North Carolina's two-year reign as NCAA men's lacrosse champion ended today as Johns Hopkins took a five-goal lead in the first half and held on for a 12-9 victory in the NCAA tournament before 3,400 drenched fans.
The Blue Jays (12-1) advanced to a record seventh straight national final at Rutgers next Saturday against Syracuse, which beat Maryland, 12-5, today.
North Carolina (9-4) trailed late in the first half, 7-2, then rallied on Joey Sievold's goal on a pass from Dave Wingate, and Bill Ness' shot that bounced past goalie Brian Holman. Tough defense by John Krumenacker and Marty Bergin kept the Tar Heels from getting any closer by halftime.
Shortly after intermission, Mac Ford picked up a loose ball and pushed it past Holman to make it 7-5, but the Blue Jays matched that goal when Bill Cantelli found Henry Ciccarone Jr. (19 goals) open in front.
Just before the quarter ended, Carolina's Terry Martinello took a pass from Ness and scored, and in an extra-man situation, Jeff Homire fed Wingate close in for the goal that narrowed it to 8-7.
Hopkins' Dell Dressel retaliated, squirming between Sievold and Pete Voelkel and putting a drive past all-America goalie Tom Sears.
"I wasn't planning to go to the goal," Dressel said. "I think we had another play called. Sears anticipated my going to the right hand and he left the left side of the cage open. I think that gave us breathing room."
Dressel (Hopkins' top scorer with 42 points) raised the margin to 10-7, 11:17 remaining, with a shot that evaded Sears and went into the right corner of the net. The Blue Jays' defenders--Bergin, Jim Esposito, Steve Duban and freshman John DeTommaso--then took control by cutting off the Tar Heels with good positioning and tough checks.
Peter Scott's goal with 5:56 to play clinched the victory, Johns Hopkins' first over North Carolina since 1977.
"The key was Esposito shutting down Wingate," Coach Henry Ciccarone Sr. of Hopkins said. "He's killed us the last three times (North Carolina defeated Hopkins in the last two NCAA finals). Bergin did a real good job on (Mike) Burnett. When they closed it to one, we opened it right up again."