In a young season littered with upsets, the Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team ensured that its name wasn't added to the list of the fallen.
Junior attackman Zach Palmer had a career-best eight points, and the No. 2 Blue Jays overpowered UMBC, 12-5, at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday. The daylong event drew an announced 17,138 fans.
Johns Hopkins improved to 6-0 for the ninth time since 1971 but only the second time under coach Dave Pietramala (the other was in 2005). The Blue Jays have won all 10 meetings with the Retrievers.
Pietramala and the players were well aware that the Retrievers had toppled No. 5 Maryland, 8-7, last week and did not want to be another notch in UMBC's belt.
"I'm glad we didn't allow what could've happened to happen," Pietramala said. "As a coach, your concern coming into a game like this is, kids read. They follow the Internet, they follow the papers and they evaluate teams sometimes by what they read, what they hear, what they're told. This is a good team that we just played. I watched them play very well the other night and I watched them try to do the same thing to us tonight, and I was glad we were able to play with a lead. … So I'm really proud of our guys for giving UMBC the respect that I think their team deserves."
Still, after the first quarter, the Blue Jays found themselves clinging to a tenuous 2-1 lead. That's when they embarked on an 8-1 run spanning the second and third quarters — the last of which Johns Hopkins dominated with a 4-0 showing.
Over that spurt, Palmer and sophomore attackman Brandon Benn ran the show. Palmer recorded two goals and four assists and Benn posted three goals and one assist during that stretch.
In the past three games in which the attack has played without senior Chris Boland (shoulder) and freshman Wells Stanwick (hand, according to reports), Palmer has totaled five goals and nine assists.
"I know I've had to step up a little bit," said Palmer, who leads the team in assists (15) and points (25). "I have the ball in my stick a little more than usual, but it's nothing new. We still run the same plays. Everyone has a job to do. There hasn't been a whole lot different. Just trying to be a bit more of a leader out there."
Defensively, junior goalkeeper Pierce Bassett finished with nine saves and the unit surrendered just two goals through the first three quarters.
Junior attackman Scott Jones paced the Retrievers (2-3) with three goals, and junior attackman Joe Lustgarten chipped in three assists. But coach Don Zimmerman conceded that it was difficult for UMBC to replicate the effort it used to knock Maryland from the ranks of the undefeated.
"Coming off an emotional win on Tuesday, I was hoping that our guys could rebound and give us another performance like we had against Maryland, but it just wasn't meant to be," he said. "It wasn't that we weren't trying, it was just that we didn't have the same energy and things of that nature to be able to compete against this Hopkins team. They're very, very good."