Closing run lifts Jays

No. 8 Hopkins finishes on 9-2 roll, foils Retrievers

Johns Hopkins 12 UMBC 7


Midway through the third quarter last night at Homewood Field, the Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team was searching for a shot of confidence and staring at a rare two-game losing streak, while local rival UMBC smelled a huge upset.

Then, it finally happened. The No. 8 Blue Jays, still smarting from Saturday's loss at home to Princeton and looking for a pulse on offense, came alive and left the 19th-ranked Retrievers in the dust.

Sophomore attackman Kevin Huntley scored a career-high five goals, junior attackman Jake Byrne added two goals and two assists, and both players were in the thick of an eight-goal fourth quarter that lifted the Blue Jays to a 12-7 victory.

The sighs of relief and affirmation were everywhere in the locker room of Hopkins (2-1). The defending national champions, who have never lost to UMBC (2-1) in four tries, came perilously close to their first 1-2 start and first two-game slide under six-year coach Dave Pietramala.

One blistering run took care of that problem. After the Retrievers, behind a career-high four goals from senior midfielder James Hyland, capitalized on some sloppy Hopkins offense early and took a 5-3 lead with 7:51 left in the third quarter, the Blue Jays awakened.

First, they ran off five unanswered scores, including four in a three-minute span early in the fourth period. Then, after Hyland scored his last goal to cut the lead to 8-7 with 9:31 left, Hopkins put away UMBC with four more scores - three by Huntley - to complete a game-ending, 9-2 run.

"I think they put so much pressure on themselves to live up to their expectations, and we played like that [for a while]. We were tight," Pietramala said. "We learned the world didn't end because we lost to a good team. Now we can put that loss behind us. Once we got one, two and another [score], it was like we had forgotten who we were and now, we remember."

Before last night's victory, the Blue Jays had managed nine goals in their past seven quarters, and things did not start smoothly against UMBC.

Hopkins ran into a hot goalie in Retrievers freshman Jeremy Blevins (12 saves), shot poorly in the first half and committed five first-quarter turnovers. UMBC sophomore midfielder Terry Kimener (three assists) kept finding Hyland open up top, and the senior from St. Mary's made the Blue Jays pay as UMBC took a 3-2 halftime lead, then put the Blue Jays on the ropes.

Once sophomore attackman Michael Doneger scored an extra-man goal to pull Hopkins within 5-4 late in the third period, the Blue Jays were igniting. Huntley scooped up a loose ball after a Blevins save and evened the score 29 seconds into the fourth quarter, Hopkins won the next three faceoffs and scored, and suddenly, it was 8-5 with 11:33 to go.

"I was trying to make a little too much happen. I sort of wasn't letting the game come to me," said Huntley, who added an assist and won a good battle with Retrievers defenseman Justin Berdeguez.

"I'm disappointed in the fourth quarter," said UMBC coach Don Zimmerman, who failed for the second straight year to pull off an upset at Homewood, where he coached the Blue Jays to three national titles in the 1980s. "I think we came unraveled. We have to understand a few things as far as sticking with the game plan and keeping our composure."

UMBC 1 2 2 2 - 7

Johns Hopkins

1 1 2 8 - 12

Goals: UMBC- Hyland 4, Kimener, Gallagher, Kay; JH-Huntley 5, Byrne 2, Peyser, Rabil, Drabowski, Doneger, O'Neill. Assists: UMBC-Kimener 3, Mundorf; JH-Huntley 2, Rabil 2, Stanwick Evans, Byrne, .Saves: UMBC- Blevins 12; JH-Schwartzman 7.

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