CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. — Johns Hopkins doesn't need to put together pieces of video for a highlight tape. All the Blue Jays need to do is break out the film of their opening round playoff game against Virginia on Sunday.
The Blue Jays scored goals using the hidden ball trick. There were magic acts performed by the Stanwick boys, Wells and younger brother, Shack. Hopkins ran high pick plays to perfection and whenever the Blue Jays wanted, their midfielders would blow by Virginia short-stick midfielders from behind cage for easy goals or assists.
With the 19-7 win over the Cavaliers before a crowd of nearly 1,800 at Klockner Stadium, Hopkins has won six straight and appears to be peaking heading into the NCAA Division I quarterfinals.
There was some disbelief because the Blue Jays had less-impressive wins over Penn State and Michigan during the streak, but there can be no doubt now. They simply demolished the seventh seed team in the tournament, on that team's home turf, to hand Virginia one of its worst postseason losses.
"Peaking, I would just want to think we're getting better and hopefully we're getting to the point of peaking," said Blue Jays attackman Wells Stanwick, who finished with two goals and two assists. "You have to be at this point if you want to keep advancing."
This was a complete effort by Hopkins (9-6). Not only did they dominate offensively, but goalie Eric Schneider played well and finished with 14 saves, three times stopping Virginia on fast breaks after faceoffs.
Schneider was helped by the Cavaliers' poor shooting as they repeatedly tried to beat him high, but his positioning was good and his hands were fast. Schneider's improvement is a big relief for the Blue Jays, who struggled with two goalies and inconsistent play early in the season. On Sunday, Schneider held Virginia without a goal for stretches of nearly 10 and 14 minutes.
"Everybody said it was time for a change and we went back and forth with the goalies, but we never gave up on Eric," said Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala. "He just had to get out of his own way, focusing more on the ball than the emotional part of the game. He had to take the emotion out of it."
The Blue Jays could do little wrong Sunday. They shot so well in the first half that Virginia goalie Matt Barrett didn't have a save. Hopkins was so dominant that backup Virginia goalie Will Railey drew rousing ovations whenever he made one of his six saves in the second half.
Blue Jays attackman Ryan Brown had four goals, and fellow attackman Shack Stanwick and midfielder Joel Tinney each had three. Besides Wells Stanwick, three other Blue Jays had two goals.
Hopkins was faster, stronger, bigger and their ball movement was magnificent. At times, they were proficient and other times it was showtime.
The Blue Jays led, 7-1, at the end of the first period and, 13-2, at the half as Brown and Shack Stanwick each had three goals, and midfielders John Crawley and Holden Cattoni each had two. Connor Reed, who had four assists, might have been the Blue Jays biggest weapon because Virginia had no one to contain him. The Blue Jays isolated on Virginia middies from behind the goal for three first-quarter goals, including two from Crawley.
"I thought we could manage those situations," said Virginia coach Dom Starsia. "Then they got two or three on us and we started to hedge a little. Then when we started to slide hard, they made us pay."
But the best goal in the half came from Wells Stanwick, who fired an over-the-shoulder shot while falling backward and over defenseman Davi Sacco with 3:12 left in the first period, and another came on a one-handed goal from Shack Stanwick, who cut across the crease on a feed from his brother with one second remaining in the same quarter.
"It was kind of like playing in the backyard, but those passes come from playing together a lot," Wells Stanwick said.
Shack Stanwick's goal at the end of the first period was devastating — "That one killed us," Starsia said — but the other ones hurt, as well.
"When you're losing like we were losing, they all sting," Virginia attackman Ryan Lukacovic said.