BALTIMORE — In the final minutes of the 108th Maryland-Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse game Saturday night, Maryland’s leading scorer was on the sideline sick to his stomach. Next to him, the leading midfield scorer was being treated for cramps. On the night, neither scored a goal.
It was not a night for the offense, but it didn’t matter. The Terrapins held the Blue Jays scoreless over the final 29 minutes 17 seconds in a 9-6 victory before a sellout crowd of 8,500 at Homewood Field. The crowd included two NFL head coaches: Baltimore’s John Harbaugh and New England’s Bill Belichick watched from the Johns Hopkins sideline.
Both may have appreciated the stout defense by ninth-ranked Maryland (7-3). The Blue Jays took a 6-3 lead on a goal by senior Chris Boland 43 seconds into the second half. They didn’t score again. Johns Hopkins missed its final 11 shots and overall finished with just 29 shots.
In the 47 Maryland-Johns Hopkins games dating from 1974, Johns Hopkins has failed to reach 30 shots six times. It has lost five of those games — 2012, 2010, 2006, 1992 and the 1987 regular season game. The only win was a 6-5 overtime win in 2003.
Maryland’s plan was to let Johns Hopkins junior midfielders John Ranagan and John Greeley initiate the offense while being defended by shortstick midfielders. A longstick then would slide, or double-team, the midfielder to make him pass the ball.
“We’ve been at our best when we’ve slid,” Maryland Coach John Tillman said. “When we’ve struggled we have not slid. . . . You can see some of our games we’ve played, we’ve had dodgers go and no [defender] be there and they’ve made us pay.”
Maryland also got contributions from several reserves. The Terrapins used a four-midfielder offensive set for much of the night. Junior Kevin Cooper, normally a second-line midfielder, was the extra player — essentially he played attack. He finished with two goals and an assist.
There were others. The Blue Jays trailed 7-6 and had an extra-man opportunity with 6:46 left to play. They lost possession without getting a shot after sophomore Emmett Cahill, who plays man-down only, intercepted a pass by Boland. The turnover led to a goal by junior Owen Blye for an 8-6 lead with 5:05 left.
The Blue Jays won the ensuing faceoff and junior Mike Poppleton started a fast break. Poppleton raised his stick to shoot from 12 yards. But Maryland sophomore Taylor Morgan, a reserve defensive midfielder, dived and tipped the stick. The ball popped in the air, Maryland recovered and then put the game away on a goal by Cooper with 2:31 to play.
Blye finished with four goals as top scorer Joe Cummings was held to no goals and one assist by Johns Hopkins junior Tucker Durkin. Yet Cummings did what he could. As Johns Hopkins tried to clear the ball with less than two minutes to play, Cummings delivered a big hit to senior defenseman Gavin Crisafulli to dislodge the ball. The Terrapins recovered.
Greeley finished with three assists for the No. 3 Blue Jays (9-2). With the game tied at 6, Johns Hopkins had a goal disallowed after freshman Wells Stanwick was called for being in the crease before he scored. That, and a shot by sophomore Rob Guida that hit the crossbar, were the only two really good chances for the Blue Jays in the final 29 minutes.
“I don’t think we got tired; I think we got tight,” Johns Hopkins Coach Dave Pietramala said. “A valuable lesson for us to learn is to play to win, not to hang on and not lose. We didn’t play when things” got close.
●ARMY 9, NAVY 6: The Midshipmen were held scoreless in the fourth quarter of a loss to the Black Knights in West Point, N.Y. Garrett Thul scored five goals for Army (6-6, 3-2 Patriot League) in the win over Navy (5-6, 3-3). The score was tied at 6 until Devin Lynch’s goal with 9 minutes 51 seconds remaining.