ANNAPOLIS, MD – The sixth-ranked Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team capped a tough stretch of three games in seven days with a gutty 6-5 win at Navy before a crowd of 8,655 at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium Friday night. The Blue Jays previously topped Maryland (11-6) and Mount St. Mary’s (17-2) to open the three-game run and the Midshipmen gave them all they could handle before Hopkins forced a late turnover and ran out the clock to run its winning streak to four games.
In a game that saw both teams score just twice in the second half, it was Navy that had momentum and possession late, but a pair of big plays – a save by senior Eric Schneider on a left-handed runner by Gabe Voumard and a deflected pass by junior co-captain Michael Pellegrino that eventually gave the Blue Jays possession in the final 15 seconds – proved to be the difference.
Schneider bailed the Blue Jays out with his 17th save on Voumard’s shot with 1:01 remaining as he swept across the field and got his hands free from 12 yards out. Still, the Blue Jays weren’t out of danger as they failed to clear the ball cleanly and Navy regained possession and called timeout with 34 seconds remaining.
The Midshipmen worked the ball around to Schneider’s left, but an Austin Heneveld pass to the middle was deflected by Pellegrino and junior John Kelly came up with the ground ball near midfield before Navy was called for a hold with 12 seconds remaining that effectively sealed the win for the Blue Jays.
Johns Hopkins never trailed in the game, but the Blue Jays could never quite put the Midshipmen away and needed the late-game heroics of Schneider, Pellegrino and the defense to seal the victory.
It took less than a minute for Hopkins to open the scoring as Brandon Benn finished from in tight on a nifty feed to the crease from Wells Stanwick. Voumard answered just under three minutes later as he had time and room from 12 yards and beat Schneider up high.
That score held until early in the second quarter, when Hopkins took a two-goal lead on the strength of back-to-back goals by Benn in a span of just 28 seconds. He scored from the wing at the back end of a transition chance that was jump-started by a Schneider save and sophomore Connor Reed then drew a slide off a dodge and found Benn alone five yards to the right of goalie John Connors, who gave up the inside post as Benn completed his 18th career hat trick.
T.J. Hanzsche and Tucker Hull wrapped goals around an extra-man tally by Ryan Brown for the Blue Jays to account for a 4-3 score at the half and Hopkins pushed that lead to three goals less than seven minutes into the third quarter as Holden Cattoni blew a low shot past Connors off a feed from Reed and Benn found the same spot midway through the period to make it 6-3.
The three-goal cushion was down to two when Sam Jones found the top corner from straight away in an extra-man situation with 5:22 remaining in the third and Hull added his second of the game nearly 15 minutes later to make it 6-5 with 5:27 left in regulation.
The Midshipmen fired four more shots at Schneider and the Blue Jay defense in the final four minutes, but two missed the mark and Schneider got the better of Hull and then Voumard to help seal Johns Hopkins’ ninth win of the season.
Schneider’s 17 saves are the second-highest total of his career and six of those 17 came in the final 15 minutes. He anchored a defense that held its third straight opponent to six goals or less.
Benn’s four goals push his career total to an even 100, which makes him the 17th player in school history to reach the century mark. Brown (1g, 1a) and Reed (2a) were the only other multi-point scorers for the Blue Jays.
Navy got 14 saves from Connors and the Midshipmen held decided advantages in shots (46-29) and ground balls (27-10), but Schneider and the Blue Jay defense got the stops they needed down the stretch to close out the win and polish off the rugged seven-day run.