Hopkins finds footing, slams Ohio State, 17-7

Buckeyes confuse Jays at start, but then buckle before JHU's firepower

April 08, 2001|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It took about a quarter for the Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team to adjust to Ohio State's game plan and the wet turf conditions, but once it did, the Blue Jays turned in one of their best all-around performances of the season.

After struggling with their footing and a deliberate Ohio State team in the first quarter, the Blue Jays changed shoes and subsequently outscored the Buckeyes 13-0 in the middle two quarters en route to a dominating, 17-7 win yesterday at Homewood Field.

"It was critical that we got a couple of goals and forced them to play a quicker, more up-tempo style," said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, whose team improved to 5-2. "They wanted to hold the ball and keep possession."

The game plan was effective for the Buckeyes in the first 15 minutes as Ohio State (5-4), content to pass the ball around and work the clock, tied the game before the end of the quarter when senior attackman Sandy Boyce (St. Paul's) ripped a shot over the left shoulder of the Blue Jays' sophomore goalie, Rob Scherr.

"They threw a lot of stuff at us that we've never seen before," said sophomore attackman Bobby Benson, who scored four goals and added an assist. "It took a while for us to get used to what they were doing. But once we did, we played one of our best games of the season."

Not helping matters much for either team was the rain, which resulted in a treacherous field and forced many of the Hopkins players to change into wet-turf shoes.

"I went to the sidelines and switched mine," sophomore Adam Doneger said. "The turf was getting really wet."

Benson, who seemed to be having no problems with his footing, had a huge hand in Hopkins' 13-0 second- and third-quarter run. He freed himself in front of the cage and converted Doneger's pass to give the Jays a 2-1 lead.

Then, four minutes later, the McDonogh grad was left alone again, and he cut to the middle and accepted a Joe McDermott pass before beating Ohio State goalie Tony Russo (Calvert Hall).

After sophomore midfielder Tim Muir found the back of the net, Benson struck again, shuffling in a rebound of senior Eric Wedin's shot at the 6:50 mark of the second quarter to give the Jays a 5-1 lead.

"This is really the first game our offense came out strong from the opening whistle," said Doneger, who led Hopkins with three goals and three assists.

The Blue Jays closed the half with two goals, both by the red-hot Wedin. Along with scoring two goals, Wedin, who now has as many points this year as he did in the previous three seasons combined (13 points), dominated Ohio State's Anthony Kelly on draws, winning 13 of 21.

Kelly came into the game with one of the top face-off percentages in the country at .685 percent.

"Eric's been great. This was his type of game - a real hard-nosed, ground-ball battle," Pietramala said.

What remained of any suspense was gone early in the third period. Doneger scored two goals in the period and assisted on a goal by Muir. Freshman Frank Potucek also got into the act, scoring his first career goal as the Blue Jays built a 14-1 third-period lead. All told, Hopkins outshot a shell-shocked Ohio State team, 44-18.

Ohio St. 1 0 0 6 - 7 Johns Hopkins 1 6 7 3 - 17

Goals: OS-Smith 2, Boyle 2, Ratcliff, Kelly, Gilardi; JH-Benson 4, Doneger 3, Muir 2, Potucek 2, Denihan 2, Wedin 2, Ford. Assists: OS-Norton 2, Smith, Gilardi; JH-Donerger 3, Wedin, McDermott, Frattarola, Muir, DiConza, Ford, Quinn, Benson. Saves: OS-Russo 11, Miller 3; JH-Scherr 5, Murtha.

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