Hopkins men are no match for Princeton in 8-3 defeat

March 05, 2011|By Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

After opening the season with three easy wins, the No. 9 Johns Hopkins men jumped into the big league of lacrosse Saturday, and the Blue Jays found out they weren't ready.

No. 8 Princeton, paced by the four goals of freshman midfielder Tom Schreiber, led by five goals at the half, and easily defeated Hopkins, 8-3, before a crowd of nearly 4,000 at Homewood Field.

The Blue Jays (3-1) had beaten Towson, Delaware and Sienna, but they were outhustled and physically dominated by a Princeton team which had played poorly the week before in losing 11-9 to Hofstra.

Princeton (1-1) was ready to play. Johns Hopkins wasn't, and it showed in the all important statistic of ground balls, where the Tigers held a 38-21 advantage.

"Give Princeton credit, they played well and they outworked us," said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, whose team was trying to go 4-0 for the first time since 2005. "They had a 21-8 advantage in ground balls at halftime, and that disgust me.

"I've been saying in the last three weeks that we haven't been really tested. We won three games and put up a lot of points. That's great, but we didn't get it done today. We were outplayed today because we got comfortable."

The game was won at midfield, where Princeton was outstanding. The Blue Jays couldn't stop Schreiber, who is out of St. Anthony's High in East Meadow, N.Y. An excellent shooter, Schreiber had two goals in the second quarter, one with 14 seconds left that put the Tigers ahead 6-1 at the half.

Of interest was the Blue Jays' failure to put a long pole on Schreiber full time after he started to dominate the game.

"I was a little bit surprised that they didn't," said Schreiber. "I thought after last week they might, but I guess they didn't because my goals weren't off dodges."

Princeton also got great games from defensive midfielders Connor Reilly and Peter Smyth. Hopkins couldn't jump-start its offense from up top with dodges, and the Tigers were relentless in forcing turnovers.

"We take pride in that," Princeton coach Chris Bates said of his defensive middies. "It consist of a lot of hard work, grunt work, and teams like Hofstra and Hopkins go after your midfielders. They did the man's work today."

So did Princeton goalie Tyler Fiorito, the junior out of McDonogh High. He is a great luxury to have late in games with a big lead.

Any time Hopkins tried to gain some momentum, Fiorito came up with a big save. He finished with nine for the game and showed why he has some of the quickest hands in lacrosse. At one point, Princeton went 21 minutes without a goal, and the Blue Jays scored only once.

"I'm spoiled; we're spoiled," Bates said of Fiorito. "There is a sense of peace when you know you're not going to give up one easily. It says something when you come to Homewood Field and only give up three goals."

Pietramala wasn't concerned by his team's lack of scoring, but he was troubled by the lack of a sense of urgency and hustle, especially on ground balls. Hopkins, which was led by two goals from attackman Kyle Wharton, had 15 turnovers compared to eight for Princeton.

"Being young doesn't matte; we are who we are," said Pietramala. "We got to grow up fast because this is the big leagues. You're not going to get any excuses from me. Picking up a ground ball has nothing to do with being young. Come Monday in practice, everything will be off the ground. On Tuesday, everything will be off the ground, nothing through the air.

"Princeton played well, and we knew they were going to preach to their team all week that they couldn't go 0-2," said Pietramala. "We knew they were going to come in clawing, screaming, doing anything to win the game. I'm not sure based on the way we played we would have beaten anybody today."

mike.preston@baltsun.com

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