In lacrosse games the past two years, Syracuse University had fallen behind Johns Hopkins by seven, six and four goals, so the Orangemen figured that if today they prevented the Blue Jays from taking an early lead they could win the NCAA Division I championship.
Everything seemed on target when the Orangemen took a 3-0 lead after 10:50 of the first period. But Johns Hopkins held Syracuse scoreless for 33:30 and went on to an unexpectedly easy 11-4 victory before a sellout crowd of 17,500 at Brown Stadium.
Johns Hopkins has won the national lacrosse championship 41 times in 98 years.
The defensive effort by the Blue Jays (13-1) broke North Carolina's 1982 championship game record for stinginess. "That was definitely the best defensive job we've done all year," said Don Zimmerman, who has won championships in both his years as Johns Hopkins' coach. "We made it a half-field game, which was crucial because Syracuse is so dangerous in transition. And Larry Quinn proved again that he is the best goalie in the country."
Still, Quinn, 1984's player of the year, had to make only 13 saves, many not that difficult.
"They had the best long-stick middies (midfielders) I've ever seen," said Syracuse attackman Tim Nelson, Division I's all-time leading scorer with 325 points and the triggerman of Syracuse's 15.5 goals-per-game offense.
This game was a rematch of the past two lacrosse finals. Last year, Nelson tore knee ligaments in the first half of the final, but Emmett Printup, Dave Desko and Tom Nelson scored three goals each to rally the Orangemen within a goal before they lost, 13-10. Today, however, Syracuse could never recapture its momentum.
After falling behind, 3-0, Johns Hopkins scored four times in 2:03 of the first quarter, including three in one 34-second stretch. The Blue Jays began their comeback when midfielder Del Dressel scored an extra-man goal off a rebound. Then, Craig Bubier and John Krummenacker both went in unchecked on Syracuse goalie Tom Nims before Dressel scored again.
"We got up, 3-0, and I think the kids thought it was going to be easy," said Syracuse Coach Roy Simmons Jr. "They . . . might have forgotten that it's a 60-minute game."
Syracuse (14-2) seemed disconcerted in the second period as Hopkins cut off the transition game. Dressel and Brian Wood both scored for Johns Hopkins to make it 6-3 at the half.
Wood and freshman Mike Morrill beat Nims early in the third quarter to make it 8-3 and Hopkins was never threatened thereafter.