Princeton administers 8-4 lesson to Hopkins

34-minute lapse spoils debut of Pietramala

March 04, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Halftime included a history lesson for Princeton yesterday.

The Tigers frustrated a hobbled Johns Hopkins team and took a 4-0 lead into the break at Class of 1952 Stadium. It was Dave Pietramala's debut as the Blue Jays' head coach, and the scenario was reminiscent of the last time they met here, two years ago. Hopkins was overwhelmed early then, too, and trailed by four goals at the half but stormed back to make John Haus a winner in his first game as the guide of the Blue Jays.

There was no repeat. Princeton kept Johns Hopkins off the scoreboard for more than 34 minutes, took a commanding seven-goal cushion into the fourth quarter, and cruised to a decisive 8-4 victory before 4,125 in the season opener for both.

"We talked about that [Hopkins' comeback in 1999] at the half," Princeton coach Bill Tierney said. "We said, `Let's not let that happen again.' "

The Tigers were not about to fold a second time, not with one of the tightest defenses in college lacrosse and the Blue Jays missing a mess of injured midfielders. After Bobby Benson finally scored for Hopkins, Princeton promptly responded with three goals in less than two minutes. The Blue Jays made it close with the only three goals of the fourth.

Pietramala understood that goals would come at a premium against Princeton, which has won five of its last six meetings with Blue Jays, but this was galling. It was Hopkins' lowest output since a 4-3 win over North Carolina in 1984, before Pietramala even played at Homewood. The Blue Jays have to go back to 1966 to find a game in which they scored less.

"We were prepared for everything we saw," Pietramala said, "but we made the mistakes we make in practice. We threw the ball away because we were not moving our feet, and if you don't move your feet in practice that's going to haunt you in a game. We have to do a better job of executing in practice. We didn't execute, and that's the flat-out reason we lost."

Hopkins had a 37-30 edge in shots, but the Blue Jays committed numerous turnovers and wasted a solid start in the goal by sophomore Rob Scherr from McDonogh. He was beaten just once through the first 18 minutes.

After Benson ended Hopkins' drought in the 35th minute, Boyle, the talented freshman from Gilman who started at attack, capped Princeton's three-goal spurt in a span of 1:42 with his third and fourth feeds. Sean Hartofolis sent a low laser by Scherr to make it 8-1. As the Blue Jays huddled after three quarters, midfielder Eric Wedin asked Pietramala if he could address the team.

"We were playing hard, but we weren't taking our time," said Wedin, who won nine of the 10 second-half faceoffs. "We weren't valuing the ball like we should. I said `Guys, we have to step up at the offensive end and give the defense a rest.' We had to keep going at them."

Princeton returns goalie Trevor Tierney, the close defense of Damien Davis (Gilman), Scott Farrell and Ryan Mollett (Boys' Latin), and nearly everyone else from last year's NCAA finalist team.

Loyola transfer Matt Hanna (two) and freshman Joe McDermott scored for the Blue Jays.

"We learned our personality," Pietramala said. "We learned to play 60 minutes. Today, we only played 15, in the fourth quarter."

Johns Hopkins 0 0 1 3 - 4 Princeton 1 3 4 0 - 8

Goals: JH-Hanna 2, Benson, McDermott; P-Clark 2, Prager 2, Striebel, Harrington, MacColl, Hartofolis. Assists: JH-Doneger 2, McDermott; P-Boyle 4, Striebel. Saves: JH-Scherr 12; P-T.Tierney 19.

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