Johns Hopkins did what only Ohio State had done this season: limit Loyola to under 10 goals.
The No. 13 Blue Jays’ 10-9 overtime upset of the No. 1 Greyhounds was exemplified by the play of junior defenseman Tucker Durkin, who surrendered just one goal on six shots to junior attackman Mike Sawyer. Sawyer had entered the game as Loyola’s leader in both goals (40) and points (48).
With junior defenseman Chris Lightner allowing senior attackman Eric Lusby to score twice, Durkin and Lightner kept the duo of Sawyer and Lusby under their combined average of 7.6 points per game.
“Chris covering Lusby and me covering Sawyer, we don’t really look at it as a one-on-one,” said Durkin, who also collected four groundballs and caused one turnover. “We look at it as a challenge. Not a one-on-one challenge, but more of a team thing. Especially with those guys who are such good shooters, they’re off-ball and on-ball players. You really need seven guys on the same page to help each other out. So it’s not just me covering him. It’s really our entire defense because of how much movement they have on their offense. He plays inside, he plays outside. I’m going to be sliding. I’m not even on him a lot of times. It’s really just everyone kind of communicating, which was good today, and rotating correctly. … We did a great job taking away his right hand, and we would slide to him when he got a step. So I thought really more than anything, it was just a good team defensive effort to contain those two guys.”
Sawyer was complimentary of Durkin’s showing, saying, “He’s definitely a good defenseman. He played me pretty tight. I feel like I got a few opportunities in the game. Just couldn’t capitalize on them. But he’s definitely a good player.”
Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said the key to the defense’s effort was monitoring Sawyer and Lusby.
“What we did I thought was prepare really, really well,” he said. “And when you’ve got a guy like this [Durkin], I think he’s pretty special, and I’m not afraid to stand up and say that. You’ve got a fighting chance whenever you’ve got a guy like that. And I thought the rest of the group really knew how to get custody of Sawyer. Disappointed that Lusby got two, but that’s all he gets. We talked a lot about really getting custody of those guys coming off of picks, and I thought we did a good job defensively of that today. There were some times when we just didn’t rotate on a break. We let the pole shoot it, we must’ve let [junior short-stick defensive midfielder Josh Hawkins] shoot it two or three times, and it was going to be someone else beating us. It wasn’t going to be [Sawyer] and [Lusby]. So if there was a game plan, that was it. [Sawyer] and [Lusby] were not beating us.”
For his part, Sawyer vowed to turn Saturday’s matchup with Durkin into a learning tool for the future.
“You’ve got to be patient, you’ve got to wait for your opportunities, and when they come, you’ve got to finish them,” Sawyer said. “That just didn’t happen today, but I’m kind of glad this happened. Now I can build upon that going forward in our season.”