TOWSON, MD – Visiting Johns Hopkins got eight goals and four assists from its starting attack unit and held host Towson scoreless for nearly 27 minutes midway through the game as the fourth-ranked Blue Jay lacrosse team posted a 12-6 victory over the Tigers Saturday night at Unitas Stadium. The win is the 18th straight for the Blue Jays against the Tigers and improves Hopkins' record to 2-0 on the year. Towson slips to 0-2 with the loss.
The Blue Jays scored the final two goals of the first half to give themselves a 6-3 halftime lead and then added the first four of the second half to push out to what proved to be an insurmountable 10-3 lead early in the fourth quarter.
All three of the Blue Jays' goals in the third quarter came in the first five minutes of the period as Hopkins seized control of what had been a tight game. An unassisted goal by Brandon Benn less than three minutes into the second half was followed less than a minute later by an extra-man goal from freshman Ryan Brown. When junior midfielder Rex Sanders ripped a shot home less than 90 seconds later after a beautiful split dodge at the top of the box, the Blue Jays had doubled their three-goal halftime lead.
Benn capped a four-goal night with an extra-man goal of his own just 22 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it 10-3, but Towson goal back-to-back goals from Greg Cuccinello and Robby Zoppo in a 36-second span to slice the deficit to 10-5.
The Tigers would get no closer than five the rest of the way as Phil Castronova and Zach Palmer sandwiched goals around an extra-man goal by Cory Dobyns in the final seven minutes to account for the 12-6 final.
The third quarter surge matched a game-opening spree by the Blue Jays as sophomore Wells Stanwick helped stake JHU to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter as he had a hand in all three JHU strikes in the opening 15 minutes. He needed less than a minute to open the scoring as senior John Ranagan found him cutting across the crease and he went behind the back to give JHU a 1-0 lead just 53 seconds into the game.
The 1-0 lead held for more than eight minutes before Stanwick came from behind the goal and beat Towson goalie Andrew Wascavage from in tight to make it 2-0 and then completed his three-point first quarter with a nifty pass to the crease that Benn one-timed home to give the Blue Jays the three-goal lead.
The Tigers grabbed some momentum and trimmed the deficit to 4-3 with a 3-1 run in the first six minutes of the second quarter. An extra-man goal from Dobyns put the Tigers on the board with 13:19 remaining in the period, but senior Palmer answered with JHU's first man down goal since 2008 less than a minute later to push the lead back to three.
Two-thirds of that three-goal lead were gone less than three minutes later as Cuccinello and Thomas DiNapoli scored unassisted goals from virtually the same spot on the field just to JHU goalie Pierce Bassett's right to make it 4-3 with more than nine minutes remaining in the opening half.
The Blue Jays pushed the lead back to three by halftime as Stanwick fed Benn for his second of the game and junior Rob Guida blew a laser past Wascavage with the Blue Jays man-up to make it 6-3 at the half.
The lead went from three to six less than five minutes into the second half as JHU used a 6-0 run bridging the second and third quarters to put the game away. The Tigers were held scoreless from the 9:32 mark of the second quarter until Cuccinello's goal early in the fourth.
Stanwick's four points (2g, 2a) are a career-high, while Benn's four goals were one shy of his career high and mark his sixth career hat trick. Palmer rounded out JHU's trio of starting attackmen with four points on two goals and two assists.
Senior Mike Poppleton was again strong on faceoffs as he won 12-of-17 and grabbed six ground balls, while Bassett posted 12 saves in goal for the Blue Jays, who held advantages in shots (40-38) and ground balls (32-24).
Dobyns and Cuccinello led Towson with two goals apiece and Wascavage posted 13 saves in goal, but the Tigers solved Bassett only three times in even strength situations and the mid-game drought was more than they could overcome.
#4 Johns Hopkins (2-0) 3-3-3-3/12
Towson (0-2) 0-3-0-3/6
Goals: J:Benn-4, Stanwick-2, Palmer-2, Sanders, Brown, Castronova, Guida. T: Cuccinello, Dobyns, Zoppo, DeNapoli. Assists: J: Palmer, Ranagan, Stanwick, Guida. T: Mabus-2, Hodgson, Zoppo. Saves: J: Bassett-12. T: Wascavage-13. Shots: J-40. T-38. EMO: J: 3-for-4. T: 3-for-5. Attendance: 1,687.