No. 1 Cavs top Blue Jays

`D' keeps No. 10 Hopkins in check

Va. runs record to 9-0

Virginia 12 Johns Hopkins 6

March 26, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Although the final score might indicate otherwise, a youthful Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team came to Klockner Stadium yesterday and played some fine defense against the most explosive team in the country. Trouble was the top-ranked, unbeaten Virginia Cavaliers proved they are more than just a scoring machine.

Virginia took an early cue from its young, athletic defense, which did much to silence the No. 10 Blue Jays. And after struggling early, the Cavaliers' array of good shooters gradually broke through Hopkins junior goalie Jesse Schwartzman.

In the end, Hopkins could not overcome a stifling scoring drought, as the Blue Jays dropped a 12-6 decision before 7,440, an attendance record for a lacrosse game at Klockner.

For the third time this season, Hopkins (3-3) failed to record a two-game winning streak, while Virginia (9-0) extended the best start in school history with relative ease. The Blue Jays, who have lost their past four games in Charlottesville by a combined 21 goals and have lost as many regular-season contests as they surrendered in the previous four years combined, fell behind after one period and never awakened.

Virginia was quicker to the ball, grabbing 40 ground balls to the Blue Jays' 22. Ten different players scored for the Cavaliers, who were not exactly on their game offensively. But Virginia's defense, led by senior Michael Culver, junior Ricky Smith and freshmen Mike Timms and Matt Kelly, did a number on Hopkins, which whiffed on four of five extra-man chances, rarely got great looks at the net, and could not hang on to the ball.

"We played a ton of defense, and there were times when we played some darn good defense," Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. "But between our midline and offensive box, we'd throw a bad pass or get checked from behind. Some turnovers were forced, some were unnecessary. The bottom line is you just can't have them. What you saw today was a work in progress. They beat us."

The Blue Jays, who start two seniors, hit the mute button on offense and got stuck. Hopkins went 38 minutes without scoring. During that span, Virginia turned a 2-2 first-quarter tie into a 7-2 lead at the end of the third quarter. Not even a great first half by Schwartzman, who had eight of his 13 saves in the first quarter, could stunt Virginia's confidence for long.

The Cavaliers, who were led by sophomore attackman Ben Rubeor (Loyola) and freshman attackman Danny Glading -- they had two goals each -- stretched the lead to 11-3 with 4:34 left.

Sophomore attackman Michael Doneger led Hopkins with three goals, but they came after the issue had been decided. Sophomore attackman Kevin Huntley and sophomore midfielder Paul Rabil each scored a first-quarter goal. Junior attackman Jake Byrne had one assist and took just one shot. Senior midfielder Greg Peyser had two assists but did not score a goal.

Huntley, Rabil, Byrne and Peyser, the team's top four scorers, took a total of four shots on goal.

"I thought we picked up where we left off against Syracuse," said Rabil, alluding to last week's 14-9 win over the Orange. "We were rolling a little bit [early]. Then [Virginia] started to take over. They were beating us to ground balls and knocking us off our game. When you don't have many touches or possessions, you can't get anything."

The Cavaliers controlled possession time by winning 11 of 20 faceoffs, and by hounding the Hopkins offense with good checking and physical play to force many of the Blue Jays' 16 turnovers. Virginia extended its defensive pressure to great effect, and owned the middle of the field with its athleticism.

Culver, who spent most of the day covering Huntley, symbolized an unheralded defense that gets lost in the shadow of an offense that averaged an NCAA-best 15.4 goals before yesterday.

In addition to his strong defensive work, Culver followed a man-down save by Virginia junior goalie Kip Turner (seven saves) by running more than half the field, before ripping a shot off Schwartzman. It tricked into the goal, giving the Cavaliers a 6-2 lead with 6:10 left in the third quarter.

"We put the ball on the ground a bunch, we sat down and played defense when we had to, and we controlled a couple of high-powered scorers," Culver said.

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

Johns Hopkins 2 0 0 4 -- 6

Virginia 3 2 2 5 -- 12

Goals: JH--Doneger 3, Rabil, Christopher, Huntley; V--Glading 2, Rubeor 2, Ward, Thompson, Poskay, Riley, Dixon, Billings, Little, Culver. Assists: JH--Peyser 2, Byrne, Rabil; V--Ward 2, Gilbert, Poskay, Riley, Thompson. Saves: JH--Schwartzman 10; V--Turner 7. A--7,440.

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