Princeton snapped Hopkins’ 37 game home winning streak today in methodical Princeton fashion: play stingy defense and shorten the game with good clock management. Maybe it as the chilly weather that iced Hopkins’ shooters and they’ll play better in subsequent weeks, because the Hopkins fans are going to want some explanation for the anemic Hopkins O they watched today. They managed only a goal every quarter, shooting an abysmal 12.5% on the day, putting only 11 of 32 shots on the cage.
Princeton’s offense was hardly a juggernaut, but their six goals were good enough for a road win at Homewood and they were robbed a few times by Hopkins netminder Jesse Schwartzman. The Tigers’ quick sliding defense had the Jays completely under wraps throughout the contest and performed admirably on man down, holding the Hop EMO to 1/5. Hopkins fans are going to find themselves asking “What are we going to do without Harrison?” – As no one on the Jay offense asserted himself as a legitimate dodging threat except Paul Rabil, and Rabil looked very frustrated in the 4th quarter and started to try to do things himself.
The first minute of the game may have been the most exciting of the contest. Princeton eventually possessed the game’s first face-off after a nice battle at the X, and not long into their possession freshman midfielder Mark Kovler made a strong dodge from the top left into the middle of the field before firing a missile past Schwartzman. The fans seemed ready for a shootout, but play quickly slowed as both teams committed a litany of poor turnovers early in the game. Late in the quarter the Jays knotted the score when Drew Dabrowski converted a feed from Jake Byrne. The second quarter was much of the same, with the Jays and the Tigers exchanging more turnovers than quality scoring chances. Amidst the sloppy play, they traded goals and went into the half tied at two.
The second half began slowly, but Hopkins pulled ahead midway through the 3rd when Rabil converted a nice feed from Dabrowski. However, beginning midway through the third quarter, Princeton went on the only run in the game, scoring four unanswered goals. Peter Trombino led the effort, recording two goals and an assist in that span. Hopkins’ O couldn’t seem to get their bearings and mount a comeback, but the Blue Jay faithful found some hope when Greg Peyser pinged the top left corner on man-up with under four minutes to play. A few minutes later, Princeton midi Scott Sowanick committed a really stupid unnecessary roughness penalty and Hopkins had the chance to pull within one on man-up but couldn’t convert.
Overall, this game wasn’t pretty – but Princeton has to feel good about upsetting Hopkins at home, particularly after going 0-5 to start the 2005 season. There are many young players on the Tiger squad who showed a lot of promise, so you can expect this year’s squad will follow the usual Princeton game-plan and peak in May. On the other hand, the Blue Jays have to feel a little shell shocked as they hadn’t lost at Homewood since the 2001 season and really couldn’t mount any kind of offense. However, the defense looked solid, Peyser looked excellent facing off, and Schwartzman was spectacular. Anyone who follows lacrosse knows the Hop will get things together, and while they may not be last year’s team, they will be contenders come tournament time.
Johns Hopkins vs. Princeton