Putting 4-OT loss aside is Hopkins' challenge

Maryland men enjoy first top ranking since '98


College Lacrosse

March 28, 2001|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Will Johns Hopkins be able to bounce back from one of the most devastating lacrosse defeats in school history?

First-year coach Dave Pietramala is doing everything in his power to make sure the fifth-ranked Blue Jays put aside the bitter disappointment of last Saturday night's 9-8 loss in four overtimes to Virginia and move on.

But Pietramala knows he is fighting a tough battle because of all the hype surrounding that loss. It was not only the longest game ever played by Hopkins, but people don't expect the Blue Jays to lose at Homewood Field, especially when they are leading by three goals at halftime.

What makes it more heart-wrenching for Hopkins is that the opponent was longtime rival Virginia, which has stolen a little thunder in recent years from the Charles Street school. Virginia came to town 2-3, and Hopkins had just upset then-No. 1 Syracuse.

Life was good again for the legion of Blue Jays followers.

But Virginia's Conor Gill ended the euphoria 1:15 into the fourth overtime. He managed to beat Hopkins defender Shawn Nadelen for a wraparound goal that ended the amazing evening. The Blue Jays had never even played a triple-overtime game.

Pietramala said: "It was a tough loss to handle. We had opportunities to win in regulation and didn't, and they had opportunities to win in overtime and did [win]. We didn't execute against their zone in the second half after controlling both ends of the field in the first half."

The Hopkins coach said that Gill made "a very good play" for the winner, "like he has done in the past against Hopkins." But Pietramala said his high regard for Nadelen still stands. "Shawn Nadelen is one of the best defensemen in college lacrosse," said Pietramala.

Pietramala said the Blue Jays put the Virginia loss "behind them" Monday and are preparing for North Carolina.

Terps are No. 1

Maryland was rewarded for its 6-0 start Monday when the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Coaches poll voted the Terps No. 1 for the first time since April 1998. Maryland started 8-0 that year.

Maryland won its seventh straight yesterday, beating No. 13 Bucknell, 8-4, at Byrd Stadium.

What did we do wrong?

That's what they are asking around Curley Field today after Loyola defeated Brown, 11-7, Saturday but still fell from eighth to ninth in this week's USILA coaches poll.

"I guess they didn't want to put us ahead of Notre Dame," said school spokesman David Rosenfeld. The Irish (5-1) and Virginia (3-3) are tied for seventh, while the Greyhounds (4-1) drop a notch.

Loyola is playing well enough on even-strength situations to be unbeaten, allowing 5.8 goals each 60 minutes. It's those man-down goals that are hurting, as the Greyhounds have given up 15 goals in 32 man-down situations.

Winning the close ones

UMBC has put together a 6-0 record in its past six games decided by three goals or fewer, including Saturday's big one-goal victory at Penn State. It was the Retrievers' first win at Penn State since 1986.

UMBC has allowed one extra-man goal in the past three games, and goalkeeper Steve Cusa has a 7.05 goals-against average.

Towson on brink

It is no secret why Towson University has remained on the edge of the elite lacrosse schools for the past five years.

The Tigers have not beaten a Top 10 school since 1996, when they stunned Johns Hopkins, 13-12, at Homewood. Towson gets another shot at a Top 10 rival, No. 9 Loyola, Saturday at 1 p.m. at Curley Field. Loyola has won 11 of the past 14 meetings with Towson.

Pittard power

One has to wonder why plebe attackman Dave Pittard did not start in the first six games for Navy.

It's not as if the Mids (3-3) are loaded with talent and can afford to keep their leading point-producer (Pittard had 18 points on nine goals and nine assists) through six games in reserve.

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