Loyola turnovers fuel Hopkins' dash

Greyhounds falter after third-period surge

Jays head for postseason on 5-game run

No. 5 Johns Hopkins 12 No. 12 Loyola 9

May 06, 2007|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Reporter

The fifth-ranked Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team knew it was coming, and No. 12 Loyola delivered it in the form of a third-quarter surge yesterday that temporarily put the host Blue Jays on their heels.

But after falling behind briefly in the regular-season finale for both Charles Street rivals, Hopkins stayed calm, feasted on turnovers and its shooters did the rest, leaving the Greyhounds shaking their heads one more time in this lopsided series.

Behind junior midfielder Paul Rabil, senior attackman Jake Byrne and freshman attackman Steven Boyle, each of whom scored three goals, Hopkins pulled away to a 12-9 victory before 3,742 at Homewood Field.

Hopkins (9-4) completed senior day by winning its fifth straight to maintain its momentum heading into the postseason. The Blue Jays appear headed for a No. 4 seed - possibly a No. 3 - when the NCAA tournament bracket is unveiled tonight.

Loyola (7-5) thinks and hopes it has made its first postseason since 2001. Its credentials include a strong Rating Percentage Index and strength of schedule, plus a victory over No. 2 Duke nearly two months ago. But yesterday, after taking their only lead at 6-5 midway through the third quarter, the Greyhounds faded and lost a chance to host a first-round game.

"When you've got an opportunity like this, and you leave it out there, we deserve to be sitting on the edge of our seats [tonight]," said Charley Toomey, Loyola's second-year coach.

"There were times we played great lacrosse, for about 40 minutes. The other 20 killed us. We had an opportunity to come in and make a statement."

Instead, it was the Blue Jays who spoke up - again. For the eighth straight time, and the 42nd time in 45 meetings, Hopkins solved Loyola, whose upset hopes vanished in the face of 20 turnovers, an assortment of defensive breakdowns and failed clears, and those Hopkins shooters.

Byrne and Boyle got open early and helped stake the Blue Jays to a 4-1 lead after the first quarter, when the Blue Jays were nearly spotless. Loyola used two extra-man goals to pull to within 5-3 at halftime, then rallied against Hopkins behind senior midfielder Andrew Spack (three goals) and junior attackman Shane Koppens (two goals, three assists).

Spack ignited a 3-0 run to start the third quarter by sprinting 25 yards toward the goal and beating senior goalie Jesse Schwartzman, who acquitted himself well with 10 saves after being pulled early in Monday's 15-3 rout at Mount St. Mary's. Koppens completed the run with a fast-break 5-yard score that gave Loyola a 6-5 edge with 7:14 left in the third quarter.

"The feeling was relax, have faith in each other, no panic," Byrne said. "We've been down a couple of times, so we've learned how to cope with situations like that."

And just like that, the Blue Jays, who have come from behind four times during their winning streak, regained control for good, with some assistance from turnover-prone Loyola.

Rabil, who also had two assists, started and ended a decisive 6-1 run that knocked out the Greyhounds and sent starting goalie Alex Peaty (11 saves) to the bench. Rabil's running 10-yard shot into the lower left corner of the net tied the game at 6.

Junior midfielder Stephen Peyser then picked off a lazy pass at midfield and started a two-on-one break that Boyle finished in close with 3:46 left to give the Blue Jays a 7-6 lead.

After Byrne scored from 12 yards out, junior attackman Michael Doneger converted an extra-man chance and second midfielder Mark Bryan scored from seven yards away, Rabil burned Peaty with a 12-yarder on the left wing, making it 11-7 with 6:35 left in the game.

"We were there, and we let it slip away," Spack said.

Said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala: "To think [Loyola] wasn't going to make a run was crazy. I'm proud of the way we handled ourselves. It's a good win over a quality team we could see again."


L 1 2 3 3 - 9

JH 4 1 2 5 - 12

Goals: L--Spack 3, Koppens 2, Leonard 2, Bauers 2; JH--Rabil 3, Boyle 3, Byrne 3, Christopher, Doneger, Bryan. Assists: L--Koppens 3, Kennedy 2; JH--Peyser 2, Rabil 2, Boyle, Huntley, Kimmel. Saves: L--Peaty 11, Locke 1; JH--Schwartzman 10.

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