The Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team scored seven straight goals in the third quarter to turn a tightly contested game into a rout as the No. 13 Blue Jays defeated visiting No. 18 Towson, 15-8, at Homewood Field.
The victory continued Hopkins' dominance in the series; the Blue Jays (2-0) now hold a 39-3 all-time advantage. Towson's last win came in a 13-12 victory on April 27, 1996.
Hopkins led 6-5 at halftime, and the teams traded goals in the first three minutes of the third quarter. But the Blue Jays were unrelenting for the rest of the period. Led by faceoff specialist Drew Kennedy, the Blue Jays dominated by winning eight of nine faceoffs in the third period.
The Blue Jays pelted Towson (1-1) with 21 shots in the quarter. Towson had two, and also committed six turnovers.
During the barrage, sophomore attackman Ryan Brown (Calvert Hall) and freshman attackman John Crawley each had two goals for the Blue Jays. Sophomore midfielder Holden Cattoni, senior attackman Brandon Benn and freshman midfielder Kieran Eissler had one for Hopkins.
The spurt was indicative of the change in the Blue Jays' offense this season. In the past, most of the scoring came from the midfield. Now goals are coming from everywhere.
"The change has been dramatic," Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. "We don't see a lot of dodge up top, down the alley, shoot on the run anymore. Eight of our 15 goals were assisted. In the past, we did a lot of north-south downhill dodging."
"We are going more from behind goal than we ever have," said Pietramala. "We're doing a good job in the big, little stuff, and I'm pleased where we're headed. We're no where near where we need to be. We shot the ball 54 times and we've got to have more than 15 goals. But they are coming in different ways: coming inside, coming inside, backside, coming from step downs and from time and room."
The Tigers were thoroughly outplayed and didn't score until sophomore defenseman Mike Lowe broke through with 11:33 left in the fourth period. By then, Hopkins had outshot the Tigers 47-16 and held a 28-18 advantage in ground balls.
Brown, Crawley and Benn each finished with four goals. Brown also had two assists, while Blue Jays junior attackman Wells Stanwick (Boys' Latin) had one goal and five assists.
Junior midfielder Greg Cuccinello led Towson with a career-high four goals.
"As I told our defense, we were not as good as we needed to be on the individual side of things," Towson coach Shawn Nadelen said. "We struggled keeping constant pressure, and when we kept pressure, we didn't cover inside. We tried to challenge shooters on the outside, they beat us and we didn't do a good job of covering thing up."
"Our communication was not good coming off picks, and we gave them opportunities. We have to be much better than that. In the third quarter, we just didn't posses the ball when we needed to. They were getting opportunities and starting to get into a groove."
Hopkins took a 3-2 lead at the end of the first quarter as the Blue Jays outshot the Tigers 13-6. Unlike last year, when the Blue Jays were more deliberate on offense, Hopkins constantly fired at Towson junior goalkeeper Tyler White.
Crawley scored the game's first two goals, the first coming off a feed from Stanwick with 12:19 left in the quarter.
The second came nearly four minutes later, with Crawley beating sophomore midfielder Dan Livingston from the right of the goal. Towson scored with 5:59 left on a 30-foot bomb from freshman attackman Joe Seider (Hereford), but Benn scored on an extra-man situation to put the Blue Jays up 3-1 with 2:12 remaining in the quarter. The Tigers cut into the Blue Jays' lead on an unassisted goal from junior midfielder Justin Mabus 48 seconds later.
Towson took control the game to open the second quarter as Cuccinello put on a shooting display. Cuccinello scored on three long-range shots, two high and the other low in the corner.
The third put Towson ahead, 5-3, with 8:59 left in the first half. Pietramala called a timeout, and that seemed to slow the Tigers' momentum.
The Blue Jays ran a lot of pick-and-rolls from the back of the goal, and the Tigers were slow to slide. Ryan Brown scored on two of those goals, the last with 6:30 left in the second quarter as Hopkins went into halftime with a 6-5 lead.
Hopkins outshot Towson 26-14 in the half, and the Blue Jays won seven of 13 faceoffs.