The Johns Hopkins Blue Jays earned their 27th appearance in the Final Four with a commanding 14-6 victory over the Georgetown Hoyas at Princeton Stadium on Saturday. The Jays controlled the pace of the game from the opening faceoff and never looked back. After the Hoyas’ first goal Hopkins was able to keep Georgetown off the board for more than 29 minutes. Every G-town goal was almost immediately answered by the Blue Jays, who now head to their very familiar home, Baltimore and Memorial Day weekend.
Georgetown got on the board first with an unassisted goal from Andrew Brancaccio two minutes into the first quarter. They wouldn’t score again until about two and a half minutes into the third quarter. In the interim the Jays would score six times.
From the get-go this game had a markedly different pace than the first quarterfinal match. Where Albany-Cornell was frenetic, face-paced, and relentless, this game was much more metered, careful, and methodical. Both Georgetown and Hopkins vied for possessions, but once the ball was won, they settled into set offenses, working the ball around and trying to set up good match-ups.
Hopkins notched their first goal with an unassisted tally from Mark Bryan. Jake Byrne followed that up off an assist from Brian Christopher. Byrne added another as time winded down in the first, this time off the assist from Kevin Huntley.
Despite Georgetown’s lack of scoring, they did maintain a few good possessions. But Hopkins, feeling confident in their proven goalie Jesse Schwartzman, stuck to their game plan, keeping Georgetown out of the middle and allowing them to take 12 to 16 yard shots. The plan worked as Schwartzman ate up the shots he was supposed to, and the Hoyas helped usually by winding up so much and over shooting that they missed the cage completely.
On offense, the Jays did to do what the Hoyas couldn’t, working the ball inside and putting shots on cage where Georgetown keeper Miles Kass wasn’t. Hopkins shot better than 40%, scoring 14 on 34 shots. At times it seemed they couldn’t miss. Kevin Huntley, who tallied five goals and an assist, commented after the game that his offense did a lot of film study and noticed Kass was weak low. This was reflected in the vast number of high-to-low, bounce, and low-to-low shots the Jays employed.
The second quarter opened with Huntley getting called for an illegal stick. The Hopkins D held strong for the extended extra-man, but it did not rattle Huntley, who returned and just kept on scoring.
Tom Duerr scored the next for Hopkins, driving from X, until he was above the goal line, then rolling back inside on his man to fire a bounce shot past Kass. Huntley began his scoring barrage then, netting back-to-back goals five minutes apart. First Paul Rabil fed a cutting Huntley whose shot Kass got a piece of, but it still trickled in. Then Huntley worked the unassisted, driving in from the wing, and bouncing a shot past Kass, making it 6-1, and ending the half.
Georgetown added goal number two when Ryan Still snatched a rebound and put it past Schwartzman. The teams exchanged goals as Michael Kimmel scored unassisted for Hopkins, and Cullen Molinari got his own solo tally for Georgetown. However the bleeding would not stop
Huntley score on a low burner off the assist from George Castle. Andrew Miller then got his first goal of the season with a little help from Eric Zerrlaut. Huntley netted goal number four off another assist from Rabil with 24 seconds left in the third quarter, leaving the score 10-3 Hopkins.
After some nice ball movement, Garret Wilson caught a pass from Trevor Casey and fired a ripper from about 15 yards out, cutting the deficit to six. However, a comeback was not in the books for the Hoyas.
Hopkins reeled off three straight goals, two unassisted from Christopher and Kimmel, and Huntley’s fifth and final, again from Rabil. Steve Bauer of G-town and Stephen Peyser then exchanged unassisted goals, bumping the score up to 14-5.
Georgetown drew last blood with under a minute left as Trevor Casey drove, beating keeper Michael Gvozden who had just entered the game. Hopkins won the final faceoff though and was able to run out the clock and seal the 14-6 victory.
Georgetown still remains stuck on the quarterfinals, never advancing past that round of the playoffs. Head coach Dave Urick said it is a stat he does not think about until the media presents it to him.
“We’re a tournament caliber team and that’s something to hang your hat on,” Urick said after the game. “It’s better than being home.” Unfortunately though, that is just where Urick will be next weekend.
A noticeably different tone characterized Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala in post game interviews.
“This group deserves a lot of credit, but our work is far from over,” Pietramala forewarned. “I thought we had everybody play together today…I still think we’re capable of playing better.”
While perhaps Georgetown stopped and smelled the quarterfinal roses in Princeton, Hopkins blew right past them on their trek back to Baltimore.
“As a lacrosse player, the worst thing in the world is to be home on Memorial Day,” Schwartzman said after the game.
Perhaps Paul Rabil’s quote typified Hopkins goals’, as well as the essence of what the tournament is all about. “I’m just glad to be able to go back to the Final Four with my team.”
Hopkins now awaits its next opponent, the winner of the UMBC/Colgate game. Hopkins has yet to play Delaware this season. The Jays faced UMBC on March 6 and beat them 15-6.
|Kevin Huntley||(5, 1)|
|Paul Rabil||(0, 3)|
|Michael Kimmel||(2, 0)|
|Jake Byrne||(2, 0)|
|Brian Christopher||(1, 1)|
|Mark Bryan||(1, 0)|
|Eric Zerrlaut||(0, 1)|
|George Castle||(0, 1)|
|Stephen Peyser||(1, 0)|
|Andrew Miller||(1, 0)|
|Tom Duerr||(1, 0)|
|Jesse Schwartzman||15 (0.750)|
|Michael Gvozden||1 (0.500)|