Retrievers held at bay

Blue Jays withstand late rally, remain unbeaten all time against UMBC

No. 8 Johns Hopkins 14 No. 4 Umbc 11

March 04, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,

The UMBC men's lacrosse team has beaten 53 of the 54 Division I programs it has faced since moving from Division II play for the 1981 season.

Johns Hopkins remains the exception.

The No. 8 Blue Jays preserved their unique status by upending the No. 4 Retrievers, 14-11, in the seventh meeting between the teams before an announced 931 who braved below-freezing temperatures last night at UMBC Stadium.

Junior attackman Chris Boland and sophomore attackman Kyle Wharton each had two goals and two assists, but Johns Hopkins (2-1) was forced to withstand a furious fourth-quarter rally that fell just short.

"That's a very good team right there," said Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala, who also referred to his team's 14-8 loss to then-No. 19 Princeton on Saturday at the Konica Minolta Face-off Classic. "I questioned how hard we played last weekend. I questioned our effort, and I think the guys responded."

Junior attackman Steven Boyle and junior midfielder Michael Kimmel each scored three goals as Johns Hopkins ended UMBC's 15-game home winning streak. (The Retrievers' run had been the second longest in the nation behind Notre Dame's 20-game stretch.)

But after Johns Hopkins had taken a 13-6 lead on Kimmel's goal with 11:28 left in the fourth quarter, the Retrievers (3-1) scored five unanswered goals - two from senior midfielder Alex Hopmann - over a span of 7:35 before running out of steam.

"I thought in the fourth quarter we got tired, and they started pressing a bit," Pietramala said. "But this is a really good win for us."

The Blue Jays were able to build their cushion on the strength of the faceoff play of junior Michael Powers. After sophomore Michael Dolente was sidelined by an undisclosed injury in the first quarter, Powers won 17 of 24 faceoffs. Before last night, Powers had won just two of four faceoffs.

"Coach puts more pressure on us than anyone else can," Powers said. "When someone goes down, it's an opportunity for someone else. I just tried to do the best with my opportunity."

Another factor was the play of the defense, which - after surrendering nine of the first 10 goals against Princeton - held UMBC scoreless for 16:55 spanning the third and fourth quarters.

"The game plan was to make them use their off hand, and in the first three quarters, we did that," Johns Hopkins senior defenseman Michael Evans said. "Each game, we look at it as the biggest game of the year. Coming off the loss, we wanted to get a win, and it's good to get the win."

Hopmann scored a career-high four goals, and senior midfielder Peet Poillon posted two goals and two assists for the Retrievers.

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