Hopkins goes OT to dodge UMass, 13-12

Doneger's goal wins game with 1:19 gone as top seed advances to the final four

Hopkins will face Princeton next

Jays rally in quarterfinal after losing 6-0, 12-10 leads

May 20, 2002|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

The kiddie corps on the Johns Hopkins lacrosse team is too young to remember a Mel Gibson flick from the 1980s, but The Year of Living Dangerously could serve as the title of its training manual.

The top-seeded and top-ranked Blue Jays blew a pair of six-goal leads on Massachusetts yesterday, fell behind by two in their NCAA quarterfinal matchup at Homewood Field, then rode the broad shoulders of junior midfielder Adam Doneger to a 13-12 overtime victory and a berth in next weekend's final four.

Hopkins momentarily controlled the overtime faceoff, called timeout and a play for Doneger, isolating him out top. He drove right, lost defender Matt McFarland with a crossover step and fired in a left-handed shot with 1:19 elapsed in the four-minute overtime period. The Blue Jays wasted leads of 6-0, 8-2 and 12-10 before Doneger made them 6-0 in one-goal games.

"Why do we have to do this every time?" said one of coach Dave Pietramala's players as the relieved Blue Jays filed into their locker room.

Hopkins (12-1) will meet Princeton in Saturday's semifinals at 11:30 a.m. at Rutgers. The Blue Jays beat the Tigers, 8-5, in the season opener for both, but Hopkins has never topped Princeton in the NCAA tournament, falling in the first round in 1990 and the quarterfinals in 1994.

When eighth-seeded Massachusetts (12-4) went on its most important run of the season, an eight-goal spurt that shot it from that 8-2 halftime deficit to a 10-8 lead with 13:04 remaining, the Minutemen were on the verge of their first final four and something that Princeton, Syracuse and Maryland could not accomplish this season - a win at Homewood Field.

"Both teams showed great character," Pietramala said in a bit of an understatement.

He used 21 players. Nine are freshmen, like Kyle Harrison, who lost his edge in the third quarter. Another rookie starter, senior goalie Nick Murtha, had 11 saves in the first half but tailed off in the second, and junior attackman Bobby Benson said the offense "lost our composure" when the Blue Jays fell behind.

After goals by Don Little and Kevin Leveille gave the Minutemen their 10-8 lead, Hopkins threw the ball away on four straight possessions. Playing hurt, freshman Kyle Barrie ended a 22-minute drought when he converted a feed from Kevin Boland. Conor Ford tied it at 10 and crisp ball movement produced two goals by Doneger and a 12-10 lead with 4:08 left.

Massachusetts, which had a shaky landing at Baltimore-Washington International Airport Friday night and a wobbly takeoff yesterday, didn't quit. Leveille scooped in his third goal with 25 seconds left, and after freshman Craig Conn bested Harrison on the ensuing draw, the Minutemen called time. Chris Fiore, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound midfielder, dodged one defender and split two others to beat Murtha with 12 seconds left and force overtime.

Pietramala told Harrison he "needed to be the best player on the field," and the Friends grad then won his 14th faceoff in 24 tries. It set up Doneger, who, like Massachusetts coach Greg Cannella, went to Lynbrook High in Long Island, N.Y. Doneger finished with a career-high five goals.

"That was the biggest game of my career," Doneger said. "You always dream about these opportunities."

Barrie added three goals. Ford had two, and Benson a goal and three assists.

Spurred on by the trash-talking of Massachusetts attackman Marc Morley, who last week told the Hampshire Gazette of the Blue Jays, "a lot of us think they're overrated," Hopkins scored seven seconds off the opening faceoff and had a 6-0 bulge in the 23rd minute.

The Blue Jays' dominance included defensive midfielder Tim Muir's scoring with six seconds left in the first quarter, and Benson's beating the halftime buzzer by a single tick. Massachusetts opened the crease with outside shots that spread the Hopkins defense, but the Blue Jays had enough to continue their quest for their first NCAA championship since 1987.

Hopkins may be No. 1, but Princeton is the defending champion.

"They're still the guys to beat," Pietramala said, "not us."

Johns Hopkins 3 5 0 4 1 - 13

Massachusetts 0 2 5 5 0 - 12

Goals: M-Fiore 4, Leveille 3, Little 3, Zywicki 2; JHU-Doneger 5, Barrie 3, Ford 2, Muir, Harrison, Benson. Assists: M-Morley 2, Paccione, Smith, Fiore; JHU-Benson 3, McDermott, Harrison, Boland, LeSueur. Saves: M-Schell 4; JHU-Murtha 18.

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