Suddenly-Hot Hopkins Hands Towson First Loss
BALTIMORE — Just 13 months ago, the Towson men's lacrosse team was the talk of Baltimore after upsetting fifth-ranked John Hopkins in the crosstown rivalry for its first win against the Blue Jays since 1996.
John Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said this year, he didn't set out to avenge the loss, but rather to make up for a less-than-stellar performance from his team.
"I don't think revenge was what we talked about as much as we talked about how disappointed we were in our effort and our performance," Pietramala said. "Towson came out, and they punched us right in the mouth last year, so it wasn't about revenge or beating them because of last year. It was just about us trying to make amends for what we thought we was an unacceptable performance on our part."
Johns Hopkins turned the tables Saturday at Homewood Field, as the No. 11 Blue Jays controlled the No. 5 Tigers en route to a 14-8 upset victory. Attackmen Ryan Brown and Shack Stanwick, who managed just two goals and an assist combined in last year's matchup, combined for eight goals and four assists.
Johns Hopkins came out aggressive and continued to pressure the Towson defense throughout the game. It led to a sizable advantage in shots, ground balls and faceoffs. The Blue Jays (3-2) earned their second straight win by removing the Tigers (5-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten.
"The thing I'm most proud about was our effort," Pietramala said. "[Towson coach Shawn Nadelen] does a great job with them defensively. I thought we grinded out a win and we wore them down a little bit as the game went on."
Highlights: Towson at Johns Hopkins (NCAA Men)
Mar 12, 2016
Brown, and most notably Stanwick, found holes in a Towson defense that allowed just 5.6 goals per game before Saturday. Johns Hopkins' offense peppered goalie Tyler White with 39 shots from 10 different players.
White, who ranked fourth in the country in save percentage coming into the game, made seven saves to help keep the Tigers close.
"We just wanted to play our game, be smart, try to not turn the ball over, when we have it try to have those good possessions," said Stanwick, who finished with four goals and three assists. "They are a really good defense, a veteran defense, and you just kind of take what the defense gives you. [The back side of the defense] was something that was there and we just took advantage of it."
Much of that production can be attributed to Johns Hopkins' success against Towson's faceoff specialists Alec Burckley and Patrick Conroy. Hunter Moreland led a group of three Blue Jays, going 11-for-13.
Johns Hopkins began the fourth quarter with five consecutive faceoff wins, allowing the offense to outscore the Tigers 4-2 in that time period and push the lead to 11-7 with 6:53 remaining.
In a game that featured 25 turnovers, the Blue Jays were able to take advantage on the ground. Johns Hopkins grabbed 33 ground balls to Towson's 22, adding even more possessions and chances at goal.
Nadelen said his team's mistakes, including the 13 turnovers, contributed to the loss more than what the Blue Jays did to pressure them.
"We came out tight, which creates you to make a rushed decision or a poor decision," Nadelen said. "Holding your stick too tight on a pass, throwing it over somebody's head. There are a lot of different factors out there. I don't think it was as much of what they were doing as it was our own self-infliction."
Still, the Tigers managed to keep the deficit within three goals until the final seven minutes. Midfielder Ben McCarthy scored three times, all in the second half, to give his team a chance through the final quarter.
Leading scorer Joe Seider, however, was held to one goal on nine shots.
Conversely, Brown, who was held scoreless in a win against Princeton, capped the win with his fourth goal on an empty net. He said he doesn't care who scores, as long as it goes in the net.
"I'm more worried about going out and doing my job, and if I get those shots and I score four goals and we win, that's great," Brown said. "If I go out and have zero goals and two assists and we win, that's also great. It's not about me, it's more about our team."
Johns Hopkins will look to make it three straight wins when it hosts Syracuse on Saturday. Towson will need to get well quick with a trip to Ohio State on Tuesday.
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