When the Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team met Siena last year, the Saints made it a little too close for comfort. The No. 5 Blue Jays made sure that didn't happen again with a 15-6 victory against visiting Siena at Homewood Field on Friday night.
Nursing a two-goal lead after halftime, Johns Hopkins (1-0) created some distance by scoring three goals in a 97-second span and adding another 75 seconds later to enjoy a 10-4 advantage. The Blue Jays outscored the Saints 5-2 the rest of the way to win their sixth consecutive season opener and their 11th in 13 games under coach Dave Pietramala.
Senior midfielder John Ranagan, who led the team with four points on three goals and one assist, said the players remembered how they needed three goals in the fourth quarter to cement a 9-5 win against Siena on Feb. 25.
"We talked about it all week," said Ranagan, who finished with just 23 points last season. "They're a really good team, and even at halftime, it was 6-4. They were hanging in, and we've been talking this year about closing out games. That's been our fault at the end of the season, not closing things out, and we've been making it a point that we're going to finish things out this year."
In addition to Ranagan, Johns Hopkins got three goals from junior attackman Brandon Benn and two goals each from senior midfielder Lee Coppersmith, junior midfielder Rex Sanders and sophomore attackman Wells Stanwick (Boys' Latin) in front of an announced crowd of 503.
Senior attackman Zach Palmer and senior midfielder John Greeley each posted two assists. For Greeley, it was his first game since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in an 8-2 loss to Navy on April 21.
New rules instituted to speed the pace of play appeared to work and provide more opportunity on offense for Johns Hopkins. The team took 58 shots, which was the most by the Blue Jays since 2004 when that squad fired 61 shots in a victory over Albany.
After sophomore midfielder Conor Prunty gave Siena a 1-0 lead just 2 minutes, 11 seconds into the first quarter, Johns Hopkins reeled off five unanswered goals to end the period with a 5-1 advantage. Ranagan, Benn, Stanwick, Coppersmith and freshman midfielder Ryan Brown (Calvert Hall) each scored during the run.
But the Blue Jays slogged through a lackadaisical second quarter, and that opened the door for the Saints to cut into the lead. Prunty scored twice and sophomore midfielder Nate Berry scored once to trim the score to 6-4 at halftime.
Prunty, who scored 10 goals last season, paced Siena (0-1) with four goals, but the vaunted attack of senior Danny Martinsen and junior Colin Clive never found its footing. Martinsen, who had recorded 33 goals and 29 assists in 2012, was shut out by senior defenseman Tucker Durkin, and Clive, who had compiled 31 goals and six assists, was blanked by senior defenseman Chris Lightner.
"They're kind of the big guns," Saints coach John Svec said of Martinsen and Clive. "So you know they're going to be keyed on there. They don't know what we're running, and we don't know what they're running. It's the first game of the year. I don't think [Johns Hopkins] did anything in particular. They're a good, solid defense."