For 27th time in row, Hopkins dunks Navy

Homecoming win hurts Midshipmen's hopes for NCAA tournament, 13-11

April 22, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

What Notre Dame is to Navy football, Johns Hopkins is to Mids' lacrosse.

The Navy football team suffered its 37th straight loss to the Fighting Irish last autumn. Coach Richie Meade's men's lacrosse team ventured to Baltimore yesterday and gave No. 6 Johns Hopkins a gallant fight, but fell, 13-11, in front of 6,136 at Homewood Field. The Blue Jays celebrated homecoming with their 27th straight win in the annual series.

"Of course it's frustrating," Navy senior attackman Michael Cataffo said. "In my first year, we lost to them by one goal. Last year, it was overtime. This time, it was a two-goal game. This was one of those games in which possession is everything, and in the second half, we didn't get possession as much as we wanted."

Actually, the second quarter doomed No. 13-ranked Navy (7-5), which desperately needed an upset to enhance its fleeting chance at an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

The Midshipmen surrendered a season high for goals, but Navy's 11 were the most allowed by Hopkins (6-3) this season. The Mids bolted to a 4-1 lead, and shot better than .500 through the first 20 minutes, which had them on top 6-4. The Blue Jays limited the Mids to two meaningful attempts the rest of the half, however, and went into the break with three straight goals and a 7-6 lead.

Navy got its final tie at 8 with 7:59 left in the third quarter on a gritty move through traffic by Eddy Holton. Hopkins went ahead to stay two minutes later on a goal by midfielder Matt Hanna, and he stretched the Blue Jays' spread to 11-9 with 9:12 left. Adam Borcz, Navy's ace midfielder, drew Navy within one with his fourth goal a minute later, but the Mids were then left to rue extra-man situations at both ends.

Hopkins midfielder Conor Denihan was called for a slash with 6:49 left. Navy's man-up unit had three good chances to tie, but Cataffo's bouncer went wide, goalie Rob Scherr stuffed Nick Lockwood shot and Greg Conklin's attempt was deflected by a defenseman.

Seconds later, Navy's Micah Sybor was called for a cross-check that even Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala didn't think warranted two minutes. Adam Doneger got the clincher, then fed Bobby Benson to expand the bulge to 13-10 after Eric Wedin controlled the faceoff.

Wedin, the fireplug who tired at Maryland a week earlier, got a few extra breathers from Pietramala and won 18 of his 27 draws, four of the five in the fourth quarter. He also collected 16 ground balls and four assists, both career highs.

Their other big guns quieted, the Blue Jays got points from some unexpected sources. Conor Ford, a freshman attackman out of St. Paul's who had eight goals on the season and was blanked at Maryland, connected on all five of his shots. Hanna's three goals matched his total for the first eight games, and he posted his first assist. Kevin Boland came in with two points; he notched three assists as Hopkins had an interesting solution to Navy's slide package.

"We put in one of their [Navy's] offenses," Pietramala said. "It helped Conor Ford spring open."

Navy, which had lost only to Maryland in its eight previous games, concludes its season against Army at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Friday night. Hopkins tunes up for the NCAAs with dates against its Charles Street rivals, Towson (Saturday) and Loyola (May 5).

Navy 4 2 3 2 - 11 Johns Hopkins 2 5 3 3 - 13

Goals: N-Borcz 4, Cataffo 2, Conklin, McKinnon, Cornes, Holton, Lockwood; JH-Ford 5, Hanna 3, Doneger 2, Benson 2, Denihan. Assists: N-Cataffo 3, Fellows, Morris, Pittard; JH-Wedin 4, Boland 3, Denihan 2, Frattarola, Hanna, Doneger. Saves: N-Higdon 13; JH-Scherr 14.

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