Out of the turbulence, Jays fly by Irish, onto final four

Once 1-3, Hopkins back in semis, 15-11

Men's College Lacrosse

May 22, 2000|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Two months after falling to its worst start in 34years, Johns Hopkins put the finishing touch on a resurgence that has put the Blue Jays back in the big show.

Senior attackman Dan Denihan had four goals and four assists, while three more Blue Jays produced hat tricks, as the Hopkins men's lacrosse team took command in the third quarter, then coasted to a 15-11 victory over Notre Dame in NCAA tournament quarterfinal action yesterday at Homewood Field.

The fourth-seeded Blue Jays (9-3) won their eighth straight game and advanced to their second consecutive final four under coach John Haus. They will play top-seeded Syracuse on Saturday at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium.

Hopkins' three losses, all of which occurred in March during a1-3 start, came against the rest of the semifinals field, which includes Virginia and Princeton. The Blue Jays lost a 13-12 decision at Syracuse on March17."It's been a goal of ours to get back to the final four and ultimately win a national championship," said Dan Denihan, whose eight points marked a career high in the postseason. "We came out of the gates and lost to three teams that are in the final four. It's good to get a taste of playing [Syracuse] again."

The Blue Jays gave upstart Notre Dame (10-4) - the only unseeded team to make the quarterfinals - a balanced effort that the Irish did not confront while upsetting Loyola a week ago.

For starters, Notre Dame did not enjoy the possession time that fueled its first-round victory. Hopkins faceoff man Eric Wedin, one of the hottest specialists in the country, was strong from the start and tremendous in a pivotal third quarter.

Wedin won 18 of 26 faceoffs on the day, including an 8-for-10 effort in the third period. The Blue Jays' offense took Wedin's spark and torched Irish goalie Kirk Howell (11saves) with seven third-quarter goals.

That turned an 8-6 halftime lead into a 15-8 advantage going into the final quarter. Dan Denihan was in the middle of the 7-2 run, with three goals and two assists.

Hopkins, which stopped Notre Dame's seven-game winning streak, hit the Irish from many other angles, even without any points from senior All-America midfielder A.J. Haugen.

Junior midfielder Conor Denihan, continuing his best stretch of lacrosse at the end of an injury-marred year, scored three goals. Freshman attackmen Bobby Benson (three goals) and Adam Doneger (one goal, career-high three assists) beat the Irish inside. Midfielder Justin Shaberly tied his career high with three goals and added an assist.

Close defenseman Brandon Testa kept attackman Tom Glatzel quiet, one week after Glatzel hung seven points on Loyola. Yesterday, Glatzel had one goal and one assist. Todd Ulrich led the Irish with three goals.

Goalie Brian Carcaterra could have been sharper on his clears, but he shook off a shaky first quarter and played like his old All-America self pretty much the rest of the way, recording 12saves. Wedin also led the way with 15ground balls."There's a reason Dan Denihan is a first-team All-American. There's a reason Brian Carcaterra is an All-American," said Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan. "Haugen didn't get a lot of points, but he did a great job of setting the table for other guys. Wedin is really good. I don't think we were timid today. We just didn't make enough plays."

The Irish put up a decent fight early, taking a 3-2 lead late in the first quarter. At that point, Glatzel had scored his one and only goal of the day, and the Blue Jays were beginning to assert themselves.

Four different players scored during a 5-0 Hopkins run, which included two goals from Conor Denihan. Midfielder Rob Frattarola's 15-yard shot made it 7-3 with 11:42 left in the half.

Notre Dame cut the lead to 7-6 with three unanswered goals over the next six minutes, but that turned out to be the last big gasp left in the Irish.

In the third quarter, Dan Denihan set about abusing defenseman Mike Adams quickly, scoring 21seconds into the quarter to make it 9-6. Wedin then took over the quarter, which included an unsportsmanlike call against Corrigan. Benson converted the resulting extra-man chance on the crease, with a great feed from Dan Denihan. That made it 13-7."I was talking to one of my players. I didn't agree with that call, frankly," Corrigan said. "That's not an NCAA call."

The Blue Jays are NCAA tournament semifinalists for the 22nd time, including the sixth since 1992. They will try once again to get to the finals for the first time since 1989. They have not won a national title in 13years."We're sort of the odd team out," Haus said. "It's going to be a battle to stay successful down there. I'm proud of the way our team played and what our players did. We're pretty excited about getting another shot."

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