It was a wearing day for the two Army men who returned to their home state to play in the cradle of lacrosse.
Junior Travis Loving, an Arundel High grad, and Lou Kousouris, a freshman out of Gilman seeing his first college action, shared the abuse in the goal in Army's 23-8 loss to No. 1 Johns Hopkins yesterday before 3,542 at Homewood Field.
"We scrimmage Syracuse, so we've faced great shooters like Riordan and Piccola," Loving said, referring to Terry Riordan and Brian Piccola, Hopkins' leading scorers. "But overall offensively? we haven't seen any team better than Hopkins."
It was a rude college debut for the untested Kousouris in particular. He came on in the second half after Hopkins had taken a huge lead, which at one point midway through the third quarter was 17-3.
Hopkins, of course, has been hard on everybody this season. The Blue Jays (7-0) are off to their best start since the 1989 team went 9-0 before being upset by Towson State in overtime.
"Johns Hopkins appears to be improving as it goes along," Army coach Jack Emmer said. "They're refining their offensive game. They seem to be on top of it now."
At 1-5, Army has the worst start in academy history. It has beaten only Bucknell. With eight games remaining, Emmer needs six more wins for 100 at Army, and may be hard-pressed to get them this year. The Cadets have dropped 13 straight to Hopkins.
"You don't get a lot out of a game like this when you don't take the opportunity to perform well against the No. 1 team," Emmer said. "We had little offensive spurts, but didn't have the ball enough and didn't do the job defensively."
One reason Army didn't have the ball enough was that Peter Jacobs dominated on faceoffs, as usual. Jacobs won 13 of 16 and was primarily responsible for Hopkins' 25-10 advantage.
After facing Syracuse, Virginia and North Carolina the preceding three weeks, and with No. 3 Maryland coming up next, Hopkins was glad to have a breather.
"We didn't let down and we shot great," said Hopkins coach Tony Seaman. "I was unhappy with the defensive intensity at times, but Jonathan Marcus was wonderful in the goal."
Riordan and Piccola led with three goals apiece, and 11 other players also scored. Seaman "didn't want Riordan and Piccola to fatten their batting averages" any more when reserves had worked so hard in practice for weeks.
Freshmen Andrew Godfrey, Danny Galvagno and A. T. Bailey scored their first college goals. Matt Bond and Brad Berzins scored their second of the season.
"We tried to get a big lead at the half so the other guys could get on the field," Piccola said. "With our schedule, it was good to have this breather. We knew we were capable of handling Army easily. The worst thing that could have happened was someone getting hurt."
No one did.