Possessive Blue Jays keep Duke away, 19-6

Hopkins controls faceoffs, scoreboard with patience

College Lacrosse

April 06, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Johns Hopkins just wouldn't let Duke have the ball yesterday.

The Blue Jays began playing keep-away at the start and held possession for the first 7:20 while getting the game's first 14 shots and four goals. Johns Hopkins pulled the same trick in the second quarter, holding the ball for 10 of the final 12 minutes and repeatedly breaking down the Blue Devils' defense.

In perhaps its best all-around performance this season, top-ranked Hopkins took No. 10 Duke out of the game almost before it started and cruised to a 19-6 victory before 2,086 at Homewood Field.

The Blue Jays won the game's first four faceoffs and showed plenty of patience on offense en route to their third straight victory. Johns Hopkins (6-1) saw that Duke (7-4) was playing a lot of zone early, so the Blue Jays simply moved the ball around and waited for the right shot.

"It was important for us to keep the pressure on them offensively," said Kyle Barrie of Johns Hopkins. "We dealt with it all week in practice ... just show patience with the ball and not be over-excited with it."

Barrie finished with a career-high eight points (five goals, three assists) as the Blue Jays followed the plan to perfection. They outshot Duke 56-29 and were able to keep possession for unusually long stretches and never let the Blue Devils draw closer than three after the early four-goal lead.

The faceoffs also played a big part in that. Johns Hopkins eventually won 20 of 29, often setting up long possessions. Kyle Harrison (nine of 13), Greg Peyser (seven of 11) and Lou Braun (four of five) helped the Blue Jays win most of the faceoffs against Duke's Kevin Cassese (five of 15), one of the nation's best. Cassese and the Blue Devils had badly whipped Johns Hopkins in a spring scrimmage last year, and reminded the Blue Jays of the importance of faceoffs.

"It's good that we won the first couple of faceoffs, got our offense some possessions and in gear," Harrison said. "We knew faceoffs would be a key this week."

The shooting proved important also. Barrie scored off a number of quick dodges and shots near the cage. Peter LeSueur (four goals, two assists), Conor Ford (three goals, two assists), Adam Doneger (three goals, one assist) and Bobby Benson (three goals, one assist) did the same, repeatedly driving to the goal and hurting the Duke defense. Johns Hopkins also forced several penalties and scored five extra-man goals.

"We thought we had to get to the goal and [force] them to slide," Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. "Initially, they didn't want to slide. But I thought we played intelligently on offense today."

Pietramala also thought his defense played smartly. The Blue Jays converted 16 of 17 clears and rarely made mistakes that gave Duke scoring chances. Matt Rewkowski led the Blue Devils with four goals, but they got little help from anyone else as Hopkins' Rob Scherr had nine saves, six in the second half.

"We played way too much defense today," Duke coach Mike Pressler said. "Give Hopkins credit. They beat us in every phase of the game."

Duke 2 2 1 1 -- 6

Johns Hopkins 5 5 6 3 -- 19

Goals: D--Rewkowski 4, Zash, Hardaker; JH--Barrie 5, LeSueur 4, Ford 3, Doneger 3, Benson 3, McDermott. Assists: D--Brennan, Zash; JHU--Barrie 3, LeSueur 2, Ford 2, Harrison 2, Boland 2, Benson, Doneger. Saves: D--Kincel 16; JHU--Scherr 9, Smith 1.

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