WEST POINT, NY – The 14th-ranked Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team held host Army to just one goal over the final 37minutes and the Blue Jays got four goals from junior Brandon Benn and three from freshman Ryan Brown in a 9-4 win over the Black Knights before a crowd of 10,340 at Michie Stadium Friday night. The win is the 19th straight for Johns Hopkins against Army.
Johns Hopkins will now wait until Sunday night to learn if it has earned an at-large bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The Blue Jays have qualified for the NCAAs in each of the last 41 years. That streak is the longest active streak of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in any Division I team sport.
The Blue Jays (9-5) led just 4-3 at the half, but scored twice in the third quarter to give themselves some breathing room. The second of Benn’s four goals opened the second half scoring as he was on the back end of a quick pass to the crease from sophomore Wells Stanwick to polish off an unsettled situation and give JHU a 5-3 lead at the 10:14 mark.
That lead held for just under five minutes, when Benn again capped a transition opportunity, this one off a slick pass to the backside from junior James Malm.
The Black Knights (8-6) ended a 27-minute scoring drought just over five minutes into the fourth quarter as Pat Brennan ripped a 10-yarder from the wing just inside the near post to slice the deficit to 6-4.
Any hopes for an Army comeback were dashed in the middle of the quarter as the Blue Jays struck for three goals in a four-minute span to put the game away.
Benn got his hands free in the slot and junior Rob Guida hit him in stride for his fourth goal of the game at the 7:46 mark and Brown polished off the second hat trick of his career with back-to-back goals in a 42-second span to close the scoring.
The Blue Jays needed just 66 seconds to open the scoring as junior Guida dodged to the middle of the field and drew a slide before slipping a pass to senior Lee Coppersmith, who ripped home a 12-yarder to stake JHU to the early lead.Fittingly, the strong defensive effort was capped when senior Pierce Bassett recorded the 500th save of his career on Army’s final shot of the game and the four goals allowed marked the third time in four games JHU has held the opposition to just four.
The one-goal lead held through the first quarter for the Blue Jays as Bassett posted four of his 14 saves on the night in the first period. His counterpart, sophomore Sam Somers, was also on his game early as he posted five saves in the opening 15 minutes.
The offenses got going in the second quarter as the teams combined for six goals, including five in the opening eight minutes of the period.
The Blue Jays doubled their lead 81 seconds into the second quarter on an unassisted goal by Stanwick, who got his hands free after dodging from behind the goal, but Army struck twice in a span of just 40 seconds to knot the game a two. Alex Newsome scooped up a ground ball in front of the cage and fired into an open net to end Army’s 18-minute game-opening scoring drought and All-American Garrett Thul fired home an extra-man goal 40 ticks later to tie the game.
Brown and Thul traded goals midway through the period to force the second tie of the game before junior Brian Benn fired home an extra-man goal of his own in the final four minutes of the half to give the Blue Jays the 4-3 halftime lead. The two third-quarter goals extended the lead and Army scored just Brennan’s goal after intermission.
#14 Johns Hopkins (9-5) 1-3-2-3/9
Army (8-6) 0-3-0-1/4
Goals: J: Benn-4, Brown-3, Coppersmith, Stanwick. A: Thul-2, Brennan, Newsome. Assists: J: Guida-3, Coppersmith, Greeley, Malm, Palmer, Stanwick. A: Ghidotti, Glesener, Perettine. Saves: J: Bassett-13, Schneider-1. A: Somers-11. Shots: J-35. A-32. EMO: J: 2-for-8. A: 1-for-7. Attendance: 10,340.