an embattled Johns Hopkins lacrosse team withstood a late North Carolina rush to emerge with a 10-8 victory yesterday, senior attackman Dan Denihan stood in the middle of Homewood Field and discussed the state of the Blue Jays.

"I know how good we are and how good we can be," he said. "The bottom line is we haven't played to our potential yet and we will.

"We let down offensively in the fourth quarter today when we didn't go back to what we did in practice for this game," Denihan continued, "and defensively we were letting them get shots from 5 yards out on Brian Carcaterra [Hopkins goalkeeper].

"Our opportunities will come around. We have to stay positive. The most important thing is where you are on Memorial Day [the date of the NCAA championship game]."

The ninth-ranked Tar Heels trailed No. 10 Hopkins 8-3 before going on a 5-2 fourth-quarter run that reduced the lead to 10-8 with 3: 31 left in the game.

The late spurt by North Carolina (6-3) shook up the Blue Jays (2-3) enough to send them into a deliberate attack that killed most of the remaining time on the clock with the help of a couple of late Tar Heels' turnovers.

"I threw a couple of passes away when we got close," said North Carolina junior attackman Jeff Sonke, whose four goals led the Tar Heels. "That really hurt. I'll put that on my shoulders.

"I thought we had it when we came back to 10-8, I really did," Sonke added, "but we came up a little short."

The late scare only served to heighten some of the concerns Hopkins coach John Haus is having these days.

His team entered the game saddled with the school's first 1-3 start since 1966 and only the third 1-3 beginning in the 118-year history of lacrosse at the school.

"Some of our issues right now," Haus said, "are that we need to sustain intensity for 60 minutes, we have to limit turnovers -- which we didn't do today -- we need to know how to get the critical stop on defense, and on the flip side we need to know how to score the critical goal."

Haus said the slow start has caused doubts to creep into the minds of the coaches and the players.

"That's only natural," he said. "But we haven't played our last game yet and the important thing is to bounce back and improve. We need to focus for 60 minutes. I don't believe any team in the country is playing really great lacrosse now."

Denihan helped bail the Blue Jays out yesterday with two goals and three assists. His brother, Conor, added two goals. Bobby Benson and Adam Doneger each scored twice for Hopkins and junior defenseman Brandon Testa held North Carolina's gifted senior attackman, Chase Martin (Gilman), to one assist.

"It does get frustrating to play all the top teams in the country back-to-back-to-back-to-back [a stretch that included losses to Syracuse, Virginia and Princeton], but we like it that way," Denihan said. "It's a challenge."

"If we're a good team," Haus said, "we would beat some of those teams.

"We're far from being as good as we need to be right now. We're going to figure it out."

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