Men's college lacrosse continued to be turned upside down yesterday when unranked Albany registered the most significant victory of its eight-year Division I history, shocking No. 2 Johns Hopkins, 8-7, at Homewood Field in the season opener for both teams.
In the early season, Syracuse, Virginia and now Hopkins - all traditional powers and ranked at or near the top of the various polls -already have been upset by more lightly regarded opponents.
Syracuse lost to Army on Friday, and Virginia opened its season with a loss to Drexel last Sunday.
"It means that all of the so-called teams that think they're the big fellas need to understand that there are a lot of good teams around," Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said of that trend.
Said Blue Jays goalie Jesse Schwartzman (Pikesville): "There is some parity now in college lacrosse. There are no more easy wins. We didn't underestimate Albany because every year they've been getting closer to us. They finally got one."
It was the first victory in six tries against Hopkins for Albany, coached by Scott Marr, a teammate of Pietramala's on the Blue Jays' 1987 NCAA championship team. And it didn't come easily.
Albany streaked to a 5-0 lead in the first 21:45, then watched it all evaporate and then some. Hopkins responded with seven consecutive goals - all by different players - and appeared to have order restored by the first few minutes of the fourth quarter when Michael Doneger scored to cap that surge.
But the final five minutes were a nightmare for the Blue Jays, who had captured five consecutive season openers and were returning more than 90 percent of their scoring power from last year.
Steve Ammann brought the Great Danes within one with 4:46 left on an unassisted score, then just 41 seconds later, John Alpizar tied the game at 7.
Dan Barnes was dominating the late faceoffs for Albany, and he won another with less than four minutes to play to set up the fourth goal of the game by Frank Resetarits, who led the nation last season in average points per game (4.27).
"Alpizar had just scored and they were watching him," Resetarits said. "He made a great dodge and got me the ball."
Hopkins had several chances to tie in the waning seconds.
"[Kevin] Huntley had an open look and [Steven] Boyle had a layup, but we couldn't get it done," Pietramala said. "Their veterans made the plays when they had to and we made some bad decisions at the offensive end and in the middle of the field."
Because its field is covered with snow, Albany had been in Baltimore since Tuesday and practiced on the game field, courtesy of Hopkins.
"We really bonded as a squad being down here three or four days," Albany goalkeeper Brett Queener said. "We thought we would be able to play with them. This is probably the biggest win in program history."
Said Resetarits: "This is the greatest feeling of my life. I'm just at a loss for words. It really helped to get down here, get our legs under us and get the jitters out from playing in such a prestigious place."
Marr summed up the victory, saying: "Obviously in our short existence, it doesn't get any bigger than this. To beat the most storied program in history is something."
Albany 2 3 0 3 - 8
Johns Hopkins 0 3 3 1 - 7
Goals: A--Resetarits 4, M. Ammann, Alpizar, Thomson, Green; JH-Boyle, Kimmel, Byrne, Huntley, Bryan, Doneger, Dabrowski Assists: A-Alpizar, M. Ammann, S. Ammann, Dale, Small; JH-Boyle, Duerr, Kimmel. Saves: A-Queener 4, McKeon 2; JH- Schwartman 4. Att.: 1,760.