The Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team was eager to get off to a good start for a change, and the fourth-ranked Blue Jays found an ideal mark in No. 19 UMBC last night.
Facing a youthful Retrievers squad playing its third game in four days, Hopkins wasted no time asserting its superiority at frigid UMBC Stadium. The Blue Jays scored the game's first eight goals, then cruised to a 15-6 rout before 1,427.
The veterans and the emerging stars took turns for Hopkins (2-1).
Freshman midfielder Michael Kimmel, coming off of a three-assist performance in a double-overtime win against Princeton on Saturday, led the Blue Jays with three goals. Freshman attackman Steven Boyle had one goal and a game-high three assists, after collecting a hat trick against Princeton.
Senior attackman Jake Byrne finished with two goals and two assists, and senior Stephen Peyser snapped out of a slump by scoring his first two goals of the season. He added an assist.
"We talked about needing to start quickly, because we haven't started quickly in our first two games," said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, who beat UMBC and his former Blue Jays coach, Don Zimmerman, for the third straight time.
"I was very pleased with the first half. I thought we got a little sloppy in the second half. In the big picture, you want to do everything right for 60 minutes. I thought the guys shared the ball tonight."
Nine of the Blue Jays' goals were assisted. Hopkins got open early and often and made 15 of 37 shots, including nine of 21 in the first half.
The Blue Jays weren't too shabby either at the defensive end, where they held UMBC (2-2) scoreless for the first 27:36.
Senior goalie Jesse Schwartzman (13 saves) made nine saves before the Retrievers got on the board with 2:23 left in the first half on an extra-man score by senior attackman Drew Westervelt, who led UMBC with three goals.
Hopkins, 5-0 against UMBC after playing on the Catonsville campus for the first time, led 9-2 at halftime.
The Retrievers lost their second straight under trying circumstances. UMBC traveled last weekend to the mile-high altitude of Denver, where it beat Air Force on Saturday, lost to No. 15 Denver on Sunday, then flew home early Monday morning and practiced Monday night.
"This was obviously a very stiff challenge, but that's why you come here to play lacrosse and measure yourself," Zimmerman said.
"Would I do it again? No. But we're never going to back away from playing a good team. At both ends of the field, Hopkins dominated. But our kids scrapped and didn't lose their composure."
The Blue Jays had not scored a goal in the first quarter before last night. They fixed that problem in a hurry, as the entire starting midfield unit, including junior All-American Paul Rabil, jumped on the scoreboard within the game's first seven minutes - and before UMBC had gotten off a shot.
Peyser broke an 0-for-9 slump by scoring the game's first goal on his first shot 52 seconds into the contest.
Kimmel followed with his first goal, then went on to score one in each of the next two quarters.
"It obviously starts with the attention that Paul gets," Peyser said. "[Kimmel] is an incredible athlete. He's got ridiculous speed and quickness, and he's a terrific lacrosse player."
Note -- With last night's win, Pietramala passed Zimmerman and moved into fourth place with his 74th victory as the Hopkins coach. Zimmerman won 73 games and three national championships at Hopkins in the 1980s.
Johns Hopkins 5 4 3 3 - 15
UMBC 0 2 2 2 - 6
Goals: J-Kimmel 3, Byrne 2, Peyser 2, Boyle, Rabil, Huntley, Dabrowski, Christopher, Bryan, Duerr, Castle. U-Westervelt 3, Ratcliffe 2, Gallagher. Assists: J-Boyle 3, Byrne 2, Dabrowski, Huntley, Peyser, Rabil. Saves: J-Schwartzman 13, Matthews 2. U-Blevins 12, Coker 0.