Hopkins ceases slide with OT win over UM

Rabil's goal seals victory in 103rd meeting of teams

No. 10 Johns Hopkins 8 No. 7 Maryland 7

April 15, 2007|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun reporter

COLLEGE PARK -- Nearly a month had passed since its last victory, and it nearly let another game slip away last night against its most storied rival.

But in danger of missing its first NCAA tournament in 36 seasons, the 10th-ranked Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team found a way to breathe new life into its season at the expense of No. 7 Maryland.

With 3:17 left in overtime, junior midfielder Paul Rabil sprinted down the left side, got a step on Maryland defenseman Ryan Clarke, and ripped a running, 12-yard shot into the upper right corner to lift the Blue Jays to an 8-7 victory before 5,121 at rainy Byrd Stadium.

The victory ended Hopkins' first three-game losing streak since 1990, and it sent a wave of joyous relief through the Blue Jays' locker room. With four regular-season games left, Hopkins (5-4) stands a good chance of making the postseason. The only time the Blue Jays have missed the NCAAs was their last losing season, in 1971, the tournament's inaugural year.

"We had a lot of motivation. We've heard a lot of people who have been doubting us and questioning the way we're doing things," said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, who earned his 100th coaching victory.

"When you raise the bar and have a lot of success, and something like [a three-game losing streak] happens to you, it's kind of unfamiliar territory. I think some character has been revealed. We're not out of the woods yet, but I'm happy for our kids."

The Blue Jays earned it, playing on a sloppy field against a hard-nosed Maryland (8-4) defense that put Hopkins shooters on their backs throughout the 103rd meeting between the teams.

Twice, Hopkins failed to hold two-goal leads, and its problematic, man-down defense gave up two goals to the Terrapins. The last one, a 10-yard shot by senior midfielder Chris Feifs - who had three goals for his first career hat trick - tied the score at 7 with 7:07 left in regulation.

But Hopkins persevered. Junior attackman Kevin Huntley broke out of a major scoring slump with his first hat trick of the year, and sophomores Austin Walker and Brian Christopher combined for three goals.

Walker, who entered the game with one career goal, scored twice.

But it was Rabil who emerged again as the overtime hero. Last month, his shot beat Princeton in double overtime.

"When you get an open shot, you just shoot it to a spot," said Rabil, who assisted Huntley twice in regulation and had missed five shots before converting for the game-winner. "You're not thinking. That's where practice comes in. We needed this. [Losing] is torture."

The game featured five ties and three lead changes, and Maryland had a chance to win it in overtime, after Clarke picked off a clearing pass. But midfielder Thomas Alford mishandled Clarke's pass inside, and the Terps lost possession.

Seconds later, Rabil ended the suspense.

"We did a great job defensively, and we had a chance to win this game. We're going to get better after this," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. "Our kids played with character tonight. They just didn't win."

Last night marked the third overtime game between Hopkins and Maryland in their past six meetings, and the fourth one-goal decision in the past seven.

Under Pietramala, Hopkins is 12-2 in overtime decisions and has won eight in a row.


For a blog about college and high school lacrosse, go to baltimoresun.com/faceoff

Johns Hopkins 1 3 2 1 1 - 8

Maryland 1 1 3 2 0 - 7

Goals: JH-Huntley 3, Walker 2, Rabil, Christopher, Byrne. M-Feifs 3, M. Pipps, Sear, Sieverts, Holmes. Assists: JH-Rabil 2, Boyle, Peyser; M-M. Phipps 2, Ritz 2. Saves: JH-Schwartzman 6. M-B. Phipps 8.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.