Three games into the season, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said his concern no longer revolved around an offense that lost 62 percent of last year's production. His worry centered on a defense that seemed to struggle under preseason expectations.
Pietramala got his wish yesterday as the No. 8 Blue Jays blanketed No. 9 Hofstra on both ends of the field in a convincing 12-7 victory before an announced 2,560 at Homewood Field.
Sophomore attackman Kyle Wharton scored a career-high five goals for Johns Hopkins (3-1), but Pietramala was pleased with a defensive effort that limited the Pride to four goals below its average output this season and allowed just one multigoal scorer. (Senior midfielder Anthony Muscarella scored twice.)
"Where I was concerned was defensively," Pietramala said, citing 25 total goals surrendered in a loss to No. 6 Princeton and a win over No. 4 UMBC in the past eight days. "I don't think we've played very well together. I thought today we did a better job of playing better."
Junior defenseman Sam DeVore played a key role in handcuffing Hofstra sophomore attackman and 2008 Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year Jay Card to one goal, and the Pride took just 35 shots after averaging 50 in its first two contests.
"We just didn't play as a team - seven guys, goalie included," said junior goalkeeper Michael Gvozden, who finished with 12 saves and earned the victory over his younger brother Andrew, who got his first career start for Hofstra. "We got together as an entire defense this week, and I stood up and said: 'There's no more blaming somebody else. If you messed up, you stand up and take the blame so that we can figure out what went wrong and move on.' I was so proud of the guys in front of me, and they did such a good job today."
Offensively, the Blue Jays ambushed the Pride (2-1), scoring the game's first four goals in a span of 11:47. Junior midfielder Michael Kimmel tied a career best with four points on a goal and three assists, and junior attackman Steven Boyle recorded a goal and two assists as Hofstra never got closer than three the rest of the way.
"I think we've got to do a better job of just approaching the game earlier," said Pride coach Seth Tierney, whose team had recorded last-second, comeback wins over Massachusetts and No. 10 Brown. "We cannot fall behind. It changes the whole tempo of the game. ... When you play with a lead, there's a certain feeling, and when you play from behind, there's a certain feeling. Right now, we're getting used to the feeling of playing from behind, and that's got to change."