Jays return to quarterfinals

Nine players score in rout of Quakers

Johns Hopkins 13 Pennsylvania 3

May 14, 2006|By PAUL MCMULLEN | PAUL MCMULLEN,SUN REPORTER

The Preakness isn't Baltimore's only sports custom on the weekend before Memorial Day, as Johns Hopkins will play in the quarterfinals of the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament for the 34th time in 35 years.

That rite of spring came courtesy of yesterday's 13-3 dismantling of Pennsylvania before 1,964 at Homewood Field, where goalie Jesse Schwartzman (10 saves) stifled the Quakers, nine Blue Jays scored and coach Dave Pietramala's team enjoyed its most efficient clearing game of an occasionally shaky season.

Hopkins (9-4) moves on to Saturday's quarterfinals, against the winner of today's Harvard-Syracuse game. A win at Stony Brook on Long Island would return the defending - albeit rebuilt - NCAA champions to the Final Four in Philadelphia.

Penn (10-4) slowed the pace and kept it close in the first half, but had only one goal in the second half. While the fourth-seeded Blue Jays have been here before, the Quakers looked very much like a team that last won an NCAA tournament game in 1988.

The first-round game matched teams on considerably different late-season arcs.

Under Baltimore native Brian Voelker, a former Hopkins player, assistant coach and still a good friend of the Blue Jays' staff, Penn went 4-2 in the Ivy League for the first time since 1989. It had lost three of its past seven, however, and its only game in the previous 19 days had been a 12-4 loss at Maryland.

Fighting for its playoff life a month ago, Hopkins continued the momentum it built in one-goal wins over Navy, Towson and Loyola.

"We ran into a team that's starting to put things together," Voelker said.

The three goals were the fewest allowed by Hopkins since a 15-3 first-round pounding of Providence in 2004. After scoring five times in the regular season, freshman attackman Tom Duerr came off the bench and got a game-high three goals. The Blue Jays lost the faceoff battle, but they quickly converted the opening draw in the second, third and fourth quarters.

The second-half faceoff figured in a pivotal 17-second span.

With Penn holding the ball in a first half that took just 40 minutes, Hopkins clung to a 3-2 lead until Kevin Huntley scored off an assist from Greg Peyser nine seconds before halftime. To start the third quarter, Paul Rabil won control off the wing, fed Drew Dabrowski for a 5-2 lead, and the Blue Jays never looked back.

"Both of those [goals] came in transition," said Rabil, a big sophomore midfielder out of DeMatha who had two goals and two assists. "We spend time in practice working on those scenarios, and we were fortunate to capitalize."

It unraveled into a rout in the fourth quarter, when five Blue Jays scored and the Quakers never took a shot that required a save. While Peyser apologized to his teammates for his subpar faceoff work, Pietramala was thrilled to see Hopkins succeed on 19 of 20 clears, where the Blue Jays came back to the ball better and stopped obsessing about their previous woes.

"We've been ridiculous, a horror show," Pietramala said, "but guys bought into what we wanted to do, so we didn't have to defend second and third chances like we have all year."

The Blue Jays are 15-2 in May since 2002, but that resume was built without rookies like Brian Christopher, the first freshman midfielder to score in 10 straight games for Hopkins since at least 1980.

"It's been a struggle," Pietramala said, "but I think we're beginning to find out who we are."

paul.mcmullen@baltsun.com

Hank Nathan contributed to this article.

Pennsylvania 0 2 1 0 - 3

Johns Hopkins 2 2 3 6 - 13

Goals: P-Andrzejewski 2, Rogers; JH-Duerr 3, Rabil 2, Huntley 2, S. Peyser, Byrne, Doneger, Christopher, Dabrowski, Stanwick. Assists: P-Andrzejewski 2; JH-G. Peyser 3, Koesterer 2, Rabil 2, S. Peyser. Saves: P-Klossner 9; JH-Schwartzman 10; Locey. A: 1,964.

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