As the final whistle blew, Navy coach Richie Meade apologized to Johns Hopkins coach Tony Seaman for not giving the Blue Jays a better game.
Seaman's response: "We're playing very good right now." It was subtle, simple and correct.
Outplaying Navy in every facet of the game, No. 4 Johns Hopkins ripped the No. 14 Midshipmen, 24-5, yesterday before 3,976 at Homewood Field.
It's the largest margin of defeat in Navy's 89-year lacrosse history. The Midshipmen have dropped 23 in a row to the Blue Jays and haven't won at Homewood since 1969.
"I told my kids after the game that I thought even if we played well, we probably would not have won today," Meade said. "They're playing that well. On specific things, we prepared to stop them and did exactly what we prepared at times. And we still couldn't stop them. When superior talent comes to play, you're in trouble."
The Blue Jays (7-3) have dominated their opponents since the end of March. In its five-game winning streak, Johns Hopkins hasn't trailed at any point and has outscored its opponents 92-35.
On the other side, Navy (6-5) continued its April skid and never had any chance against the Blue Jays to gain momentum.
Hopkins already scored two goals before the Midshipmen touched the ball. The Blue Jays staked themselves to a 7-0 lead and shut out the Midshipmen for the opening 24: 55.
Whenever Navy got possession, Hopkins forced either poor clearing passes or intercepted the ball. Whenever the Midshipmen got the ball to their attack, the Blue Jays stripped it away repeatedly with double teams or individual take- aways.
The statistics represented Hopkins' overwhelming play. The Blue Jays had a sizable advantage in shots (62-29), faceoffs (winning 20 of 33) and ground balls (50-34).
"Coach is happy," Seaman said. "We played well at both ends of the field. We played well for 60 minutes."
The biggest improvement since the beginning of the season has been Hopkins' offense. The Blue Jays shredded Navy's defense with sharp passes that zipped past several Midshipmen and into the sticks of Hopkins attackmen right on the crease.
It was the best passing day of the season for Hopkins, which recorded 16 assists. The Blue Jays also scored more than 20 goals for the third time this year -- their most in a single season since the days of Terry Riordan and Brian Piccola in 1995.
In all, 13 different Blue Jays scored, including long-stick defenseman and homecoming king John Gagliardi.
Dudley Dixon paced Hopkins with three goals and three assists and Billy Evans added three goals and two assists. Freshman midfielder A. J. Haugen posted a career day with two goals and three assists.
"Their stickwork is really impressive," Meade said. "They throw passes that few teams can. They threaded the needle on us several times and got shots inside and down low."
For instance, in a four-minute period midway through the third quarter, Hopkins scored five goals to increase its lead to 15-2.
Dan Collins, a backup attackman who started in place of injured Dave Marks, had three goals in a 2 1/2 -minute spurt of that run, including one on an around-the-back shot.
"It's hard to get in a rhythm," Navy goalkeeper Mickey Jarboe said. "They were shooting a lot to my off side and shooting very hard."
While the Blue Jays moved closer to a top four seeding and a first-round NCAA tournament bye, the Midshipmen fell further from the playoff picture.
Navy has lost three in a row and four of its past five, dropping to 1-5 against ranked opponents.
"I don't know where we stand," Meade said. "If we finish 7-5, maybe we're a team under consideration. I think we're still in the hunt. There's no shame in losing to Johns Hopkins."
Pub Date: 4/20/97