MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Johns Hopkins' farewell to Division III women's lacrosse proved to be an unhappy parting yesterday, when the Blue Jays were routed by Middlebury College, 18-6, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
Johns Hopkins, which will jump to Division I next season, was knocked off stride from the opening whistle by the defending national champions. Heidi Howard scored 14 seconds into the game to begin a Blue Jays afternoon that was as gloomy as the sodden weather.
The Middlebury lead was 4-0 after five minutes and 10-0 at the half. Johns Hopkins (14-3) went 16 minutes before managing a serious threat, and that solo rush by Neda Dawood was stymied by Panthers goalie Emily Bracken.
The Blue Jays did work free for six goals in the second half, three by freshman Jessica Popham. But Middlebury answered each Hopkins goal with one of its own and was never in danger over the final 30 minutes.
"We started a little slow, and then we had a real problem stopping them in transition," Blue Jays coach Janine Tucker said. "They have a few new faces from last year, but they play the same fast-paced, run-and-gun game."
Yesterday's result was almost a carbon copy of the 20-6 defeat Middlebury laid on Johns Hopkins in the 1997 tournament semifinals. The Blue Jays scored 22 goals against Denison in this year's opening round of the tournament, but were held in check the Panthers. The 18 goals the Jays surrendered were the most since the loss to Middlebury last year.
"Our offense was a little too timid going to the ball," Popham
said. "Once we began going to the net in the second half, we scored. But we woke up a little too late."
But knocking off Middlebury was going to take more than an aggressive attack. The Panthers have not lost at Youngman Field in four years and rely on an offense that is as fast as it is versatile.
Howard finished with a career-high eight goals, and Lina Chickering and Amity Wall each had three scores.
"We were playing so well that it looked easier than it really was," Middlebury coach Missy Foote said. "But this team plays so well as a unit, there's no one player you can concentrate on."
Middlebury's victory lifted it to 14-2 and earned the Panthers their fifth consecutive trip to the Final Four. The loss ended Hopkins' 10-game winning streak and was its most one-sided loss of the season.
"For us to win we had to throw and catch everything, shoot well and force them into a more settled game," Tucker said. "We just weren't able to do it."
Danielle Masuchi backed up Popham with two goals while Nancy Kim had one. Blue Jays goalie Anita Patibandla made 10 saves to become the school's single-season leader in that category with 656. Kristin Cole set the old mark of 652 in 1991.
Pub Date: 5/11/98