Hopkins again has Navy's number, 9-8

Doneger's goal gives Jays 28th win in row over Mids

April 21, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Both teams have been taken to the wire in nearly every game this season, so the fact that Johns Hopkins and Navy were tied late in the fourth quarter was no surprise.

Nor was what came next.

In the latest chapter to a season filled with clutch goals and second-half comebacks, the second-ranked Blue Jays got a goal from junior Adam Doneger with 5:52 to play to earn a 9-8 victory over the 14th-ranked Midshipmen in front of a lacrosse school-record crowd of 15,271 yesterday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

For the Blue Jays (8-1), it was the 28th straight win over Navy dating to 1974, and for the Mids, it was clearly one of the most painful losses.

"I thought we had them today. I thought the streak was over," said dejected senior Eddie McKinnon, who led the Mids with three goals. "We could've won today, and we should've won. I think Hopkins knows that."

Riding the emotion from the record crowd and taking advantage of Hopkins' lackluster offensive effort, the Midshipmen (7-5) led 5-3 with just over five minutes to play in the third quarter when junior Greg Conklin rebounded Dan Eddy's shot past sprawled-out goalie Nick Murtha (16 saves).

But the Blue Jays, who had gone scoreless for 26 minutes until junior Bobby Benson opened the third period with a goal, scored four times in the last three minutes of the third to take a 7-5 lead.

Freshman midfielder Vince Smith started the run with his first collegiate goal. About 20 seconds later sophomore Conor Ford scored in transition off freshman Kyle Barrie's pass to tie the game.

Doneger scored from about 15 yards out, and a streaking Joe McDermott, who came in from the sideline and went unrecognized by the Mids, took a pass from Benson and beat Navy senior Jon Higdon (seven saves) to give the Jays a 7-5 lead.

They were buoyed in that stretch by freshman Kyle Harrison, who scored Hopkins' only two goals in a first half in which the Blue Jays trailed 4-2, and were at times, outworked by a game Navy squad.

Making an adjustment with his hand positioning and relying heavily on his athleticism, the freshman from Friends won six of seven faceoffs in the third, and four of six in the fourth. The extra possessions loomed large for a Hopkins offense looking to break from the stretch of futility it was entrenched in earlier in the game.

"We didn't change a thing," said Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala. "The difference was just playing harder."

Said Navy coach Richie Meade: "Long possessions against a skilled team like that put us in a position where we would have to slide and recover, slide and recover. They had the ball way more than we did coming down the stretch."

Still, Eddy cut the Blue Jays' lead to one just over a minute into the fourth, and McKinnon forged a 7-7 tie, finishing a Dan Neverosky pass at the 12:22 mark.

Benson and Conklin then traded goals, before Doneger set his feet from about 13 yards out, and fired a low blast by Higdon for the game-winner.

Their fifth one-goal win of the season left the Blue Jays relieved, but frustrated over the team's inability to play well for a full 60 minutes.

"They came out and took it to us early," said Benson. "We have to learn to play the same way we do in the last five minutes for the whole game."

Nevertheless, having now beaten seven of the top 15 teams in the country, the Blue Jays will enter their final two games against neighborhood rivals Towson and Loyola, looking to cement a bye in the NCAA tournament.

Johns Hopkins 2 0 5 2 - 9

Navy 3 1 1 3 - 8

Goals: JH-Harrison 2, Benson 2, Doneger 2, Ford, McDermott, Smith; N-McKinnon 3, Conklin 2, Eddy, Nash, Morris. Assists: JH-Ford 2, Boland 2, Barrie, Benson, Smith; N-Neverosky 2, Pittard. Saves: JH-Murtha 16; N-Higdon 7, DiNola 0.

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