No. 1 Blue Jays knocked off perch

Va.'s 6 goals in row do in Hopkins, 12-6

March 24, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - This time, there was no miracle comeback or last-minute goal to save the Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team.

The Blue Jays' fate was cemented when they were held scoreless for the last 26:34 of the game, as No. 3 Virginia emerged from a third-quarter tie to score six straight goals and put away top-ranked Johns Hopkins, 12-6, yesterday before 4,325 at Klockner Stadium.

Vaulted into the top spot - thanks to last week's 9-8 comeback victory over then-No. 1 Syracuse - for the first time since the second week of the 1999 season, the Blue Jays (3-1) will undoubtedly take a step back when the Inside Lacrosse poll is released today.

"They played like the No. 1 team today, and we didn't," said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala.

The Cavaliers, who have defeated three teams from last year's Final Four, certainly made a case for No. 1.

Virginia (5-1) got three goals from freshman attackman Joe Yevoli and a three-goal, four-assist effort from Yevoli's classmate, John Christmas, who had a hand in all six of the Cavaliers' second-half goals, terrorizing his defender, Blue Jays senior P.J. DiConza, for much of the afternoon. DiConza had been magnificent in holding both Michael Powell of Syracuse and Ryan Boyle of Princeton to just one point the previous week.

"We wanted to make a statement that we are a tough team to beat," said Christmas. "[DiConza] is a great defender, but I thought I had a little of an advantage bodying up on him. I just tried to use my speed."

Hopkins, which had trailed by as many as four goals in the first half, forged a 6-6 tie at the 11:30 mark of the third quarter when junior midfielder Adam Doneger drew two defenders and fed a wide-open Bobby Benson, who beat Virginia sophomore goalie Tillman Johnson.

At that point, it appeared the Blue Jays were gearing up for another huge second half. That was until Yevoli and Brenndan Mohler scored off feeds from Christmas, giving the Cavaliers an 8-6 lead.

Christmas wasn't done. He operated from behind the net to find a wide-open Billy Glading for a goal, and then with just 35 seconds in the third quarter, Yevoli one-timed Christmas' pass and beat senior Nick Murtha (seven saves) to give Virginia a 10-6 advantage.

"I thought we were terrible defensively today, and that's not taking anything away from Virginia," said Pietramala. "We did things that were so uncharacteristic of us."

Despite the lack of punch from the Hopkins offense in the second half, the possibility of another Blue Jays comeback crossed the mind of Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia, before Christmas capped his afternoon with two fourth-quarter goals.

"The thought did occur to me, but we have played very well in the end in all of our games this year," Starsia said. "But in the second half, it felt like it was one of those days where Tillman had the door closed."

Johnson made 14 saves, but he faced little extended pressure.

"They just outplayed us in every aspect of the game," said Doneger, whose team was led by freshman Peter LeSueur's two goals. "We didn't have a good week of practice, and it showed out there. The better team won today."

Virginia scored the first three goals of the second quarter to build a 6-2 lead, and it looked as if the Blue Jays were in big trouble.

But LeSueur drove past his defender and beat Johnson before being pushed into the crease to make it 6-3 with a little more than 3 1/2 minutes left until halftime.

Then, another Blue Jays freshman attackman, Kyle Barrie, stepped in front of a Johnson pass and fired a 30-year shot into the center of the open net, vacated when Johnson strayed about 25 yards out of his crease to direct the clear effort.

Just 10 seconds later, Hopkins got a goal from Doneger, off Tim Muir's assist, to cut the Cavaliers' lead to 6-5. But after Benson's goal tied it early in the third, Virginia took over.

Johns Hopkins 2 3 1 0 - 6 Virginia 3 3 4 2 - 12

Goals: JHU-LeSueur 2, Benson, Boland, Barrie, Doneger; V-Christmas 3, Yevoli 3, Shannon 2, Mohler, Rotelli, Glading, Russo. Assists: JHU-Barrie, Muir; V-Christmas 4, Rotelli 2, Gill, Glading, Russol. Saves: JHU-Murtha 7; V-Johnson 14.

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