"They definitely have our number right now," said Maryland midfielder Barry Mitchell.
To be exact, the Terrapins' number versus Johns Hopkins 15 0-4 over the last two years, the latest defeat a 17-11 decision yesterday in the NCAA lacrosse semifinals at Homewood Field.
The favored Blue Jays kept their mistakes to a minimum, cashed in on a string of Maryland penalties to erase a 6-2 deficit and then took control while the Terps lost their cool on a sun-baked afternoon.
Weather and game conditions were ideal for losing one's cool. Johns Hopkins' bandleader, 82 -year-old Conrad Gebelin, ambled onto the field during the game, shaking his walking cane at a referee after Maryland's George Miller and Hopkins' Mike O'Neill exchanged punches.
Miller was sent to the penalty box for slashing and O'Neill for unsports-manlike conduct, and Gebelin was escorted by an assistant coach to the stands.
"I lost my head out there," said Miller, bemoaning an expensive proposition for one who plays wearing a diamond earring. "I was just hustling."
The altercation earmarked a span in the second quarter when the second-ranked Blue Jays took advantage of 5 1/2 minutes of Maryland penalties to outscore the Terps, 7-3, for a 9-7 lead at the half. Two of JHU's seven goals in the quarter came during extra-man situations. Maryland's biggest lead was 6-2 on three straight John Lamon goals.
But when the Terps set up house keeping in the penalty box, JHU ran off five straight goals for a 7-6 lead, and, although Terry Kimball's crease shot tied it for Maryland, 7-7 the Terps never led again.
Terrapin captain Bob Ott and Kimball, who leads the squad with 41 goals, were injured in the second half. Their absence and the relentless sun only added to the Terps' woes in the second half. After pulling to within 10-9 four straight Hopkins goals, two by Dave Huntley, clinched it.
O'Neill had a splendid afternoon, with four goals and four assists. Afterwards, he said, "We wanted the game more than they did. We are in better physical condition. I was hoping for a hot day."
"You can't play catch-up against Hopkins," said Maryland Coach Bud Beardmore, who ended his ninth season at 9-2.
"They held their composure when they were down, which is someting we used to do.The second period was our downfall with that series of penalties. Hopkins is a senior-oriented team. They don't make mistakes and you can't make mistakes against them."
"When the penalties started coming," said Miller, "our composure went down a little. This was a heady game, a lot of words being said."
"We kind of lost our cool," said Mitchell. "They have very, very good execution."