Sticking it to Hoyas

After blue start, Jays make a happy return

Hopkins routs Hoyas to reach its 27th semifinal

Johns Hopkins 14 Georgetown 6

May 20, 2007|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Reporter

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The first two quarters in yesterday's NCAA Division I men's lacrosse tournament quarterfinal started badly for Johns Hopkins.

First, Georgetown freshman midfielder Andrew Brancaccio opened the scoring with a 12-yard shot he blew by Hopkins goalie Jesse Schwartzman. Then, after the Blue Jays answered with a three-goal run, junior attackman Kevin Huntley was penalized for a stick violation, leaving Hopkins a man down on defense for the first three minutes of the second quarter.

Then, starting with Huntley, No. 3 seed Hopkins answered, and answered, and answered. And by the time the Blue Jays had carved up the sixth-seeded Hoyas with a 14-6 rout before 8,123 at Princeton Stadium, Hopkins was back where it needed to be, while Georgetown was wondering when, if and when it ever will get there again.

After Huntley responded to his foul by matching his career high with five goals, and after Schwartzman awakened and went on to record 15 saves behind a stifling defensive effort, the Blue Jays were going back to the final four.

On Saturday, Hopkins will make its 27th appearance in the national semifinals, and its fifth in the past six seasons, when it faces the winner of today's UMBC-Delaware quarterfinal at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The Hoyas lost in the quarterfinals for the sixth straight year, and are still trying to reach the semifinal round they made for the first time in 1999.

"As a lacrosse player, the worst thing in the world is being home on Memorial Day. Last year was the first time we experienced that. It [stunk]," said Schwartzman, the senior who was the MVP of the final four in 2005, when Hopkins won its eighth NCAA title. "We stepped up today."

The Blue Jays (11-4) won their seventh straight game by stepping on the Hoyas (12-3) in every way.

"While we didn't play great the whole game, I thought it was the first time [this year] we played for 60 minutes," said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, whose otherwise pleasant afternoon was interrupted only by Huntley's illegal stick incident.

"What I said [on the sideline] isn't printable. I was upset about it, because we talked all week about being disciplined. But I was awfully proud of the way [Huntley] answered the bell."

Huntley, who has been frustrated for much of the year with his lack of scoring, unloaded.

After his temporary replacement, sophomore Tom Duerr, followed Hopkins' stellar three-minute, man-down display with a goal to make it 4-1, Huntley re-entered and scored his first two goals later in the second quarter to put the Blue Jays on top 6-1 at halftime. Then, he poured in two more to help push Hopkins to a 10-3 advantage after three periods.

"It was a lot of weight off my chest, especially because I was kind of in the doghouse. It gave our team a lot of momentum," said Huntley, who added he has never been called for an illegal stick after numerous checks this year.

"I think the ball moved today in our offensive end as well as it has all year."

Hopkins feasted on turnovers and scored in transition, zipped the ball around crisply in its settled attack, and pounded Georgetown goalie Miles Kass (six saves) with 14-for-34 shooting. Junior midfielder Paul Rabil (three assists), Hopkins' leading scorer, did not have a goal. It did not matter.

The defense, starting with sophomore defenseman Michael Evans' blanking of junior attackman Brendan Cannon - the Hoyas' leading scorer was shut out for the first time in 34 games - held the Georgetown attack without a point. Georgetown also went 0-for-5 in extra-man chances.

When it was over, the Hoyas' eight-game winning streak had been broken, and another postseason dream had died. Georgetown has lost in the quarterfinals in seven of the past eight years.

"I don't get hung up on this quarterfinals thing as much as you guys do. To me, the glass is always half-full," Georgetown coach Dave Urick said.

"There are only a few teams still playing. We're a tournament-caliber team. We're going to keep banging on the door and we're going to knock it down one of these days."

NOTE -- As of early yesterday, 43,268 all-session tickets had been sold for next weekend's Division I final four and the Division II and III championship games at M&T Bank Stadium. Single-game tickets go on sale Friday.

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

Georgetown 1 0 2 3 - 6

Johns Hopkins 3 3 4 4 - 14

Goals: G- Bauer, Brancaccio, Casey, Molinari, Still, Wilson; JH-Huntley 5, Byrne 2, Kimmel 2, Bryan, Christopher, Duerr, Miller, Peyser. Assists: G-Casey; JH-Rabil 3, Castle, Christopher, Huntley, Zerrlaut. Saves: G-Kass 6, Davis; JH-Schwartzman 15, Gvozden.

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