Faceoff By Gary Lambrecht

The Kickoff

April 17, 2007|By GARY LAMBRECHT

Coaches don't celebrate victories. They merely breathe in, consider the painful alternative, and exhale with far more relief than joy.

So it was with Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse coach Dave Pietramala. Minutes after the 10th-ranked Blue Jays may have salvaged their season Saturday night with a dramatic 8-7 overtime victory at No. 7 Maryland, Pietramala sat outside the raucous Hopkins locker room, looking as if he had just had a root canal.

"Winning doesn't make coaches happy. We're relieved when we win. We enjoy it for about an hour," said Pietramala, who had not tasted victory since March 17. "The losses kill you. They stay with you."

Not since 1990 had the Blue Jays (5-4) lost three in a row. Saturday, after a game-winning shot by junior midfielder Paul Rabil, Hopkins not only avoided its first, four-game slide in 17 years, but it also earned its second win of the season over a Top 10 opponent.

Both of them have come in overtime - a 7-6, double-overtime victory over Princeton is the other -- and both have been won by Rabil. Unless the Blue Jays slip up badly and finish the regular season with a losing record, they will go to their 36th consecutive NCAA tournament.

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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