Thanks to a faceoff man who psychs himself up like baseball's Al Hrabosky and a midfielder who learned to play in Canada, Johns Hopkins dealt Maryland's national lacrosse title dreams a nasty blow yesterday.
Before a noisy crowd of 14,386 in Byrd Stadium, the Blue Jays rallied from a two-goal deficit in the second overtime to pull out a scintillating 21-20 triumph that left both fans and players exhausted.
Maryland's inability to protect two late-game leads now probably will come back to haunt it when the NCAA tournament seedings are announced today. The Terrapins, unbeaten and ranked second entering the game, could drop as low as fourth, which would mean they would have to face top-ranked Cornell in order to get into the May 28 final at Charlottesville, Va.
The best the Terrapins can hope for is a No. 3 seed, which would give them a home game in the first round Wednesday and then a probable rematch Saturday against Hopkins in Baltimore.
"We've really got to pull ourselves up now," said Maryland coach Bud Beardmore. "We blew a lot by not winning this one. There was absolutely no benefit from losing. But I think they'll have to reckon with us before it's over."
Maryland met its downfall today when it couldn't handle Hopkins faceoff specialist Bob Maimone, a 5-foot-9, 195-pound bulldog who paces back and forth before each of his midfield ouels.
"I'm getting myself psyched up," he explained. "I'm going over every move in my mind." Whatever he does, works. He won the first three faceoffs in the second overtime to allow Hopkins to erase a 20-18 Terrapin margin and tie it at 20-all.
When he finally faltered and was beaten by Terrapin Lance Kohler, Hopkins still wound up with the ball. Kohler tried to go in alone but lost the ball out of bounds with 47 seconds left.
Hopkins wanted to go inside to attackman Rich Hirsch, who already had scored three goals, but switched quickly to sophomore midfielder Dave Huntley when Huntley, who stands 6-foot found himself covered by a smaller defender.
Huntley, a native of On'ario, unleashed a vicious ground shot from 20 yards out that skipped past startled goalie jake Reed and into the net with 13 seconds to go. The score, Huntley's fourth of the game, set off a wild Hopkins celebration, which continued after Maimone won yet another faceoff to run out the clock.
Maryland appeared to have things well under control early in the second half but Hopkins scored five unanswered goals to grab a 14-12 lead and make a game of it.
With senior attackman Mike Hynes acting as a steadying influence, Maryland crept back, tying it up at 14-all and then going ahead again, 17-16, on a score by John Lemon off a Hynes feed. It was Hynes' fourth assist of the fourth period.
But Hopkins knotted it again when Mike O'Neill put in his fifth goal with 2-31 to go. Both teams then botched scoring opportunities before the Blue Jays gained possession on another Kohler mistake with 11 seconds left in regulation.
Former Navy midfielder Bob DeSimone tried to dodge down the middle for a solo score but the ball was knocked from his stick on a fine defensive play by Maryland's Rich Shakespeare as the gun sounded.
The first of two mandatory overtime periods belonged to Maryland, which quickly jumped ahead, 19-17. The Terrapins maintained their superiority, 20-18, in the second extra period on Tony Morgan's goal off another Hynes pass. Then Maimone took over in the faceoff circle and Hopkins took over the flow of the game.
"We depend on Mo (Maimone) so much that we take him for granted," said DeSimone. "With us, it doesn't matter who scores. He just matters that he gets the faceoff. He gets us going."
Maimone had gotten off to a slow start, losing most of his early game battles with Maryland's Bob Ott. But by the overtime, he had gotten what he said was "a second wind and a good idea when the ref would blow his whistle. I was just quicker than Ott when it counted."
Huntley and DeSimone, who play on the same midfield, combined for eight goals. Their play demonstrated a new twist for Hopkins, which for years has relied almost solely on star attackmen for scoring punch. But this Blue Jay team can hurt opponents from both the midfield and attack.
"It really hurts to lose, especially to Hopkins," said Beardmore."And we know we should have had it. We were up on them and we couldn't keep it going. Now we only have four days to forget it and think about the tournament."