Hopkins sneaks past Towson

Benson catches Tigers with guard down late for 4th goal, 14-13 win

April 29, 2001|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It was a lacrosse game billed as a battle between a rock-solid Johns Hopkins defense and an explosive Towson University offense.

Left out of that equation was any talk of the Blue Jays' offense. That proved to be a major oversight yesterday.

Bobby Benson, a sophomore attackman for Hopkins, scored his fourth goal of the game with 1:51 left to play to lift the fourth-ranked Blue Jays to an exciting, 14-13 win over the 10th-ranked Tigers at Minnegan Stadium.

Benson capitalized on a Towson defensive lapse, and found himself alone atop the crease. Senior midfielder Conor Denihan fed Benson, who did the rest, beating Tigers senior goalie John Horrigan up high for the game-winning goal.

"They were trying to switch, so I kind of just snuck in," said Benson, who had a career-high seven points. "Conor Denihan made a great look."

"Our player thought the play hadn't started yet," said Towson coach Tony Seaman, whose Tigers fell to 10-3. "They threw a 30-yard pass to him [Benson] and he stuck it in and we lose the game. That's what it boils down to."

The goal stood up thanks to a great defensive play by sophomore Tim Muir. The midfielder stripped Towson junior Brad Reppert (four goals), who was behind the net looking to set up the tying goal with about a minute to play. The Blue Jays (7-3) were then able to run out the clock.

"It was a heck of a lacrosse game," Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. "We had an awful lot of respect for them going into the game and we have even more now.

"I believe today we earned a playoff berth because we now have two good wins against Top 10 teams."

Benson's heroics were necessary only because of a furious second-half Towson rally. Behind 12-6 midway in the third quarter after two straight goals by Blue Jays sophomore Adam Doneger, the Tigers scored three of their own.

When sophomore Danny Cocchi bounced a low shot past sophomore goalie Rob Scherr (15 saves) to make it 12-9 beginning the fourth quarter, Towson saw visions of its comeback win over Loyola.

The Tigers followed up that flurry when Jay Horowitz and Brian Myers started the fourth with goals to cut the Blue Jays' lead to 12-11. After freshman Conor Ford (St. Paul's) renewed Hopkins' two-goal lead with his fourth score of the afternoon, Reppert picked up a loose ball and shoveled it by Scherr.

Then, with 3:30 left, Horowitz evened the score at 13, when he fired a shot in the upper corner. The tie was broken less than two minutes later when Benson scored.

"We started hitting the goal in the second half, and we got it back," said Seaman, whose team trailed 10-5 at halftime. "A lot of teams would have quit."

The faceoff battle between Towson's Justin Berry and Hopkins' Eric Wedin was as good as advertised. Wedin got the best of Berry in the first half, winning seven of 10, but Berry dominated in the fourth quarter, taking six of seven.

"I've been watching film on him all week and I knew it was going to be a battle," Berry said. "He certainly didn't make it easy for me, but in the fourth quarter, they started to go my way."

Though the 13 goals allowed were the most for the Hopkins defense this season, the unit dominated in the first half. Crucial was the play of senior Brandon Testa, who blanketed the nation's second-leading scorer, Kyle Campbell. Campbell's only goal came in the third quarter when Reppert stole the ball from Scherr and found Campbell for the empty-netter.

"As far as preparation, we worked on different team defenses and giving each other a lot of help," Testa said.

"We feel very good about our close defense," Pietramala said. "We didn't want to slide a lot off of Kyle Campbell. Brandon did a good job limiting his looks."

With a little luck, Pietramala might have been able to breathe a little easier as the Jays hit the post or crossbar six times during the game. It was Hopkins' fifth one-goal game. It is 3-2 in those games.

"I think today shows that we are not a great lacrosse team. We are a good solid team that has to play well to win," said Pietramala, whose team plays another Charles Street rival, Loyola, on Saturday at Homewood. "I think the close games in the long run will be very good for us."

Johns Hopkins 5 5 2 2 - 14 Towson 2 3 4 4 - 13

Goals: JH-Benson 4, Ford 4, Doneger 3, Hanna, Denihan, Frattarola; T-Reppert 4, Myers 2, Horowitz 2, Tankersley, Lcohte, Obloj, Campbell, Cocchi. Assists: JH-Benson 3, Doneger 2, Denihan 2, Muir, Boland, Frattarola; T-Campbell 2, Monaco 2, Adams, Reppert, Cornett, Lochte. Saves: JH-Scherr 15; T-Horrigan 7.

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