BALTIMORE, MD – The Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team had seen a similar effort from senior Hunter Moreland in each of its last two games. Moreland had dominated on faceoffs against Loyola and North Carolina, only to see the Blue Jays fall both times.
Moreland and his teammates made sure there was no repeat on Saturday night at Homewood Field as the Blue Jays rode a 20-of-25 performance from their senior leader and a balanced scoring attack to a 16-9 victory over visiting Princeton. The win evens the Blue Jays’ record at 2-2, while the Tigers slip to 1-2.
Moreland’s dominance at the X helped turn a 6-5 Blue Jay lead at halftime into a 16-7 lead late in the game. He won 4-of-5 in the third quarter and then 6-of-7 in the fourth quarter as Hopkins scored 10 of the first 12 goals of the second half.
Freshman Connor DeSimone, who had isolated behind the goal and dodged for an unassisted goal to close the first half, opened the second-half scoring when he swept across the top of the box and fired home his second of the game just 74 seconds after halftime.
When sophomores Cole Williams and Forry Smith scored 29 seconds apart a short time later, the Blue Jays had a 9-5 lead and had extended their run to five in a row.
Princeton’s Michael Sowers, who finished with three goals and three assists, wrapped his second and third goals of the game around Smith and Williams strikes that bridged the third and fourth quarters to make it 11-7. By the time Princeton found the back of the net again with 65 seconds left in the game, the Blue Jays had tacked on five straight in a seven-minute span to take the 16-7 lead.
Williams, who scored a career-high four goals, tallied twice during the spree, which also included strikes from Joel Tinney, Kyle Marr and Brett Baskin.
The second-half surge for the Blue Jays came after a first half that saw Hopkins jump to a 3-0 lead, fall behind 5-4 and then hold Princeton scoreless for the final 11 minutes.
Senior Brinton Valis ignited the game-opening three-goal run as he scored the first and third goals in the opening 4:59, the first on an assist from Marr and the second from Tinney.
The three-goal Blue Jay lead was gone quickly as Chris Brown, Sowers and Connor McCarthy scored in a three-minute span midway through the first quarter and the Tigers carried a 4-3 lead into the second quarter after Sowers found Cordrey Emmet cutting down the ally and Emmet scored from five yards out.
An extra-man goal by Marr and Robertson’s first of the game a short time later made it 5-4 Princeton, but Valis completed his hat trick 58 seconds after Robertson’s goal and DeSimone’s first goal with 34 ticks left before intermission was the second of what became a five-goal Blue Jay run that gave them a lead they would never relinquish.
Tinney (1g, 4a) and Marr (2g, 3a) paced the Blue Jays with five points apiece, while Wiliams (4g) and Valis (3g) were two of the Blue Jays’ other five multi-point scorers.
Moreland’s 20 faceoff wins and 14 ground balls were both career highs and he is the first Johns Hopkins player to win 20 or more faceoffs in a game since Drew Kennedy won 21 against Syracuse in 2014.
Sowers paced Princeton with his six-point (3g, 3a) effort, while Robertson (2g, 1a) and McCarthy (2g) also had multi-goal games. Senior Tyler Blaisdell totaled 11 saves in goal for the Tigers, but Princeton was outshot 52-30 and couldn’t overcome Moreland’s effort at the X.
Johns Hopkins will return to action on Saturday, March 10 when the Blue Jays travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange (1 pm).
Notes: Senior Shack Stanwick had one goal and one assist for the Blue Jays to extend his scoring streak to 52 games; the streak is the third longest in the nation and four shy of Terry Riordan’s school reoccrd of 56 (1992-95) • Johns Hopkins was 3-for-6 on extra-man.