Johns Hopkins rallies past Maryland, 13-10, for Big Ten men's lacrosse championship

For The Baltimore Sun

No. 7 Johns Hopkins had led by as many as three goals in the Big Ten men’s lacrosse championship game Saturday at U-M Lacrosse Stadium. But after Maryland midfielder Will Snider scored his second goal in as many minutes to give his team a two-goal lead in the third quarter, the Blue Jays were in desperate need of a response.

Did they ever get one.

Attacker Cole Williams started a furious Johns Hopkins run with a goal seven minutes into the third quarter, and finished it off himself with three straight fourth-quarter tallies, the last of which put the Blue Jays up by five with just under five minutes to play.

From there, they didn’t look back, storming past the second-ranked Terps, 13-10, to claim the Big Ten title and spoil Maryland’s bid for a third straight conference crown.

The championship is Johns Hopkins’ second Big Ten tournament title and first since 2015.

Williams (Loyola Blakefield) scored five goals for the Blue Jays (11-4), but wasn’t alone — attacker Kyle Marr and midfielder Thomas Guida had three goals apiece with Guida’s hat trick being the first of his career. Goaltender Brock Turnbaugh (Hereford) claimed tournament Most Valuable Player honors after stopping 14 shots Saturday and 16 on Thursday against Ohio State.

“We have the utmost trust in Brock Turnbaugh,” Blue Jays defender Patrick Foley said. “He’s really stepped up as a goalkeeper for this team, and he’s the heart of our defense right now. He makes all the stops we need him to.”

The first half was a tale of two quarters, which was borne out statistically — Johns Hopkins took 13 shots to Maryland’s five, grabbed 12 of 16 ground balls, and won five of six faceoffs in the initial 15 minutes on its way to a 4-1 lead. The Terps, however, answered back in the second, outshooting the Blue Jays, 10-4, and crawling back to tie the score at 5.

Eighteen seconds after controlling the opening faceoff, Johns Hopkins midfielder Hunter Moreland (Boys’ Latin) raced into the attack area and caught twine from the right side.

Tim Rotanz provided a reprieve for Maryland (12-3) when he tied the game off a feed from midfielder Connor Kelly. But it proved to be short-lived, as a great save by Turnbaugh led to a transition goal by Guida less than a minute later.

Marr and Williams both got on the scoresheet in the first period to give Johns Hopkins a three-goal lead after the first 15 minutes. It could have been worse for the Terps were it not for their solid man-down defense. Ranked 10th nationally coming into Saturday, the unit stopped all three Blue Jays chances in the first quarter.

“I thought today they came out fast, they were aggressive — almost too aggressive at moments — but they were able to develop some confidence,” Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. “You score that first one and you get another one, it’s kind of like the weight of the world is lifted off your shoulders. And then I think they just relaxed and played, and when they do that, they’re a pretty good group.”

Quickly, though, the tide began to turn.

A minute into the second period, Maryland midfielder Bubba Fairman fired a rocket from the left side off of Kelly’s second assist. One minute after Fairman’s goal, Kelly faked past Blue Jays defender Owen Colwell and scored from close range.

After Colin Giblin tied the game for the Terps, Matt Neufeldt stole the ball from Johns Hopkins midfielder Marc Pion on the right wing. Neufeldt then found Kelly, who showed once again why he was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, scoring his second goal and fourth point of the half to put Maryland ahead, 5-4.

Marr scored his second on a nifty scoop shot to tie the game going into halftime. But the Terps didn’t lose any momentum in the third period, in fact adding to their control of the game.

But Williams’ goal in the third quarter opened the floodgates, as Marr tied the game with a snipe into the top corner of the net. Thirty seconds later, Marr hit midfielder Brinton Valis (McDonogh), whose goal gave Johns Hopkins a lead it would not relinquish. Guida then scored twice, the last of which came with just 12 seconds left in the quarter.

Maryland faceoff specialist Justin Shockey scored just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter to make the score 10-8, but it did little to stem the tide.

From that point on, it was the Cole Williams Show.

The sophomore clinched his hat trick two minutes after Shockey’s goal, and just 29 seconds after that, he scored on a step-down shot assisted by midfielder Connor DeSimone. Williams found the net for a fifth and final time with 4:56 to go, setting up deep in the crease and scoring off a feed from attacker Shack Stanwick (Boys’ Latin).

“He just needed to get that one goal to take the weight of the world off his back, and he got it tonight,” Pietramala said. “From there, we played good team offense, and he was the beneficiary of some good offense by the other guys, and he really stepped up when we needed him to in the fourth quarter.”

Maryland answered Williams’ fifth goal with the last two goals of the game, but it was too little, too late. Turnbaugh caught Kelly’s final shot with his stick, and threw the ball into the air in jubilation as time ran out.

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