The Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team may look back on April 13 and point to that date as the program's watershed moment of 2013.
After losing their last two games and three of their past four, the No. 15 Blue Jays upset No. 4 Maryland, 7-4, at Byrd Stadium on Saturday.
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An announced attendance of 10,233 watched Johns Hopkins (7-4) keep alive its hopes of qualifying for the NCAA tournament with its first signature victory of the season, defeating a Terps squad that had lost just once and entered the week at No. 4 on the first Rating Percentage Index list released by the NCAA.
"It was a game against the No. 1 team in the country, a terrific team," Blue Jays senior midfielder John Ranagan said. "And anytime you play a ranked team, it's very important, especially late in the season. We prepared all weekend, and we're happy with the outcome."
Johns Hopkins, which has won the last five meetings in College Park in this series, got key contributions from Ranagan and senior attackman John Kaestner.
Ranagan, senior John Greeley and junior Holden Cattoni were bumped to the second line as the Blue Jays opened the game with senior Lee Coppersmith, junior Rob Guida (who returned for the first time after sitting out eight straight contests with an undisclosed injury) and freshman Ryan Brown.
Ranagan, who had converted just 10 of 47 shots before Saturday, scored on his first two shots. He collected an outlet pass from senior goalkeeper Pierce Bassett and went coast to coast to give Johns Hopkins a 1-0 lead with 9:11 left in the first quarter.
Ranagan then padded the cushion to two when he ran past Maryland senior midfielder Jake Bernhardt and scored into the top right corner of the net with 5:34 left in the period. He assisted on Brandon Benn's goal that sealed the victory with 2:18 remaining in regulation.
Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala dismissed any notion that the demotion motivated Ranagan's play, which was much improved from the previous four games during which he had only scored once.
"If you know anything about us, our guys don't care," Pietramala said. "If a guy gets hurt, another guy steps up. If another guy is not doing his job, another guy steps up. If our seniors are who they say they are, then they use it as motivation, but they accept it and they work within that role, and John Ranagan and John Greeley and all those guys worked within their roles. So they don't care where they are. In the end, all that matters is the team wins and moves forward."
Kaestner got his fourth start of the season after Zach Palmer, who ranks second on the offense in both assists (12) and points (24), suffered an unspecified injury in Wednesday afternoon's practice and was ruled out Friday for the game.
Kaestner scored in the first and third quarters and finished with more points than fellow attackmen Wells Stanwick and Benn, who combined for one goal on four shots and zero assists.
"It was just really unfortunate that during the week, he suffered an injury," said Kaestner, who had recorded three goals on eight shots and added four assists prior to Saturday's win. "We've had the same mentality throughout my four years here. It's the next guy up, and you're always expected to do your job. I just felt like, if I prepared all week and I was called upon to play in the game, I was prepared for it."
Bue Jays senior defenseman Tucker Durkin, who shut out Albany sophomore attackman Lyle Thompson in the team's 10-9 loss on April 5, allowed just one assist to Terps senior attackman Kevin Cooper, who failed to score on five shots. Bassett finished with 12 saves, and the entire defense limited Maryland to its lowest output of the season.
Redshirt junior midfielder Mike Chanenchuk paced the Terps (8-2) with a game-high three points (two goals and one assist), but no other player had more than one point, and the extra-man unit went 0-for-3 and took just one shot.
"I really felt like they played a great game, especially on the defensive end," Maryland coach John Tillman said of Johns Hopkins. "Offensively, we had some pretty good opportunities, and I thought their goalie was really good today. I'd like to see our shot selection maybe change a little bit, but you've got to give credit where credit is due."