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Towson's Andi Raymond, left, takse a hard hit from Johns Hopkins' Courtney Schweizer that sends the ball flying during second-half action. (Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun photo / March 7, 2012)

Colleen McCaffrey knows a thing or two about the rivalries among the Baltimore-area Division I women's lacrosse programs.

"We knew [Towson] beat Loyola, so we knew we had to have this one," the Johns Hopkins senior attacker said of the Blue Jays' game against the 20th-ranked Tigers on Wednesday.

McCaffrey made sure they did, scoring three goals — including the game-winner — to lead the host Blue Jays to a 5-4 victory over previously unbeaten Towson in a nonleague game.

Hopkins (4-2) had to sweat out several close chances by the Towson offense, but goalie KC Emerson and the defense were up to each challenge.

"We had to buckle down on defense," Blue Jays coach Janine Tucker said. "Towson is a powerful team, and we were successful in keeping the ball away from them. We have a lot of respect for their offense."

Early on, it looked like Hopkins would run away with the game. The Jays scored the first four goals, all on free-position chances, and had the Tigers (3-1) on their heels for most of the first half. Three-quarters of the way through the first half, Hopkins led 4-0.

Towson took advantage of a Hopkins yellow card with 3:33 left in the half to finally get on the scoreboard when Andi Raymond scored on a free position of her own to cut the lead to 4-1 at the break.

The Tigers seemed to find the answers they were looking for in the second half and gradually cut into the Jays lead.

Sarah Applet scored to cut the margin to 4-2 with 26:14 left in the game, marking the 19th straight contest in which she has recorded at least one point. That was followed up a little over four minutes later by a nifty goal as Raymond found Ashleigh Rohrback in front from behind the net. That goal, with 21:53 remaining, cut the lead to 4-3.

Hopkins scored its only goal of the second half on Caffrey's one-timer from Sammy Cermack that beat Towson goalie Mary Teeters with 15:01 left, but Towson answered a little under two minutes later when Kelly Custer fired a low, hard shot past Emerson with 13:19 left to trim the lead to 5-4.

Then the Hopkins defense took over, frustrating the Towson offense by holding the ball for long periods of time. The Tigers had several opportunities to tie the game on free positions and several shots, but Emerson and the defense were up to the task each time. The game ended with Hopkins playing keep-away for the final three minutes.

"We knew what they were running, and we executed our scouting report to perfection," said Emerson, a freshman. "We stayed very disciplined on defense."

Goals: T – Raymond, Appelt, Custer, Rohrback; JH – McCaffrey 3, Rossi, D'Amore. Assists: T – Raymond; JH – Cermack. Saves: T – Teeters 9; JH – Emerson 6.