Va. drops Hopkins in 4 OTs

Gill ends suspense on wraparound, 9-8

March 25, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Conor Gill's wraparound goal with 2:45 to play in the fourth overtime lifted Virginia to a dramatic, 9-8 lacrosse victory over Johns Hopkins last night before 2,820 well-bundled fans at Homewood Field.

Gill came from behind the net to elude a night-long nemesis in Hopkins defender Shawn Nadelen and scored with a low blazer to give Virginia its first win at Homewood since 1997 and only its seventh in history.

"He had my number most of the night," said Gill of Nadelen. "But I just reached around and stayed on the ground."

"Conor turned the ball over a couple of times, but you've got to stay with your man," said Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia. "He got around Nadelen and got it in."

Gill (St. Paul's) had to share the spotlight with freshman goaltender Tillman Johnson (St. Mary's), who made some spectacular saves after halftime as the Cavaliers rallied behind him.

Johnson finished with 18 saves, many of them sensational, including a notable effort against Joe McDermott when he made a kick save from point-blank range.

"I guess that one was the best because no one else was near," said Johnson. "It hit off my knee and went out. We all wanted this game - needed it even more than we wanted it."

The Cavaliers had already lost to Syracuse, Princeton and Notre Dame and were facing an uphill battle with another defeat.

Hopkins had not led at the end of any quarter other than the fourth this season before vaulting into a 4-1 lead and then maintaining the advantage at 7-4 at halftime.

Virginia playmaker Gill darted from behind the goal to beat Rob Scherr (McDonogh) low with 13 seconds remaining in the half to pull the Cavaliers back within three after Conor Ford (St. Paul's) had scored exactly a minute earlier to boost Hopkins ahead by four.

It was the third goal of the game for Ford, who had managed only two in the previous three games.

The Blue Jays' defense made things relatively easy for Scherr, who was forced to make just two saves in the half. Hopkins outshot Virginia 20-13 over the 30 minutes.

Ford (St. Paul's) led Hopkins (2-2) with his three goals as the Blue Jays enjoyed success in early extra-man situations, scoring four of five times.

But Johnson thwarted the big one late in the game and the Blue Jays' offense never got unwound in the second half, its only score coming when Adam Doneger shuffled one in to give Hopkins an 8-7 lead.

"You could see in our eyes that we weren't going to lose this game," said Gill. "This one was crucial. We knew how important it was."

The Blue Jays were coming off a stirring 11-10 victory over No. 1 Syracuse on the road.

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