Johns Hopkins' top-ranked lacrosse team overcame a rugged defensive effort by No. 6 Navy today at Homewood Field and escaped with a 9-6 victory, its 18th in a row and 43rd in 44 games.
Eight players scored for Hopkins (8-0) in its eighth straight conquest of Navy. Attacker Jeff Harris was the only Blue Jay to score twice, and his 17th goal of the year, at 3:23 of the fourth quarter, gave the Jays breathing room with an 8-6 lead. Peter Scott added the final goal on a fast break with 49 seconds remaining after the issue had been decided.
"This was the worst we've played so far, but Navy had a lot to do with that," said Hopkins Coach Henry Ciccarone. "The first quarter they were beating us to the ball all the time. We seemed to be getting into a lot of one-on-ones, and we were really out of it in the first half. We were fortunate to win."
For a homecoming crowd of 7,350, it was not a pretty game to watch because of both a sloppy field and a determined Navy effort to keep the ball away from Hopkins' top scorers, Jeff Cook and Brendan Schneck.
Navy (6-4) was able to keep control much of the first half, but the academy offense sorely missed midfielder Rich Wehman. One of only three Midshipmen scoring in double figures, Wehman missed his second straight game with a thigh bruise. Without him, Lance Schneck was able to close down Syd Abernethy, Navy's chief threat, with two goals and one assist.
Hopkins took a 5-3 lead as Brendan Schneck, Craig Cook and Harris scored second-quarter goals. The second of two goals by Navy's Phil Skalniak cut the margin to 5-4 at the half.
Jim Bianchi and Abernethy scored within 4:40 of the third quarter to give Navy its only lead, 6-5, but Abernethy's goal said a lot about Navy's offense today. Its organized attack showed little.
Defenseman Pete Riester fired a downfield pass to Bob Bianchi, who spotted Abernethy free in front of the cage. Earlier, Navy scored on a charge the length of the field by all-America defenseman Mike McLaughlin, who shot from above his head as he was dragged to the ground, beating Hopkins goalie Brian Holman.
"We couldn't run from the midfield. We couldn't get our offense untracked," said Navy Coach Dick Szlasa. "They really pressured us. They had sticks all around."
Navy's biggest problems came when it was in extra-man situations. The Mids had trouble even getting off shots when they were a man up. Navy had a manpower advantage 12 times, three times in the final six minutes, yet scored only two extra-man goals and did not score at all in the fourth quarter.