BALTIMORE, MD - Johns Hopkins attackmen Zach Palmer, Kyle Wharton and Chris Boland combined for seven goals and four assists and the Blue Jay defense held host Towson scoreless for a stretch of 35:22 midway through the game as 11th-ranked JHU opened the 2011 season with a 10-6 victory before 3,226 fans at wind-blown Unitas Stadium Saturday afternoon. The win is JHU's 16th straight against the Tigers and the 900th all-time in school history. Johns Hopkins is the first men's lacrosse program in the nation to reach the 900-win mark.
After Towson's Carl Iacona gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead with an unassisted goal at the 10:30 mark of the second quarter, the Blue Jay defense clamped down and didn't allow another goal until senior midfielder Pat Britton finally broke the ice with an unassisted goal of his own with 5:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It was all Johns Hopkins between those goals as the Blue Jays reeled off six unanswered goals during that time, including five by the starting attack.
A Lee Coppersmith goal on a simple ally dodge less than 90 seconds after Iacona's goal drew the Blue Jays even at 4-4 and the teams went to the half with no further scoring.
Towson had two golden chances to take a 5-4 lead, but Johns Hopkins goalie Pierce Bassett made saves on back-to-back Towson extra-man chances in the first five minutes of the third quarter and the Blue Jays capitalized with back-to-back goals in a 78-second span midway through the period to take the lead for good.
Wharton's second goal of the game off a nifty no-look pass from sophomore John Greeley made it 5-4 and Palmer's extra-man goal a short time later made it 6-4. Freshman Brandon Benn assisted on Palmer's goal as he found him cutting down the ally from the side of the goal and Palmer quick-sticked it home.
Wharton notched his third goal of the game three minutes later as a Bassett save led to a transition goal with freshman Phil Castronova getting the helper as Wharton notched his 10th career hat trick.
Boland netted consecutive goals of his own - the first with 3:09 left in the third quarter and the second with just 5:55 remaining in the fourth quarter - to extend the lead to 9-4 before Britton sandwiched a pair of goals around Benn's first career tally to account for the 10-6 final.
The Blue Jays led 3-1 after less than eight minutes of the first quarter as Wharton, Palmer and freshman Eric Ruhl all scored early with only a Matt Thomas goal mixed in for the Tigers in the minutes.
Towson responded with a three-goal run that was capped by Iacona's goal early in the second quarter, but Coppersmith's goal a short time later ignited the game-turning 6-0 for the Blue Jays.
Palmer tied his career high with five points and posted a personal-best three assists to lead the way offensively for the Blue Jays, held advantages in shots (35-29), ground balls (36-23) and faceoffs (11-10). Senior Matt Dolente won 8-of-14 faceoffs and grabbed four ground balls for Johns Hopkins, which improved to 9-2 under head coach Dave Pietramala in season openers.
Johns Hopkins will return to action on Tuesday, February 22 when the Blue Jays travel to Delaware for a 6 pm game against the Blue Hens. Delaware improved to 3-0 on the year with an 8-7 win against Marist on Saturday.
Shots: J-35. T-29. EMO: J: 1-for-3. T: 0-for-4. Attendance: 3,226
Notes of Interest:
â€¢ Johns Hopkins improved to 49-4 under Pietramala in games against teams from the state of Maryland.
â€¢ The Blue Jays started two freshman (Rob Guida-M, Jack Reilly-D) and three other freshmen played in the game (Ruhl-M, Castronova-DM, Benn-A).
â€¢ Eight of the 10 players who started for JHU today were freshmen (2) or sophomores (6).
â€¢ 13 of the 23 players who played for JHU today were freshmen or sophomores.
â€¢ JHU is now 8-3 all-time in games played in February.
|Pat Britton||(2, 0)|
|Tim Stratton||(0, 1)|
|Matt Hughes||(1, 0)|
|Carl Iacona||(1, 0)|
|Matt Lamon||(1, 0)|
|Matt Thomas||(1, 0)|
|Travis Love||10 (0.500)|