BALTIMORE, MD – The Johns Hopkins starting attack unit of Chris Boland, Zach Palmer and Brandon Benn combined for 11 goals and seven assists and junior Mike Poppleton won 20-of-26 faceoffs to lead the Blue Jays to a 19-9 victory against visiting Stony Brook in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament at Homewood Field Sunday afternoon. The win propels the Blue Jays into the NCAA Quarterfinals for the 39th time in 41 trips to the NCAA Tournament. Hopkins will take on the winner of the Maryland-Lehigh game, which will be played later tonight at Lehigh.
The victory also improves Hopkins’ record to 44-4 overall and 11-0 under head coach Dave Pietramala at home in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Jays (12-3) also reach the 12-win mark for the seventh time under Pietramala.
The Blue Jays jumped on the America East Champion Seawolves early as they led 3-0 before the game was four minutes old and 7-1 at the end of the first quarter. If not for some big saves from Stony Brook’s Sean Brady in the opening 15 minutes, the lead may have been bigger. Possession was decidedly in the Blue Jays’ favor in the first quarter as Poppleton won all eight of the faceoffs he took in the opening period and JHU was 9-for-9 overall.
Boland needed less than 14 minutes to notch his 12th career hat trick as he scored the first, fourth and seventh goals of the game for the Blue Jays, who answered Mike Rooney’s extra man goal midway through the period with four goals in a span of just under two minutes to push a 3-1 lead to 7-1. An extra-man goal by Boland ignited the quarter-ending spree, while junior John Ranagan and Benn added consecutive tallies before Boland closed his first quarter hat trick off a skip pass from senior Marshall Burkhart right off the faceoff after Benn’s strike. The goal was one of two JHU scored less than 10 seconds after a faceoff in the opening period.
The Seawolves (7-10) settled down in the second quarter and were outscored just 5-4 to make it a 12-5 game at the half. A pair of Russ Bonanno goals in the first 11 minutes of the period led the way and Stony Brook had the deficit at four once and five on two other occasions in the quarter, but back-to-back goals by Palmer in a 75-second span late in the period gave the Blue Jays the 12-5 lead.
Any hopes of a Stony Brook comeback were dashed early in the third quarter as Benn scooped up a loose ball in the slot and fired home his third of the game just under two minutes into the half and sophomore Rob Guida added an unassisted tally three minutes later to make it 14-5. Greg Edmonds’ second goal of the game with 5:57 remaining in the third quarter gave the Blue Jays a 10-goal lead before Matt Bellando and Jeff Tundo struck for back-to-back goals in the final five minutes to make it 15-7 entering the final quarter.
A three-goal flurry for he Blue Jays in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter was capped by Wells Stanwicks’ only goal of the game before Bellando and Robbie Campbell sandwiched goals around Hopkins’ final tally of the game to account for the 19-9 final score.
Boland tied his own school record for most points in a first round NCAA Tournament game with seven as he added four assist to his three-goal showing. Benn tied Boland’s record for most goals by a JHU player in the first round with five on the day. In addition to Boland (3g, 4a), Benn (5g) and Palmer (3g, 3a), the Blue Jays got a pair of goals from both Ranagan and Edmonds, while Guida, Stanwick and Michael Pellegrino added one goal and one assist each.
Poppleton added 13 ground balls to his 20-of-26 showing on faceoffs and the Blue Jays won 24-of-31 overall with freshman Drew Kennedy winning 4-of-5. Hopkins held advantages in shots (40-21) and ground balls (34-21) and tuned the ball over just six times.
Stony Brook had five players register multi-point games with Bellando’s three goals and one assist leading the way. Bonanno added the two goals and Campbell and Tundo chipped in with one goal and two assists each. Brady posted nine saves in just under 49 minutes of action, but the Seawolves never scored more than two consecutive goals in the game and couldn’t dig out of the six-goal deficit at the end of the first quarter.
The 19 goals are a season-high for the Blue Jays and the most for Johns Hopkins in an NCAA Tournament game since May 21, 2005, when Hopkins topped Massachusetts 19-9 in an NCAA Quarterfinal game at Homewood Field.
Stony Brook (7-10) 1-4-2-2/9
#7 Johns Hopkins (12-3) 7-5-3-4/19
Goals: S: Bellando-3, Bonanno-2, Tundo, Campbell, Rooney, Belton. J: Benn-5, Boland-3, Palmer-3, Ranagan-2, Edmonds-2, Guida, Pellegrino, Stanwick, Coppersmith. Assists: S: Campbell-2, Tundo-2, Bellando, Laforet, Rooney. J: Boland-4, Palmer-3, Burkhart, Guida, Pellegrino, Stanwick. Saves: S: Brady-9, Keneally-1. J: Bassett-5, Burke-0. Shots: S-21. J-40. EMO: S: 2-for-4. J: 2-for-4. Attendance: 1,676.