With the offense for the No. 10 Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team struggling early Tuesday night, the defense emerged as the catalyst.
After giving up two goals in the first quarter, the unit shut out visiting UMBC in the second and third quarters long enough for the offense to find its rhythm. That formula powered the Blue Jays to a 13-6 victory before an announced 466 who braved frigid weather conditions at Homewood Field in Baltimore.
Johns Hopkins (4-2) collected its third consecutive win and second in a span of four days after upsetting then-No. 6 Syracuse, 18-7, on Saturday. But for the first 42 minutes, the final score belied how difficult it was to cement the victory.
The offense was shut out for all but the final second of the first quarter, did not overtake the Retrievers until the final two minutes of the second, and did not gain a two-goal cushion until more than 12 minutes had elapsed in the third.
But UMBC was even more stymied by the Blue Jays defense. After sophomore attackman Ryan Frawley and junior midfielder Ryan Baker staked the Retrievers to a 2-0 lead with 19.9 seconds left in the first quarter, Johns Hopkins did not surrender another goal for the next 38:05.
“I think we did a good job defensively,” said senior goalkeeper Brock Turnbaugh, the resident of Phoenix in Baltimore County and Hereford graduate who finished with a game-high nine saves. “With a short turnaround, we only had a couple days to get our heads on right, and I think we came out and did a good job. A little bit of shaky start, but after that, we picked it up, and the defense started playing well together.”
After allowing 25 combined goals in back-to-back losses to No. 8 Loyola Maryland and No. 14 North Carolina, the defense has given up nine goals to Princeton, seven to Syracuse and six to UMBC. Junior defenseman Patrick Foley said the unit’s recent success is rooted in its practice regimen.
“I think the key for us right now is just growth,” said Foley, who caused three turnovers and picked up one ground ball. “We’re growing every week in practice. We’re getting a little more aggressive every week, and we’re turning to the little details that we’re screwing up every week, and we’re eliminating a lot of those. Our goal is to stay under 10 goals in a lot of games, and we’re going to do everything we can to do that.”
The effort on the defensive side of the field finally yielded results on offense. With the Blue Jays nursing a 3-2 lead late in the third quarter, freshman midfielder Connor DeSimone took a skip pass from senior midfielder Joel Tinney, faked a shot from the left wing, and then crashed the left side of the crease for a dunk with 2:45 remaining.
That goal ignited a 7-0 run that gave Johns Hopkins a 10-2 advantage with 9:35 left in the fourth quarter.
Senior attackman Shack Stanwick led all scorers with seven points on three goals and four assists, and Tinney chipped in one goal and two assists. Sophomore attackman Cole Williams (Loyola Blakefield) added two goals and one assist, and senior Hunter Moreland (Boys’ Latin) won 12 of 15 faceoffs and scooped up eight ground balls.
Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said there was no single accelerant that fueled the late offensive outburst.
“I think the offense just started playing,” he said. “We didn’t do anything different. There was no magic halftime speech. There was no, ‘Hey, we’re going to change this, we’re going to change that.’ In the second quarter, we jumped a couple picks, and in the third quarter, we dodged a little harder and shared the ball a little bit more and moved the ball a little more quickly and moved our feet, and we wound up with some opportunities. That’s what we should have been doing the whole game.”
Frawley and freshman midfielder Steven Zichelli (Severna Park) scored two goals each for the Retrievers, who were forced to play without freshman attackman and leading scorer Trevor Patschorke because of a knee injury.
“They’re pretty athletic on defense, and we’re playing a lot of freshmen,” UMBC coach Ryan Moran said. “We have a lot of injuries right now, and some kids are getting some meaningful minutes, and I think that’s a real positive right now. Guys are getting experience playing under the lights and having some success, but it took awhile to break them in, and those are some of the growing pains that we have to go through.”
Notes: Stanwick, the Baltimore resident and Boys’ Latin graduate, extended his consecutive points streak to 54 games, which is the third-longest active streak in Division I. … With two goals, Blue Jays junior attackman Kyle Marr needs just more to reach 50 in his career. … Johns Hopkins improved to 16-0 all-time against UMBC.
UMBC 2 0 0 4 — 6
Johns Hopkins 1 2 3 7 — 13
Goals: U—Frawley 2, S.Zichelli 2, Baker, Kalas; J—Stanwick 3, Baskin 2, DeSimone 2, Marr 2, Williams 2, Tinney, Valis. Assists: U—Nolan; J—Stanwick 4, Tinney 2, M.Hubler, Kuhn, Williams. Saves: U—Lingner 6; J—Turnbaugh 9, Darby 1.