BALTIMORE — On a perfect spring afternoon at Homewood Field on Saturday, the Maryland men’s lacrosse team trotted out its four freshmen who play extensively on offense.
And after less than 12 minutes against Johns Hopkins, the Terrapins already were trailing and each of the four had committed a turnover.
Things did not get much better for fourth-ranked Maryland in an 11-6 loss before a sellout crowd of 9,553. Maryland’s talented freshman class includes starting attackmen Connor Cannizzaro, Matt Rambo and Tim Rotanz and second-line midfielder Colin Heacock.
On Saturday, the group went 0-for-7 shooting with one assist and seven turnovers.
“We definitely didn’t play our best game today,” said senior captain Mike Chanenchuk, a starting midfielder. “At the beginning of the game everyone was really jacked up and we definitely rushed things too much.”
By halftime, two major trends had emerged for the Terrapins (9-2) and ninth-ranked Blue Jays. Neither favored Maryland.
The Johns Hopkins even-strength defense was immense; it took Maryland 52 minutes 4 seconds to score a six-on-six goal.
“We thought we knew how they would try to attack us,” Johns Hopkins Coach Dave Pietramala said. “They are so good at grinding you down. . . . And the decisions we made on when to support were very good.”
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays, while not having an easy time on offense, had found a plan that worked.
They have one of the best outside shooting teams in the nation while Maryland has one of three defenses giving up fewer than seven goals per game.
Sophomore Ryan Brown in particular is one of the most impressive shooters in the nation. On Saturday, he was guarded primarily by sophomore Matt Dunn and did not take a shot until 4:55 was left in the third quarter.
But there were other players who were having success. By using screens and on-ball picks, the Blue Jays were able to get their shooters’ hands free for clean, low-angle looks on senior goalie Niko Amato (nine saves).
Johns Hopkins (7-3) took a 9-3 lead on a goal by Brown on a low-angle shot with 8:28 to play.
The Terrapins used a 3-0 run to close to 9-6 on a goal by sophomore Henry West with 5:02 left. But Maryland took only one shot after that.
Junior Wells Stanwick finished with three goals and an assist for Johns Hopkins. West, junior Joe LoCascio and senior Rustin Bryant each scored two goals for Maryland.
It all was to the great liking of the overflow crowd that included a notable Hopkins alum — former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg — and a notable Hopkins fan, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick.
Johns Hopkins missed the NCAA tournament last year for the first time since 1971. And Saturday’s win put it on track to be back in the postseason.
Meanwhile, the Terrapins have to get back on track to face Notre Dame next weekend, followed by the ACC tournament.
“We don’t feel real good right now,” Maryland Coach John Tillman said. “But we’re Maryland. We fight. And that’s the way its going to be.”
● ARMY 14, NAVY 7: Sophomore Connor Cook (St. Mary’s Ryken) had three goals and three assists for the Black Knights (8-3, 6-1 Patriot League) in West Point, N.Y.
Senior Sam Jones (Severna Park) and junior Gabe Voumard each scored two goals for the Midshipmen (4-7, 3-5).
Navy clinched a spot in the six-team conference tournament despite the loss. Meanwhile, Army won its sixth Army-Navy game in a row, its longest stretch in series history.