John Crawley's three-goal outburst in No. 10 Johns Hopkins' 12-11 overtime win at No. 17 Penn State was especially timely as the junior midfielder scored the team's final two goals in regulation and the game-winner just 1 minute, 58 seconds into the extra session.
But Crawley has been a valuable contributor all season for the Blue Jays (7-4 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten). He is the only player to start all 11 games in the midfield, which has lost sophomore Joel Tinney (suspension), and senior Connor Reed and freshmen Drew Supinski and Alex Concannon (knee injuries).
"It's been huge," coach Dave Pietramala said Wednesday of Crawley's unwavering presence. "It's been very important to have that stabilizing factor who knows the offense, knows the defense, knows the rides, knows the clears, understands the expectations of the coaching staff. That's all very important."
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Crawley ranks third on Johns Hopkins in points with 22 and is tied for third in goals with 16. He has scored a goal in every contest but one this spring, but Sunday was his first hat trick since scoring four goals in a loss to Maryland in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament last May.
"John has never been a guy who's afraid of the moment," Pietramala said. "In the Final Four last year, we bumped him up to the first midfield, and he got four goals. It's important that you have guys who aren't afraid of the moment, and John thrives and looks forward to the moment."
Crawley is the only junior among the team's four captains, a group that includes senior attackman Ryan Brown (Calvert Hall), senior long-stick midfielder Derrick Kihembo and senior defenseman Matt O'Keefe. But Pietramala said Crawley has never been shy about leading the Blue Jays.
"He's been a very vocal guy since the day he arrived on campus," Pietramala said. "On the sideline, on the field, he's a leader by example. John's out there every single day. I saw him and [junior midfielder] Cody Radziewicz out there [Tuesday], and they were working on their shots within the motion offense, and those are two guys on their own. The tendency is to just go out there and shoot the shot you want, the shot that's fun.
"John and Cody were out there working on pick and repick and shooting shots on the run that they're going to get in a game. So I think the success that you're seeing John have is a direct reflection of what he puts into it. He's one of our hardest workers, he's one of our toughest guys. He's not the fastest guy, but he understands the offense and he understands what [assistant] coach [Bobby] Benson expects. So it's good to see a guy who puts the time in and the energy enjoy some success."