EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Sophomore midfielder Lee Coppersmith scored his only goal of the game with 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter to break a 9-9 tie and Johns Hopkins held off one final North Carolina push as the Blue Jays defeated the Tar Heels, 10-9, in the Big City Classic at the New Meadowlands Stadium Sunday afternoon. The win improves JHU's record to 7-2 and snaps a four-game losing streak to the Tar Heels, who slip to 7-3 with the loss.
The Blue Jays led 9-6 less than a minute into the final period after sophomore midfielder John Ranagan completed his hat trick after he scored off an assist from linemate John Greeley on a set play from. The pair ran on the same play on JHU's next possession, but UNC's Steven Rastivo got a foot on the shot this time and keep it a three-goal game.
The Blue Jays held the three-goal lead for more than six minutes after Ranagan's goal, but UNC grabbed some momentum with a Thomas Wood goal at the 8:11 mark and made it a one-goal game just over two minutes later when senior Billy Bitter scored his fourth goal of the game.
After trailing by four early and three on two different occasions in the second half, the Tar Heels drew even when Duncan Hutchins converted a cross-field pass from freshman Nicky Galasso with 2:41 remaining.
The Blue Jays won the ensuing faceoff and worked the ball to Coppersmith, who dodged from the top of the box and blew a left-handed rocket past Rastivo for what proved to be the game-winner. After JHU won the ensuing faceoff, the Tar Heels forced a turnover and called timeout with 54 seconds remaining. The Blue Jay defense held tight and the final of Bassett's seven saves in the game sealed the win for the Blue Jays.
Hopkins jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first 5:11 of the game as senior attackman Kyle Wharton bookended a run game-opening run with a pair of goals. After Wharton quick-sticked home a nifty feed to the crease from sophomore Zach Palmer just 49 seconds into the game, the Blue Jays got back-to-back goals in a span of just under two minutes from senior midfielder Mark Goodrich and Ranagan. Goodrich found an opening in the slot seven yards from the goal and Marshall Burkhart fed him from the side to make it 2-0 and Ranagan blew home a a laser on an ally dodge to make it 3-0.
Ranagan's goal was followed by a UNC timeout, but JHU won the ensuing faceoff and Wharton ripped home his second of the day on a low-to-high blast from the side to make it a four-goal game with 9:49 remaining in the first quarter.
The Tar Heels answered with a three-goal run that took just under seven minutes and consisted of three straight goals by Bitter. Bitter used a screen to Bassett's right and walked right in front to make it 4-1. He split a double team two minutes later and beat Bassett from in tight to cut the deficit to two and lost his defender in the back of the net before spinning inside another defender in tight to make it 4-3.
Wharton completed his 12th career hat trick off the opening faceoff of the second quarter to give the Blue Jays a two-goal lead, but the Tar Heels pulled even with back-to-back goals by Jimmy Dunster and Marcus Holman to make it a new game at 5-5 with 2:28 remaining in the first half.
Sensing the momentum shift in the game, the Blue Jays grabbed it back with a three-goal flurry that took just 39 seconds late in the second quarter.
Ranagan scored his second of the game on strong ally dodge just 20 seconds after Holman's goal had tied it and he then beat heavy pressure out of a timeout to find Palmer all alone on the backdoor to make it 7-5. The Blue Jays, who won all seven of the faceoffs in the second quarter, scored off the faceoff following Palmer's goal as senior Chris Boland came up with the loose ball after a long scamble and raced to the goal where he beat Rastivo with a low shot on the run to make it 8-5 at the half.
After the teams combined for 32 shots and 13 goals in the first half, the paced slowed considerably in the third quarter. Both teams failed on extra man chances early in the period before Carolina netted the quarter's only goal - a man-up tally by Holman - midway through the period and the Blue Jays carried an 8-6 lead into the final period. The 8-6 lead swelled to 9-6 on Ranagan's third goal just 38 seconds into the final period. That set the stage for UNC's final push, which was answered by Coppersmith's game-winner in the final two minutes.
Ranagan paced the Blue Jays with the three goals and one assist, while Wharton added the hat trick to snap a two-game scoring drought. Ranagan walked away with the Big City Classic Player of the Game award from Inside Lacrosse, but the award could have easily gone to senior faceoff specialist Matt Dolente, who won a career-high 16 faceoffs on 22 attempts and grabbed a game-high six ground balls. Wharton recorded both the 75th goal and 100th point of his career in the win.
Bitter led the Tar Heels with his four goals, while Dunster (1g, 2a) and Holman (2g) were also multi-point scoerrs for the Tar Heels, who got nine saves from Rastivo and held slight advantages in shots (31-28) and ground balls (21-20).
#5 Johns Hopkins (7-2) 4-4-0-2/1
#4 North Carolina (7-3) 3-2-1-3/9
Goals: J: Ranagan-3, Wharton-3, Palmer, Coppersmith, Boland, Goodrich. N: Bitter-4, Holman-2, Dunster, Wood, Hutchins. Assists: J: Burkhart-2, Palmer, Ranagan, Greeley. N: Dunster-2, Galasso, Hunt, Wood. Saves: J: Bassett-7. N: Rastivo-9. Shots: J-28. N-31. EMO: J 0-for-3 N: 1-for-2. Attendance: n/a
Johns Hopkins vs. North Carolina