No. 9 Hopkins men roll to 18-5 rout of No. 20 Delaware

February 22, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

NEWARK, Del. — — The Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team took all the suspense out of a potential thriller.

Taking advantage of an opportunistic offense and a scintillating performance by goalkeeper Pierce Bassett, the No. 9 Blue Jays scored the game's first three goals and then eight in the third quarter to cruise to an 18-5 rout of No. 20 Delaware before 1,501 at Delaware Stadium Tuesday.

Johns Hopkins tagged the Blue Hens with their first loss in four games and improved to 2-0 behind multi-point efforts from its starting attack of seniors Chris Boland and Kyle Wharton and sophomore Zach Palmer.

Palmer achieved career highs in goals (four) and points (seven), while Wharton registered his second straight hat trick and an assist, and Boland compiled two goals and two assists.

For Palmer, the Blue Jays' quick starts in the first and third quarter were reminiscent of the team's showing in a 10-6 win over Towson in the season opener last Saturday.

"We did the same thing in the Towson game," Palmer said. "We got into a lead, which is nice to play with because then our defense can kind of relax. But the attack's been playing well, and everything's working well right now."

Early in the contest, Delaware tried to put a clamp on the Blue Jays' attack by sagging the defense towards the cage and senior goalie Noah Fossner.

But that strategy allowed midfielders such as sophomore John Ranagan (three assists) and freshman Rob Guida (two goals) to sprint from the top of the box and either take open shots from the alleys or find teammates for higher-percentage opportunities.

After Johns Hopkins took a 6-1 lead into halftime, the Blue Hens took more chances, which opened the door for the attack to contribute. That unit scored seven of the team's eight goals in the third quarter.

The eight goals were the most the Blue jays scored in a quarter since they scored eight in the second quarter against Marist in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2005.

Johns Hopkins also got a lift from Bassett, who made 11 saves. The sophomore was particularly strong in the first half, when he turned away eight shots as Delaware seemed intent on testing the 6-foot-3 Bassett's ability to stop low shots.

"If you watch Delaware on film, they are not shy," Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said. "They are going to shoot the ball, and they are going to generate shots. But we felt like if we did our jobs, they might take the first available shot and not necessarily the best one. And we did a good job of forcing them to their weak hands."

The Blue Hens, who were led by senior midfielder John Austin's two goals, absorbed their worst loss since an 18-4 drubbing by Towson in 2002.

"I thought we prepared well and had a good game plan, but we just didn't execute," coach Bob Shillinglaw told a group of reporters. "We lost some concentration at times tonight and missed out on some fundamentals, but it is still early in the year, and we must learn from this."

Notes: Johns Hopkins has won all eight meetings with Delaware, who had a seven-game winning streak ended by the loss. … The Blue Jays converted 18 of 38 shots for a .474 percentage. They went 8-for-12 in the pivotal third quarter.

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