Loyola lamented its lack of depth at midfield.
Johns Hopkins enjoyed a revelation on that unit.
The third-ranked Blue Jays turned back the Greyhounds, 13-10, at Homewood Field yesterday as freshman Joe McDermott, who began the year on attack, but was moved to midfield in the aftermath of an April concussion, delivered two goals and an assist that allowed Hopkins to break free from a tie at 8 and seemingly lock up a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament.
The 12-team field will be announced tonight.
"We need a bye," said coach Dave Pietramala, whose team outscored Loyola 7-1 over a pivotal 14-minute stretch in the second half.
"We used a few more guys than we normally do, but it's rare that we have more depth than the other guy. There's no question that numbers were a factor, and Loyola played their first guys an awful lot."
A succession of injuries dating back to fall ball has tested Pietramala's inaugural season as the head coach at his alma mater. McDermott was added to the medical report April 14, when he was knocked out of a loss at Maryland.
He sat out the Navy game, and played sparingly at Towson. With Conor Ford - who had four goals and two assists yesterday - continuing to settle in on attack, Hopkins had the luxury of moving McDermott.
"My role has changed," McDermott said. "Conor Ford has stepped up, and now I'm being asked to play a little bit of attack and a little bit of midfield. The team gave me an opportunity, and I ran with it."
Hopkins (8-3) had to plug a freshman into its attack this season, and Pietramala said that McDermott, from Rockville Centre, N.Y., had a little more seasoning than Ford, a St. Paul's product.
Both were instrumental yesterday as the Blue Jays turned a 7-5 deficit in the third quarter into a 12-8 advantage with 3:27 left.
Ford fueled a three-goal run that allowed Hopkins to come back, and McDermott took over the game after No. 7 Loyola (9-3) forced one last tie.
Pietramala assisted Greyhounds coach Dave Cottle in the early 1990s, and called yesterday's game a "chess match."
The Hopkins boss feels that the first Loyola midfield is the best in the college game, so the Blue Jays put defensemen Shawn Nadelen and Brandon Testa on Gavin Prout and Bobby Horsey, respectively, and dared the Greyhounds to attack with short sticks.
"We're used to that," Cottle said.
"That was new for us," Pietramala said. "You've got to pick your poison against Loyola."
Freshman attackman Stephen Brundage scored three straight times and Prout knocked in a rebound for his only goal to give Loyola a 4-1 bulge after 17 minutes.
Hopkins used a 4-0 surge in a game of surges to go up 5-4. Chris Summers, a sophomore from St. Mary's in Annapolis who had four goals - his best output in over two months - staked Loyola to that 7-5 lead.
Summers seemed to sap some of Hopkins' momentum when he got Loyola its final tie with 14:22 remaining, but the fourth quarter turned infuriating for the Greyhounds.
With sophomore Ryan Radonis doing yeoman work against Eric Wedin, Loyola's much-maligned faceoff unit controlled six of eight in the last quarter, but an offense that had mastered the art of the judicious possession during a five-game win streak unraveled.
"The ball went their [Hopkins'] way," Cottle said, "because they were in the right position. They were in the right position because they kept running."
After three straight narrow decisions against other state rivals, a one-goal game heading into the last eight minutes turned into the Blue Jays' easiest day in over a month.
"I don't get a lot of sleep this time of year," Pietramala said. "My job's not to sleep; it's having us prepared to succeed."
A well-earned week off would help.
Loyola 2 3 2 3 - 10
Johns Hopkins 1 4 3 5 - 13
Goals: L-Summers 4, Brundage 3, Horsey, Prout, Sullivan; JH-Ford 4, Denihan 2, Doneger 2, McDermott 2, Benson, Muir, Potucek. Assists: L-Prout 3; JH-Doneger 2, Ford 2, Denihan, McDermott. Saves: L-Born 9; JH-Scherr 12.