Coming out of a quiet stretch — which included being suspended for a game for violating team policy — Wells Stanwick bounced back in resounding fashion Tuesday night.
The Johns Hopkins sophomore attackman set career highs in goals (five) and assists (four), powering the No. 10 Blue Jays' men's lacrosse team to a 19-9 thumping of visiting Mount St. Mary's at Homewood Field.
Stanwick's performance — he needed just five shots to match his goal output from his first three games this season — was especially timely as Johns Hopkins (4-1) competed without its top playmaker, senior attackman Zach Palmer (five goals and a team-best nine assists). Palmer, senior goalkeeper Pierce Bassett and sophomore long-stick midfielder Michael Pellegrino were suspended for violating the same unspecified rule that got Stanwick benched for the team's 17-8 win over Michigan on Feb. 23.
Stanwick, who became the first Hopkins player since Kyle Barrie against Navy on April 19, 2003, to total nine points in a game, said he didn't feel growing pressure to elevate his play.
“Really, all we wanted to do was get the offense flowing and score a lot of goals as a team,” the Boys' Latin grad said. “It really doesn't matter who's scoring the goals. So that's kind of how I look at it.”
Senior Eric Schneider made four saves in his first career start filling in for Bassett, and Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said afterward that there would be a competition for that spot, a surprising revelation considering Bassett has been the undisputed starter since taking over the role in March of 2010.
“There is an open competition,” Pietramala said. “Nothing happens because of one game. A guy doesn't earn a starting position because of one game and a guy doesn't lose a starting position because of one game. It's something that's over practice and over time, and Eric's been doing a very good job in practice. Obviously, we have the utmost confidence in Pierce. I think at this point, it's in our best interest that we need to create a little more competition. I think we've gotten a little comfortable there, and I think this will help us moving forward.”
Senior John Kaestner posted one assist in Palmer's place, and sophomore Nikhon Schuler collected two ground balls for Pellegrino. But Stanwick stood out as the Blue Jays' primary weapon.
After the Mountaineers (2-4) took a 2-1 lead with 7:01 left in the first quarter on a connection from Andrew Scalley to Anthony Golden, Stanwick had a hand in each of the team's next four goals.
He beat sophomore goalie Adam Borgogelli from a sharp angle left of the net on an extra-man opportunity with 4:49 left in the period. Seventy-nine seconds later, Stanwick fed junior attackman Brandon Benn at the right wing for an overhand blast.
With 1:52 remaining, Stanwick centered to Benn for an easy dunk from the right side of the crease. Then, just 19 seconds into the second quarter, Stanwick ran in from the left wing and before the Mount St. Mary's defense could collapse on him, he cut back to the middle and slid the ball under Borgogelli from the doorstep.
The two sides traded goals to end the first half and open the third quarter. That set the stage for another Stanwick run. He assisted on freshman midfielder Ryan Brown's bouncer from the top of the box on a man-up chance with 9:42 left, took a pass from senior midfielder John Greeley and bounced a shot inside the right side of the net with 8:09 remaining, centered to Benn for a one-timer with 6:26 left, and then converted a feed from senior midfielder John Ranagan with 6:09 remaining.
After that goal and with Johns Hopkins enjoying an 11-4 advantage, Borgogelli (seven saves) was pulled for junior Chris Klaiber (two saves). The Mountaineers went through another goalkeeper in freshmen Frankie McCarthy, but the Blue Jays still piled on eight goals to cement the win.
Benn became the first Johns Hopkins player since Conor Ford in 2004 to post a hat trick in five consecutive games, and Greeley finished with four assists. The victory helped Johns Hopkins erase some of the bad memories stemming from Friday night's 11-8 upset by then-No. 14 Princeton.
“I thought we did a good job in challenging circumstances,” Pietramala said. “Coming off of Princeton, you can have a hangover. I thought our guys came out and early on, they put a lot of pressure on us. And I thought we handled it and eventually answered the bell and pulled away.”
Scalley paced Mount St. Mary's with two goals and two assists. Senior attackman Brett Schmidt scored in his 34th straight game — the longest active streak in Division I — and finished with his 14th career hat trick.