Hopkins rallies to beat Hofstra, 12-5

Blue Jays stutter at start but dominate second half to move to second round of NCAA tournament

  • Hopkins' Chris Boland (32) celebrates with Kyle Wharton after Wharton scored the Blue Jays' sixth goal on Hofstra's Andrew Gvozden (left).
Hopkins' Chris Boland (32) celebrates with Kyle Wharton… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
May 14, 2011|By Rich Scherr | Special to The Baltimore Sun

Facing a team with similar styles on offense and defense, Johns Hopkins on Saturday didn't need to look beyond the faceoff circle to find its difference-maker in the opening round of the NCAA tounament.

"In the end it was about one stat — faceoffs," coach Dave Pietramala said.

Senior Matt Dolente won 13 of 20 in the circle, including five of six during a third quarter in which Hopkins took command of the game, as the Blue Jays broke a halftime deadlock by dominating Hofstra the rest of the way in a 12-5 win before an announced 1,737 at Homewood Field.

"When you look at Hofstra and Hopkins, you're almost looking at the mirror image of each other," Pietramala said. "The team that had the ball was the team that was going to have the opportunity to win this game."

The third-seeded Blue Jays advance to next Saturday's quarterfinals at Hofstra, where they will face the winner of Sunday's game between sixth-seeded Denver and Villanova. They return to the quarterfinals for the 20th time in 21 years, after last season having their 19-year streak snapped by eventual national champion Duke.

Hopkins (13-2), which now has won eight straight, broke open a tie game by scoring eight of nine goals in the second half. Seniors Kyle Wharton (three goals, one assist) and Chris Boland (two, three) led an offense that, at times, simply overwhelmed Hofstra goalie Andrew Gvozden.

Gvozden, who entered the day leading the nation in goals against average and ranked second in save percentage, went without a save for the entire second and third quarters, while allowing eight goals.

Much of the credit went to the play of Dolente, who spent most of the afternoon matched up with Hofstra's John Antoniades, a sophomore who had won 66 percent of his faceoffs on the season. Antoniades finished just 4-for-14 on the day.

"We started to throw different guys at him and different looks," Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said. "I don't remember an elongated possession in the second half for us, and a lot has to do with their No. 4 making sure that they had the ball. It's tough to score goals when the ball is down at the other end. Then our defense got tired."

Dolente said he simply tried to stay loose, making adjustments throughout the game based on the officials' calls.

"I was hearing the whistle well and felt like I was getting a good jump on the ball," he said.

Hofstra (13-3) now has lost in the first round for four straight years. Early, it seemed as if the unseeded Pride was primed for the upset.

On the game's opening faceoff, Antoniades beat Dolente, raced down the center of the field and fired a low scorcher that deflected off the stick of goalie Pierce Bassett and into the net.

Total elapsed time: 6 seconds.

Minutes later, Hofstra extended the lead to 2-0 when Jamie Lincoln found fellow attackman Jay Card cutting to the middle, and Card scored from about 12 yards in front.

After going scoreless for the first 17:51, however, the Blue Jays began to turn the tide. Boland (Boys' Latin) began a four-goal run by scoring just outside the crease on the left side.

Hopkins tied it just 26 seconds later, when midfielder Phil Castronova (Calvert Hall) forced a turnover near midfield, scooped the ball and raced down the middle for a fast-break goal.

When teammate John Greeley spun on his defender and scored from 15-yards out, Hopkins had taken its first lead, 3-2, with three goals in 2:14.

Up 5-4 arly in the third, Hopkins then got a major boost when Bassett stuffed Hofstra's Jamie Lincoln on what amounted to a slam dunk just outside the crease. The Blue Jays then took full advantage when Wharton quickly scored on the other end.

From there, the rout was on.

"I thought our guys did a good job in the second half," Pietramala said. "We played loose, we played excited and I thought we played the way we were capable. We were able to get in a bit of a rhythm"

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