The historically rich 64-year Army-Johns Hopkins lacrosse rivalry will be suspended indefinitely next season, a decision made by Hopkins to lighten the competition on its future schedules.
But the 14th-ranked Cadets (4-3) will undoubtedly welcome the respite after absorbing a 23-5 trouncing by the sixth-ranked Blue Jays at Homewood Field yesterday.
Any fear that Hopkins (5-3) might be caught looking past Army to its crucial game with fourth-ranked Maryland at College Park next Saturday was thoroughly erased when the Blue Jays scored the game's first 12 goals and outshot the frustrated Cadets 35-9 in the first half.
And Hopkins never relented in the second half, despite coach Tony Seaman giving his reserves considerable playing time. Eleven different Jays scored, led by four each from junior attackmen Dudley Dixon and Dylan Schlott, a career-high for the Gilman product.
Asked about how his team guarded against a possible letdown, HTC Seaman said, "One lesson you learn very quickly at Hopkins and play the kind of schedule we do is that everyone comes in here full of fire to play us.
"And if Army ever had a ticket to get into the NCAA playoffs, winning this game was their ticket."
But the Cadets were overwhelmed in every meaningful statistic. The one not kept officially, time of possession, was probably the most significant; Army seemingly always was on defense.
Only junior attackman John Gros, who scored his team's first three goals, enjoyed any success against Hopkins, whose defense was led by All-Americans Brian Kuzma and John Gagliardi, and rugged co-captain Aaron Van Horn.
The Jays did a a particularly effective job in controlling Army's leading scorer, junior midfielder Ross Yastrzemsky, who was limited to a meaningless fourth-quarter goal.
"I believe this was the first game this season that we put together four quarters without any physical or mental letdown," said senior midfielder Billy Evans.
Despite missing their first eight shots, Hopkins saw its margin go to 12-0 before Gross scored with 67 seconds remaining in the first half for Army.
"It's tough for a team to come back against you when you're winning most of the face-offs and getting to all the ground balls," Seaman said.
"Our three losses [Princeton, Syracuse and Virginia] came by a total of six goals. But now our offense is really rolling. We've scored 55 goals in winning our last three games, and that's the kind of momentum we want going into May."
Although Hopkins has now won the past 15 games in the series, veteran Army coach Jack Emmer insists he would like to continue the rivalry. But, at the same time, he admitted there was a huge disparity in talent on the field yesterday.
"When we come into this situation, we realize we'll probably be out-skilled," he said. "But we never admit this from a mental standpoint and our competitiveness usually makes us successful.
"But today we were overwhelmed from the start, and we let it bother us. Our biggest flaw was clearing the ball. We kept turning it over and that forced us to play a lot of defense. And falling behind so fast, we were trying to score quickly and made bad decisions on offense."
Pub Date: 4/06/97