2012 NCAA lacrosse tournament: Maryland men use suffocating defense to beat Johns Hopkins and return to Final Four
By Christian Swezey,
The Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team trailed Maryland by six goals late in the third quarter of their NCAA quarterfinal on Saturday when they were warned for stalling. Try as they might and much as they needed, the Blue Jays simply could not get a good look at the goal.
Stall warnings were good for unseeded Maryland on offense and defense throughout their 11-5 victory over the No. 2-seeded Blue Jays before 13,390 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. With the win, Maryland advanced to the Final Four for the second consecutive year. They are seeking their first NCAA title since 1975.
Johns Hopkins (12-4) finished with 16 shots. It was their second-fewest in the NCAA tournament, a span of 40 years and 99 games. It also was their fewest against the Terrapins (11-5) since at least 1974, a span of 49 games.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Maryland Coach John Tillman said. “I’m happy for them, for our school and for our state, which prides itself on lacrosse. In typical Terp fashion we weren’t very pretty. We drive ourselves a little bit crazy but we stick together and we played hard for the entire game.”
Maryland used a deliberate offense that featured seven goals from the starting midfield. Maryland controlled the ball for roughly 40 minutes and was warned for stalling 12 times.
The portents for the win were apparent from the outset. Maryland sophomore goalie Niko Amato was mentored in high school by former Maryland all-American Brian Dougherty. His signature performance came when he made seven first-quarter saves, and 23 overall, in a 16-8 upset of No. 1 Johns Hopkins in the 1995 NCAA tournament.
Amato took a page out of that book.
The first possession for the Blue Jays yielded two shots. One came from all-American midfielder John Ranagan, who was defended by a starting offensive midfielder. The second was a point-blank attempt by sixth-year senior Chris Boland, the only member of the Blue Jays to have played in the Final Four.
Amato saved both and finished with four first-quarter saves. And when Maryland got the ball, they rarely gave it back quickly.
“They put a stranglehold on the ball,” Johns Hopkins Coach Dave Pietramala said. “They forced us to play a lot of defense. . . . They stalled most of the game. I’m not a guy that’s against that. You might get a guy who says it’s time for a shot clock. You do what you’ve got to do to win.”
Saturday’s game turned after the Blue Jays had tied it at 2 on an extra-man goal by sophomore Brandon Benn with 13 minutes 23 seconds left in the first half. The Blue Jays won the ensuing faceoff but turned it over with 12:39 left.
From then until halftime, the Blue Jays had the ball for 2:25 and took only one shot.
And the Terrapins went to work. Their 10:14 of possession yielded nine shots and four goals for a 6-2 lead. Snider scored twice and junior Landon Carr and senior Joe Cummings scored once each.
Johns Hopkins seemed to gain a little momentum with a defensive stand in the final possession of the half. Yet Maryland opened the second half with a goal by starting midfielder Mike Chanenchuk, a sophomore, for a 7-2 lead with 11:51 left in the third quarter.
Snider finished with three goals and linemantes Chanenchuk and junior John Haus added two goals each. Amato finished with seven saves. Boland finished with two goals for the Blue Jays. The Terrapins finished with a 26-15 edge in groundballs; Johns Hopkins also went 14 for 21 on clears after entering the game clearing 89 percent.
And of the post-game celebration in the locker room, Snider said: “There was a lot of jumping around. . . . but it ended pretty quickly. We know we have another game coming up.”
● LOYOLA 10, DENVER 9: In Annapolis, the top-seeded Greyhounds (16-1) advanced to the Final Four for the first time since 1998. The Pioneers (9-7) had two shots in the final one-plus minutes. But one attempt by freshman Wes Berg, from 12 yards, was saved by the foot of sophomore Jack Runkel with 1:06 left. The second, from junior Cameron Flint in the final seconds, was blocked by sophomore defenseman Joe Fletcher. Fifth-year senior Eric Lusby had five goals for Loyola. Senior Mark Matthews had three for the Pioneers.
Terps women defeat Loyola
Katie Schwarzmann had four goals and four assists, and third-seeded Maryland beat in-state foe Loyola, 17-11, in College Park to advance to the Final Four of the NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament.
Brooke Griffin had four goals and an assist for the Terrapins (18-3). Maryland will face the winner of Northwestern-Duke game, which was scheduled for late Saturday night.
The Terrapins trailed, 5-3, before going on a five-goal run in which Schwarzmann contributed a goal and two assists. The Terrapins led 9-6 at halftime, then let the margin slip to one goal before pulling away.
Brittany Dipper had eight saves, and four players contributed two goals to the Maryland attack.
Hannah Schmitt scored five goals for sixth-seeded Loyola (14-5). The Greyhounds are coached by Maryland graduate Jen Adams.
● SYRACUSE 17, NORTH CAROLINA 16: Michelle Tumolo scored with five seconds remaining in regulation as the host and No. 4 seed Orange (18-3) fought back from a two-goal deficit in the final three minutes to beat the fifth-seeded Tar Heels (15-4).
● FLORIDA 15, PENN STATE 2: In Gainesville, Fla., Brittany Dashiell and Nora Barry each scored three goals and the top-seeded Gators (19-2) advanced to the semifinals for the first time by beating the Nittany Lions (12-7).
— Associated Press