Give Dylan Schlott an opportunity, and it's over.
Whether it's a close-range shot or a spot in Johns Hopkins' starting lineup, Schlott simply takes control and finishes the job.
Just zip a pass in front of the goal and observe Schlott at work. Don't worry about the defenseman with his stick in Schlott's chest. And the other defender behind him is irrelevant.
Muscling past a stick in the throat and a hit to his back, Schlott focuses on the catch and powers in another goal for the No. 3 Blue Jays.
It's bruising work like this that has made him college lacrosse's top goal scorer, averaging 3.75 per game. But the more astounding statistic is that he has scored 45 goals on only 82 shots -- a 55 percent success rate -- and that 37 of those goals have been assisted (82 percent).
Schlott, who isn't on scholarship, now has set his aim on Hopkins' regular-season goal-scoring record. With only tomorrow's game at No. 4 Loyola remaining, he needs six more to break the mark set by Bill Morrill in 1950.
"He never has the ball, so how do you stop him?" Blue Jays coach Tony Seaman said. "He's had the ball in the stick probably 45 seconds this year and has 45 goals. I've said we should make a highlight film of him to show kids how to catch and shoot the ball in close."
Or perhaps a film about how a hometown kid becomes the surprise story of the season by living out his lifelong dream.
Coming out of Gilman four years ago, Schlott received virtually no offers from any of the major programs. That's what happens when you blow out your knee at the beginning of your junior year of high school and lose your starting job as you recuperate through your senior year.
"We went out there to watch the other guys," Seaman said. "But you never walked away saying, " 'Wow, that Dylan Schlott, let's recruit him.' "
But Schlott's 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame enticed Seaman to offer him a spot on the roster. Then three years later, Schlott saw the chance.
Dan Dehihan left school for personal reasons, and Dudley Dixon underwent reconstructive knee surgery. The Blue Jays were faced with a mini-crisis at attack. Enter the point-blank shooting skills of Schlott, who hadn't been a full-time starter in five seasons.
"I looked at it as an opportunity, and I wanted to do the best I could," said Schlott, who is listed as a senior but plans to come back next year because he redshirted as a freshman. "If there was someone else better, then so be it. I figured I'd give it a shot and see how it all worked out."
The way it has worked out includes that game-winning goal over Navy with one second remaining, averting Hopkins' first loss to the Midshipmen since 1974, , and the drama of two fourth-quarter goals against top-ranked state rival Maryland.
"In my years of playing, I've never played with a crease attackman who could finish like he can," Dixon said. "When you have a guy like Dylan on the crease, you have a decision whether to take a shot from 10 yards or have him shoot it from 5. And you know you'd much rather him shoot it. Most times, I'll throw it to him even when he's covered."
Those times of increased traffic around the crease never used to occur earlier this season.
Most defensive schemes against Hopkins centered on its first midfield of A. J. Haugen, Andrew Godfrey and Matt O'Kelly, generally considered the top unit in the nation. So the opposition prepares to back up its defensive midfielders with double teams coming from close defensemen around the crease, leaving Schlott wide-open.
The defense sometimes attempts to slide a second man to cover Schlott, who anticipates that move and rolls to an open area.
"It just happens I'm at the end of the line," said Schlott, who had a total of eight goals on 17 shots his two previous seasons. "When our offense is really clicking, we're getting the shots in close where we want them. It just so happens that they've made the plays and I'm the last guy to touch the ball."
Yet that line of thinking excludes how Schlott runs off screens, executes a pick-and-roll and plows through hits to make catch after catch.
When opponents ignored Schlott, he converted 16 of 19 shots during a four-game stretch. Now that teams have taken notice, he has scored at least three goals in six straight games, including six goals each in two contests last week.
It seems the only time Schlott doesn't focus on finishing a play is when he looks back at the success that focus has brought him.
"I do catch myself thinking about it," Schlott said. "I try not to. I just want this to continue until the season's over. Then I'm sure I'm going to look back on it and be amazed at how it went."
A look at how Hopkins attackman Dylan Schlott has fared this season, including the number of shots and his goals that have been assisted:
Date Opponent ..... G ... S .. AG
2-28 Princeton .... 3 ... 8 ... 2
3-4 Denver ........ 4 ... 9 ... 2
3-7 Rutgers ....... 2 ... 5 ... 2
3-14 Syracuse ..... 2 ... 5 ... 0
3-21 Virginia ..... 4 ... 6 ... 4
3-28 N. Carolina .. 2 ... 2 ... 2
4-1 Hartford ...... 3 ... 3 ... 3
4-4 Villanova ..... 7 ... 8 ... 6
4-11 Maryland ..... 3 ... 7 ... 3
4-17 Navy ......... 3 ... 6 ... 3
4-22 Hofstra ...... 6 .. 11 ... 5
4-25 Towson ....... 6 .. 12 ... 5
Tot. ............. 45 .. 82 .. 37
Pub Date: 5/01/98