The Jays have it

May 30, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way to the Blue Devils' storybook ending. Somebody forgot to tell the Johns Hopkins University men's lacrosse team. The Blue Jays beat the Duke University squad 12-11 before a title-game record crowd at M&T Bank Stadium on Monday and made clear that when it comes to championship lacrosse, Hopkins reigns supreme.

For a while, it seemed as though the game might not even be that closely contested. The Blue Jays dominated the Blue Devils in the first half to build a six-goal lead. Duke's 5-0 run in the third quarter changed all that, and the 48,443 spectators were on the edge of their seats until the very end. Hopkins attackman Kevin Huntley may have scored the winning goal in the final minutes, but fans will likely remember the 15 saves by goalie Jesse Schwartzman, including a heart-pounding five in the fourth quarter.

No Division I school has won as many NCAA lacrosse championships as Hopkins, yet somehow that was largely ignored in all the pre-game fixation on Duke's lost 2006 season and the three players who were accused of rape but eventually declared innocent. As remarkable as Duke's comeback was, Hopkins was still Hopkins. The team might not have been quite as dominant as Coach Dave Pietramala's undefeated 2005 squad, but the outcome was just the same.

A doff of the helmet as well to the Sea Gulls of Salisbury University, who defeated SUNY Cortland to win their fourth Division III men's lacrosse title in the past five years. Maryland's pre-eminence in lacrosse is something for which the state should be justifiably proud.

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