BALTIMORE, MD – The fourth-ranked Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team scored four goals in a span of less than three minutes midway through the third quarter to break open a close game and the Blue Jays went on to a 15-6 victory against Siena in the season-opener for both teams at Homewood Field Friday evening. The win is sixth straight in a season-opener for Johns Hopkins, which also improved to 5-0 all-time against the Saints.
Hopkins led 6-4 and neither team had scored for more 11 minutes when junior midfielder Rex Sanders ignited an 8-1 Blue Jay run with the first of his career-high two goals with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter. Less than three minutes later the Blue Jays had added the second of Wells Stanwicks’ two goals and the second and third goals of the night for junior Brandon Benn to push the lead to 10-4 with just under four minutes remaining in the period.
Siena’s Conor Prunty, who accounted for four of Siena’s six goals on the night, finally stopped the spree with an unassisted goal just over a minute after Benn’s third tally, but short stick defensive midfielders Phil Castronova and James Malm combined for a transition goal with 80 seconds left in the period to make it 11-5 entering the final quarter.
Any hopes for a Siena comeback were dashed less than five minutes into the fourth quarter as Sanders and senior midfielders John Ranagan and Lee Coppersmith all struck for unassisted goals to push the lead to 14-5. The teams traded goals in the final 10 minutes to account for the final score.
A second-half surge didn’t seem like it would be necessary for the Blue Jays early as they answered a game-opening goal by Prunty with five unanswered goals over the final 8:39 of the first quarter to grab a 5-1 lead. Benn, Coppersmith, freshman Ryan Brown, Ranagan and Stanwick all scored in the opening 15 minutes for the Blue Jays, who outshot the Saints 19-5 in the opening period.
Despite the 5-1 deficit, Siena’s Matt Sharp was playing well in goal and helped the Saints draw within 6-4 by halftime as he posted nine first-half saves, including five in the second quarter, when Siena outscored the Blue Jays 3-1.
A Nate Barry strike trimmed the deficit to 5-2 and Prunty then sandwiched his second and third goals of the night around the first of Ranagan’s three goals to account for the 6-4 halftime score. That score stood until Sanders’ goal ignited the 8-1 run that put the game away for Johns Hopkins.
Ranagan’s three goals and one assist paced the Blue Jays, who also got three goals from Benn and two goals each from Stanwick, Coppersmith and Sanders. Brown (1g, 1a), John Greeley (2a) and Zach Palmer (2a) all added multi-point games for the Blue Jays, who scored their most goals in a season-opener since 1995 (a 15-14 win over Princeton).
Senior Mike Poppleton won 8-of-10 faceoffs and sophomore Drew Kennedy won 5-of-6 to fuel a possession game that heavily favored Johns Hopkins, which held strong advantages in shots (58-26) and ground balls (39-17). Senior Pierce Bassett posted 12 saves in goal before giving way to Eric Schneider, who posted a pair of saves in just over four minutes of action. The 58 shots are the most by a Johns Hopkins team since March 9, 2004, when the Blue Jays had 61 in a 17-6 win against Albany.
Sharp was just that as he ended with a career-high 20 saves for the Saints. Prunty’s four goals came on just five shots, but the Saints’ starting attack unit of Danny Martinsen, Richie Hurley and Colin Clive combined for just one goal on nine shots and Siena twice had scoring droughts of longer than 14 minutes.
Notes of Interest: The game was the earliest ever played by Johns Hopkins, which improved to 14-3 all-time in games played in February • The Blue Jays are now 11-2 in season openers under head coach Dave Pietramala.
Siena (0-1) 1-3-1-1/6
#4 Johns Hopkins (1-0) 5-1-5-4/15
Goals: S: Prunty-4, Barry, Hurley. J: Benn-3, Ranagan-3, Coppersmith-2, Sanders-2, Stanwick-2, Brown, Castronova, B. Kelly. Assists: S: Barry, Curry. J: Greeley-2, Palmer-2, Brown, Malm, Ranagan. Saves: S: Sharp-20. J: Bassett-12, Schneider-2. Shots: S-26. J-58. EMO: S: 1-for-5. J: 2-for-6. Attendance: 503.