BALTIMORE, Md. - The University of Pennsylvania men's lacrosse team gave defending champion Johns Hopkins all it could handle through almost the entire first half of Saturday's NCAA Championship first-round game at the Blue Jays' Homewood Field. However, Hopkins scored a critical goal in the final 10 seconds of the first half, another in the opening 10 seconds of the second half, and never looked back in gaining a 13-3 win.
Hopkins (9-4), the fourth seed in the 16-team field, now moves on to a quarterfinal game next weekend in Stony Brook, N.Y. against either Syracuse or Harvard (who meet tomorrow night at the Carrier Dome).
Penn, meanwhile, sees its best season since 1988 come to a close at 10-4. This was the Quakers' second NCAA appearance in the last three years, and the success of this season came on the heels of a 2-11 campaign in 2005.
“You have to give credit to Hopkins,” said Penn head coach Brian Voelker. “They are big and athletic, and they have experience at this time of year in this type of environment. We gave them a run until halftime, but once they got the momentum going in the second half it became hard to stop them.”
Penn actually outshot Hopkins through the opening half, 18-15, but was unable to penetrate deep into the Blue Jays defense and could not find the net on most of those efforts -- just five of the 18 shots were on goal.
“They are a very strong defensive team,” said Voelker, himself a former standout defender at Hopkins. “We had some chances early on and we were unable to cash in on them, and I thought their goalie (Jesse Schwartzman) had a great day.”
The game had a frenetic tone to start, but all that resulted was two goals by Johns Hopkins in the first quarter. The first came on the Blue Jays' first possession, when Brian Christopher finished an unassisted isolation, and the second came with 1:34 left when Paul Rabil had an unassisted effort.
Penn -- which held a significant possession advantage throughout the first half -- finally got on the board just 37 seconds into the second quarter when senior Patrick Rogers beat his defender and slipped a shot just off the stick of Schwartzman into the far side. The Blue Jays responded with a goal from Rabil, but the Quakers struck back when D.J. Andrzejewski took a beautiful feed from his younger brother Craig Andrzejewski and stuck an easy point-blank shot.
However, Hopkins struck a final blow just seconds before the halftime whistle, clearing the ball and finding Kevin Huntley in front for the score. That made it 4-2 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
That seemed to revitalize the defending champions into the second half. The Blue Jays scored right off the opening faceoff in the third quarter (Drew Dabrowski from Rabil) and never looked back. Another goal by Huntley soon followed, and then three minutes after that Tom Duerr scored his sixth of the season.
Penn got one of those goals back when D.J. Andrzejewski notched his second of the day with 6:38 left in the quarter, but the Quakers would not score again in the quarter or on the day as Hopkins made the most of its possessions and Penn pressed offensively and coughed the ball up several times.
In the fourth quarter, Hopkins scored just nine seconds in when Jake Byrne finished a feed from Greg Peyse. The Blue Jays used that as a springboard to a dominating final stanza, scoring six times to win going away.
Duerr led the way for Hopkins, scoring three goals, while Rabil finished with two goals and two assists. Kevin Huntley also scored twice.
Gregory Klossner had nine saves in the Penn goal Saturday, while Schwartzman came up with 10 stops while allowing just the three goals. For the contest, JHU outshot Penn 39-31.