Wow, if you thought the field surface was ugly for the semifinals, you should see this. A large area in front of the crease was covered in reddish-brown clay, normally used on baseball diamonds. And during warmups not only were all the players from both teams slipping on cuts, they were biting it anytime they tried to plant for a shot.
Kyle Harrison immediately pushed it out front on the first face, broke with about 5 yards of space, but Tillman Johnson started his work early today -- he came up big on a rip to the 5 hole from the point of the 4-3 break. The scoring soon started. Virginia middie Chris Rotelli drove right to left from up top and got passed off on by Greg Raymond -- Rotelli blasted an overhand righty to the top left corner. Then UVA middie AJ Shannon forced a feed into the middle, but Christmas recovered out on the top left of the box, drove hard across the top left to right, and drew a slide from underneath. Rotelli was still underneath and filled into the void -- Christmas found Shannon tight on the crease and Shannon finished lefty on the doorstep for a 2-0 UVA lead.
An EMO followed for Hopkins when Christmas smacked Greg Peyser in the head, near midfield, while Peyser was clearing. The Jays began the attack in a 3-3, moved to a 2-3-1, then Barrie ripped from top center, missed low right, and UVA's Brett Hughes beat it out to the endline. UVA managed to kill the penalty time for an all-even, but turned it over on a muffed pass on the outside. Hopkins' Kyle Barrie tried coming around righty and underhanding it while turning, but Tillman Johnson was all over the high blast.
It was starting to get messy in the middle for UVA on offense now -- players slipping all over and a lot of emergency outlet passes. Hopkins mananged to control and clear. After the Jays' standard holding pattern while the subs came in from the box, Doneger tried to iso on a shorti up top -- he drove left and rolled back to his right for righty overhand about 15 yards out, but Tillman gobbled it up high (yes, again). Hopkins was clearly announcing it to the world everytime they were going to iso, and although they had done it all year, it really seemed to hurt their chances with such poor field condintions -- UVA could prepare their slide package with plenty of time, and Doneger and Harrison never beat their man while catching the Cav help off-guard.
UVA held briefly until the Hop cleared the other way on a shot, and upon settling behind Barrie got a step coming around the pipe, righty and tight to the crease, for a one on one with Johnson -- Johnson robbed him with quick save across his face (again!). UVA took that save and upped the ante for a 3-0 lead. AJ Shannon just drove across the top of the box, left to right, and beat Scherr low to the five hole -- absolutely nothing special about it. Scherr just couldn't get a handle.
Some sloppiness would close out the 1st. Hopkins' Tom Garvey got to wipe out Christmas on a loose ball in a crease scrum, then Corey Harned had to drop to his knees after taking mud to the eye during some more mud wrestling on Hopkins' defensive end. The Hop finally controlled after some extended Cav possession and Barrie ripped one from the righty shooter's spot -- it sailed wide and UVA beat it out to the endline yet again. With just :10 seconds left in the quarter, and after the refs prematurely blew the whistle on a shot (the ball just stopped dead in the mud), UVA's Billy Glading took off from the back right corner on shorti Matt Field. Glading stutter-stepped and bolted around the right corner to nail it righty, to Scherr's stick side high, just 5 yards off the crease. Why, with :10 to go, and Glading clearly setting up for iso on a freshman shortstick, no early slides came is beyond me. The 1st ends with UVA up 4-0.
Hopkins won the first face of the quarter but as Joe McDermott brought it down the left side he slipped to the turf (well, slop) and UVA cleared. UVA would take that possession and move it to 5-0 when Rotelli fed AJ Shannon -- a line-feed from back left to top right -- and Shannon nailed a lefty underhand rip to the top left corner. Shannon's rip was on this whole weekend, and he was probably bringing more heat than Springer. UVA would then get a taste of the brick wall syndrome themselves when freshman middie Matt Poskay get robbed by Scherr after catching a high to low feed on the crease -- Poskay turned around (his back had been to the goal), had all the time in the world (since he snuck underneath), but Scherr matched him to the high offside.
Hopkins dropped into an inverted zone after that (and after a timeout) and UVA decided to counter by just hanging out behind the goal. UVA didn't challenge the corners and Hopkins didn't pressure below the GLE, so the crowd started booing mercilessly -- halfway through the 2nd quarter is probably a little too early to start stalling. UVA would eventually turn it over on a shot from a tough angle, and Hopkins would convert that opportunity into their first goal of the game at about the 8:00 minute mark. Joe McDermott drove righty on longstick David Burman from the top right of the box, bulled a little, and then let go a righty overhand that beat Tillman to the stickside pipe about hip high. It was a rip, needless to say.
Hopkins still sat in zone, and was having some success picking passes across the middle.
Two quick goals from Hopkins would ignite both the crowd and Hopkins bench. The first came when Kyle Barrie drove wide behind the left pipe and threaded it to Benson five yards out on the crease, with shortstick Glading covering -- Benson used his 6'4" frame well to box out Glading, and then one-timed it lefty to Tillman Johnson's surprise. The second came when longstick Corey Harned bolted down the middle straight from the next face, shielded his stick from trailing hacks, then cocked it back to his right hand and beat Johnson low as he was still coming down the center (Trey Whitty, his longstick counterpart, fell in the slop on the faceoff). But UVA would counter for a 6-3 tally. Freshman attackman Matt Ward was sneaking around the right pipe from behind when middie Chris Rotelli found him, and threaded it to him, from top center -- the Hop defense were all facing the ball -- Ward finished smoothly on the right pipe.
Under 3:00 now to go in the half and two near misses came on rips from Doneger up top -- Doneger was occasionally catching the Cavs by surprise with his quick release. An EMO for Hopkins would close out the half when Trey Whitty got nabbed for a hold, and Hopkins would capitalize on it just as the man advantage was running out. To start the man-up Tillman Johnson robbed Bobby Benson on a nice quickstick from the crease after smart, sharp ball rotation gave him position on a Barrie feed from back left. But the Jays would convert when Doneger gathered a skip-pass from Conor Ford across the top of the man-up -- Doneger just ripped it righty. It was too fast for Johnson to get around on. UVA grabbed the next face with :45 seconds left and called timeout. Nothing came of it -- just ball rotation around the horn -- until Rotelli decided to give it a shot from top center. Scherr had no problem controlling, and the first half wound down with UVA holding on to a 6-4 lead.
Another EMO for Hopkins would kick of the second half; Kyle Harison drove the left pipe from up top, trying to duck under longstick Trey Whitty, but Whitty wound up holding Harrison before Harrison slipped to the crease and Johnson smothered the loose ball. The Hop couldn't convert on this one however -- Johnson came up with another huge save on a Barrie turnaround from the crease off of a high to low feed. The crowd signaled their disbelief.
A couple notes of interest: there was some really aggresive riding from the Hopkins attack now -- even 155lb Kevin Boland was throwing around his body. On the UVA defensive end, longstick Trey Whitty was shadowing Harrison, longstick Burman was on Doneger, and shortsticks were used to cover Lesueuer and Benson. And Hopkins was still in an inverted zone, which killed large swaths of Cav offensive sets in the form of passing around the horn (for seemingly minutes at a time).
Some great transition opened up the game a little at this point. UVA's Kyle Dixson bumped to Christmas on a break, after another Tillman Johnson beaut and clear, then Scherr stoned Christmas on the pipe and initiated a Hopkins clear. That following series would see Hopkins close to within one (at 6-5) when Greg Peyser pinged a bouncer to the top right corner after rolling back to the pipe he came around on. While Peyer was driving around the corner his man couldn't get traction.
Tillman Johnson then got into a little bit of trouble when he chased a shot to the endline and the ball just stuck he in the mud. He had to Gilman it just to avoid an imminent doubleteam. But as luck would have it, John Christmas almost came up with it on a mad dash from the midfield line. Scherr had to come out of the crease -- about 10 yards -- and during the fracas the ball squirted its way to Matt Ward at the top right of the box. Ward shot as Scherr was running back into net and Scherr actually deflected it, getting the ball to dribble just outside the far pipe.
Two more UVA scores would close out the quarter. After Hopkins' Tom Garvey got whistled for a :30 hold while harassing John Christmas (and I do mean harass -- he got hist stick between his legs and jacked it up), UVA would convert the EMO for a 7-5 lead. To do it, Chris Rotelli stood at top center and threaded to Christmas, who was sliding backdoor on the left pipe, for a Christmas dip and dunk. Then with under 1:00 left UVA was just taking their time getting it around the horn. They seemed happy sitting on it until, with :05 left, Rotelli bumped it across top to Shannon and Shannon ripped one lefty, past Scherr on an akward bounce, for an 8-5 lead to close out the 3rd quarter.
UVA defenseman Brett Hughes began the 4th by legging it down the field after picking a pass in middle -- just as he was about to uncork it in the middle of the box he got caught from behind with his stick cocked. Then Tillman Johnson stood on his head. He stoned Barrie from the top center of a 3-3 man-up set for Hopkins, but when Johnson's clearing pass hung low, Barrie picked off the outlet and brought it down with even more numbers. Barrie bumped it to Boland on the left pipe, Johnson stoned that, then Benson grabbed the rebound on crease and Johnson stoned even that from 2 yards away. I hope Johnson didn't sell his soul to anyone.
4th quarter and some more pics coming...I've got some combo of SARS and the Irish Flu going for me right now.
Johns Hopkins vs. Virginia