No. 1 Hopkins leaves Syracuse with no chance, 17-5

Jays rule faceoffs, all else to crush No. 3 Orangemen

March 21, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

The question was posed several times following Johns Hopkins' resounding 17-5 men's lacrosse victory yesterday over No. 3 Syracuse.

Are the top-ranked Blue Jays that good, or did Syracuse just play that poorly?

Syracuse coach John Desko said it was the former.

"They have a great plan offensively, good team defense, and when their goalie plays like that, you can't beat them," said Desko.

Dominating in all facets - most notably in the faceoff circle - the Blue Jays (5-0) scored 13 of 14 goals at one point, taking apart the Orangemen (3-1) before 6,519 at sunny Homewood Field.

It was the most lopsided defeat for Syracuse since a 19-6 loss to Cornell in 1987. It was also the fewest goals for a Syracuse team since North Carolina held the Orangemen to three in 1991.

"The three factors we had to worry about were going to be our goaltending play, our special teams and our faceoffs, and I think we won the battle in all three areas," said Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala.

The game was reminiscent of the last meeting between the two teams, when Hopkins erased a halftime deficit and ran off 13 of 14 goals to beat the Orangemen, 19-8, in last year's NCAA semifinals.

That run, like yesterday's, was fueled by work in the faceoff circle.

Desko tried five different players on faceoffs, and his most successful option - Geoff Keough-won three of seven.

Using four different players, the Blue Jays won 20 of 24 faceoffs, including 10 of 13 in the decisive first half, after which the home team had a 10-3 lead.

Blue Jays junior midfielder Kyle Harrison controlled 10 of 11 faceoffs and contributed to Hopkins' 47-28 domination on ground balls.

"It was tough just standing there at the midline, watching them play offense the whole time," said Syracuse senior attackman Brian Nee, a Boys' Latin grad who had two goals and an assist.

Tom Garvey and a quick-sliding Blue Jays defense held Syracuse's three-time All-American attackman Michael Powell scoreless for the second time in his career.

Johns Hopkins outshot Syracuse 50-23.

"Ultimately, your best defense is your offense and your faceoff guy," said Pietramala, who admitted the Orangemen offense, which was averaging 18.7 goals per game, kept him up a few nights this week.

Nee's two straight goals cut the Hopkins lead to 3-2 to close the first quarter. However, that was followed by seven straight goals and 13 of the next 14 by the Blue Jays, whose lead grew to 16-3 early in the fourth.

Attackman Conor Ford had three of the those goals, and Kyle Barrie, Greg Peyser and Kyle Dowd added two each. Kevin Boland also had a goal and three of his four assists during that run.

All that was left was for goalie Scott Smith to leave his imprint on the game, and what better way to do that than to stop Powell twice in the second half on one-on-one opportunities?

On the second, Smith (10 saves) sprawled out and made a beautiful kick save.

"Basically, you just guess and you hope for a little luck," said Smith. "Nine times out of 10, I'm sure he'd stick that. But today was our day."

Syracuse 2 1 0 2 - 5

Johns Hopkins 3 7 4 3 - 17

Goals: S-Nee 2, Crockett, Dougherty, Zink; JHU-Ford 4, Barrie 3, Peyser 2, Rewkowski 2, Dowd 2, Byrne 2, Boland, Harrison. Assists: S-Crockett 2, Nee, Lykudis; JHU-Boland 4, LeSueur 2, Peyser 2, Rewkowski, Dowd, Ford. Saves: S-Pfeifer 8, Donatelli 6; JHU-Smith 10, Schwartzman 3.

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