As Virginia lacrosse coach Dom Starsia walked into the post-game news conference, he mumbled something about it being an inquisition.
Then he conceded the No. 1 spot.
Johns Hopkins left little doubt that it is the best team in the country, as the No. 2 Blue Jays stunned top-ranked Virginia, 22-13, yesterday before 8,024 at Homewood Field.
The Blue Jays (5-0), who cruised to a seven-goal lead at the half, controlled every facet of the game.
"I told you folks last week I thought Johns Hopkins had the best team in the country, and they did nothing to change my mind today," said Starsia. "Hopefully, this is only Chapter 1 and we'll meet again."
Virginia (5-1), which has one of the best defenses in the country, could not contain Hopkins' attack, which has been unstoppable.
Attackman Brian Piccola had four goals and Dave Marr and Peter Jacobs three apiece. All-America attackman Terry Riordan finished with six, the last coming with 3:38 left in the game as he became the school's all-time leading goal-scorer, breaking the career mark of 151 set by Franz Wittelsberger.
"I went into the game knowing how many I needed," said Riordan. "With all the people asking me, how could I not? Thank God it [the shot] didn't go where I wanted to go. The defenseman got a stick on it and it went high after I aimed it low."
It was that kind of day for the Blue Jays, who scored a number of goals off rebounds outside the crease. But Hopkins also out-hustled the Cavaliers, holding a 62-58 advantage in ground balls, controlling 21 of 38 faceoffs and outshooting the Cavaliers 56-52.
And then there was the much-maligned defense, which is getting better every week and may be the team's ticket to the national championship.
Hopkins goalie Jonathan Marcus finished with 22 saves, and sophomore defensemen Brian Kuczma, Aaron Van Horn and junior Todd Kearney blanketed Virginia's offense, especially the Cavaliers' duo of Tim Whiteley and Michael Watson, who combined for three goals.
"I think our defense was the key early when we were aggressive and the 'D' put the ball on the ground," said Marcus. "We're building every game, but like the coach says, it only counts in May. That's what we're building for."
The Blue Jays jumped on Virginia early as Billy Evans, Tom Roszko, Piccola and Jacobs scored consecutive goals to give Hopkins a 4-1 lead with 9:39 left in the first period.
Then Riordan scored two goals in 22 seconds for a 6-2 edge, but Virginia's Doug Knight (four goals) scored with 1:49 remaining to close out the scoring in the quarter.
Hopkins continued the relentless pace in the second period. Jacobs scored on a long shot, Piccola on an extra-man situation and Riordan from off the crease to push the Blue Jays' lead to 9-3 with 9:52 left in the half.
At one point, the Blue Jays had an eight-goal lead before Virginia's Tony Nugent scored with 15 seconds remaining for a 13-6 halftime lead. But Hopkins already was on its way to becoming the first team to score more than 20 goals against Virginia since N.C. State in 1978.
"I was disappointed the way we came out," said Starsia. "We didn't have much movement off the ball, and we were very impatient. We were never on track for the pace of the game. I don't think we were overconfident, but we weren't ready to battle these guys from the opening whistle."
Said Hopkins coach Tony Seaman: "Every aspect of the game went well. It's a lot of fun to play lacrosse when you play like we played today."