BALTIMORE, March 26 -- Johns Hopkins freshman attackman Kevin Huntley is still getting used to some of the traditions associated with playing for the school that used to house the lacrosse hall of fame. One of those traditions includes the group of graduates that throws a banana to the player they believe played the best game.
Huntley earned the fruit for his labors in the top-ranked Blue Jays' 9-7 victory over No. 2 Virginia before 8,321 Saturday at Homewood Field. Huntley finished with three goals and two assists and helped Hopkins win its 30th straight at home dating from a four-overtime loss to Virginia in 2001.
His performance was particularly important after the Blue Jays (5-0) lost first-team all-American attackman Kyle Barrie to a sprained left ankle midway through the first quarter. Huntley entered in the second quarter, and the Cavaliers (6-1) defended him with a short-stick midfielder.
He made them pay by scoring three straight goals in the fourth quarter, the last of which gave the Blue Jays a 9-6 lead with 6 minutes 31 seconds left.
"We put a short stick on him, and he took advantage of it a little bit," Virginia Coach Dom Starsia said. "He didn't look like a young player out there. He made a couple great plays."
The Cavaliers were shooting for their first 7-0 start since 1973. They were undone, however, by strong play from the Hopkins defense, especially sophomore goalkeeper Jesse Schwartzman and senior defender Tom Garvey. Schwartzman had seven saves in the first quarter and finished with a career-high 20.
Garvey held attackman John Christmas to no points and only three shots. Christmas entered with seven goals and six assists in his career against Johns Hopkins. That included three goals and four assists during a win in 2002 and the clinching goal in the final two minutes of the NCAA title game in 2003.
"He's a really talented player," Garvey said. "We had a lot of film on him and I had covered him before, so I knew some of his moves."
The Cavaliers trailed 7-6 following a goal by junior Matt Ward (Landon) with 8:51 left to play. By the time they got the ball back, Huntley had scored back-to-back goals and senior reserve midfielder Jamison Koesterer was on his way to winning the last four faceoffs of the game to keep Virginia at bay.
Ward finished with four goals and an assist and sophomore goalie Kip Turner (Severn) had five saves. Freshman Paul Rabil (DeMatha) had two goals for Johns Hopkins.
"I think we made their goalie's life easy by not taking great shots," Ward said. "He got some confidence and he got hot."
In the end, though, it was Huntley who received the accolades from the fans.
"I think the fruit is sort of like their game ball," he said. "Those fans go to every game, home and away. I'm not quite sure who they are, but it's pretty cool."