At times during Saturday night’s game, No. 5 Johns Hopkins elected to defend No. 10 Maryland by poling two of the three starting midfielders in senior Drew Snider and junior John Haus. The intent was to force redshirt sophomore midfielder Mike Chanenchuk and junior attackman Billy Gribbin to dodge and initiate the offense.
The Terps countered by replacing Gribbin with junior Kevin Cooper, and the move worked as he recorded a season-high two goals and added an assist in a 9-6 victory over the Blue Jays at Homewood Field in Baltimore.
The Crofton native and Archbishop Spalding graduate had played primarily on the second midfield, but switched to the attack Saturday night, working behind the cage. It was a shift he was familiar with.
“Yeah, I was doing a little bit more from behind,” he said. “I’ve played attack almost my whole life. So I’m comfortable back there. If you get a shorty, you like to go behind like that.”
Junior attackman Owen Blye headlined Maryland’s comeback with all four of his goals occurring during the team’s six-goal run, but Cooper was nearly as pivotal. He assisted on senior midfielder Michael Shakespeare’s tally with 17.2 seconds left in the third quarter and capping the spurt with a goal with 2:31 remaining in regulation.
Cooper said he had to adjust his usual perspective from the top of the box.
“Obviously, it’s different behind the cage,” he said. “You can’t always score. I like to use my vision. So it’s a little bit of an adjustment, but all of our players are really versatile and all of our players can dodge from up top or dodge from behind.”