No. 1 J. Hopkins ties up loose ends by tripping Loyola

After 11-7 win, real game is on: NCAA tournament

College Lacrosse

May 09, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

The dress rehearsal is now officially over for the Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team.

After more than two months of talks from Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala about staying focused, after countless lectures about improving each week before the stakes get significantly higher in late May, Johns Hopkins can now concentrate on its ultimate goal.

Not long after the top-ranked Blue Jays concluded their regular season yesterday with a less-than-inspiring 11-7 victory over Loyola before 2,157 at Geppi-Aikens Field, the Hopkins players expressed relief that the NCAA tournament has finally arrived.

"The playoffs are what we've been waiting for," said Blue Jays junior defenseman Chris Watson. "We've been building for it every week."

Barring a major surprise, the Blue Jays (11-1) will begin their quest for the program's first national championship since 1987 next weekend at Homewood Field as the tournament's No. 1 seed. The 16-team field will be unveiled tomorrow afternoon.

"The tournament is do-or-die," said senior Kevin Boland who had three assists yesterday to give him 75 for his career, tying Del Dressel (1984-87) for the most by a Blue Jays midfielder. "We have to keep winning and hope that we're playing our best lacrosse at this point of the season. I think we are, and hopefully we can make a run at this thing."

At times yesterday, the Blue Jays did appear to have their focus elsewhere than on Loyola, which was concluding its worst season (4-8) since 1975 and has known for weeks that a third straight campaign will end without a tournament invite.

Blue Jays senior Conor Ford scored three goals - and now has 34 for the season - to go along with an assist, and midfielders Kyle Harrison and Greg Peyser finished with three points each. All of Ford's four points came in the first half as the Blue Jays headed into the locker room leading 7-1.

"I was pleased with the way we played in the first half, but I think we got a little too comfortable," Pietramala said. "In the second half, we made a lot of bad decisions, but I thought Loyola showed a lot of fight and a lot of character."

The score stayed remotely close largely because of Greyhounds sophomore goalie Mike Fretwell, who made 13 saves. Loyola, which honored its seniors before the game, cut the Blue Jays' lead to 9-5 with three straight goals to start the fourth quarter.

While Hopkins was looking ahead to next week, Loyola coach Bill Dirrigl's focus was on next season. The Greyhounds got five of their seven goals and seven of their 11 points yesterday from freshmen.

"I think we're coming," said Dirrigl, who started three freshmen and two sophomores yesterday. "Hopefully, what happens now at Loyola College is we don't have to start another freshman for as long as I'm the coach."

Johns Hopkins 4 3 2 2 - 11

Loyola 0 1 1 5 - 7

Goals: JHU-Ford 3, Harrison 2, Barrie 2, Rewkowski 2, Peyser, Dowd; L-Brundage, Kennedy, J. Rabidou, Leonard, Landry, Ferreira, Shek. Assists: JHU-Boland 3, Peyser 2, Ford, Harrison; L-Brundage, Einhorn, Kennedy, J. Rabidou. Saves: JHU-Smith 7; L-Fretwell 13.

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