BALTIMORE, MD – The 20th-ranked Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team got a career-high eight points from freshman Joey Epstein, a 21-of-30 performance at the X from sophomore Kyle Prouty and held off a second-half rally by 19th-ranked Rutgers for a 15-13 victory at Homewood Field Saturday afternoon. The win is the second straight and sixth in the last eight games for the Blue Jays, who improve to 6-4 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten. Rutgers had a two-game winning streak snapped and slips to 6-5 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
Johns Hopkins led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, 8-3 at the half and 12-6 late in the third quarter, but the Scarlet Knights made things interesting with a 5-1 run that quickly turned the six-goal deficit into a 13-11 game with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation. The second of Tommy Coyne’s two goals on the day with 10:21 remaining pulled Rutgers within 13-11 and was the fourth Scarlet Knight goal in the first four minutes of the final period.
The teams traded goals over the next five minutes, with Hopkins’ Joey Epstein and Kyle Marr sandwiching goals around the fourth of the game by Ryan Gallagher to give JHU a 15-12 lead with 8:48 on the clock before Adam Charalambides scored from close-range with 5:54 remaining and the Blue Jay defense hung up in front of the goal.
Rutgers had two chances down the stretch to pull within one, but a pair of shots went wide and the Scarlet Knights’ final offensive possession ended in a turnover on the crease with 2:19 remaining and the Blue Jays were able to run out the clock to secure the win.
A late game hold by the Blue Jay defense didn’t look like it would be necessary as Hopkins led 6-0 just over 21 minutes into the game. Epstein had a hand in four of the first six Blue Jay goals with one of his own and three helpers to help craft the six-goal lead.
The Scarlet Knights cut the deficit in half with a three-goal run that was capped by Charalambides’ first goal of the game with 91 seconds left in the half, but Hopkins struck twice in the final 15 seconds of the second quarter – one by Epstein and one by Cole Williams – to grab the 8-3 halftime lead.
Rutgers was within four at 10-6 after Gallagher’s second of the day midway through the third quarter, but back-to-back goals by Epstein just 57 seconds apart pushed the lead to 12-6 with 4:45 left in the period.
That six-goal lead held for just under three minutes before Owen Mead swept across the top of the box and picked the low far post to ignite the 5-1 run that would bring the margin to 13-11; that was the first of three times the ‘Knights would be within two in the final 10:21, but Hopkins never let Rutgers cut the deficit to one to nail down the victory.
Epstein finished with the career-high eight points as he matched his personal bests with five goals and three assists in the victory. Williams (3g, 2a), Kyle Marr (2g) and Kyle Prouty (1g, 2a) also finished with multi-point games for the Blue Jays, who got another strong performance on faceoffs from Prouty as he added a personal-best 16 ground balls and the three points (also a personal best) to his 21-of-30 showing on faceoffs.
Gallagher scored a team-high four goals, Charalambides added one assist to go along with his three goals and Kieran Mullins had six assists to lead the way offensively for Rutgers, which also got 14 saves from Max Edelmann, but couldn’t quite overcome the two six-goal deficits.
Johns Hopkins will return to action on Sunday, April 14 when the Blue Jays welcome Ohio State to Homewood Field. Faceoff is set for 12 pm that day and Johns Hopkins will honor its seniors prior to the game
Notes: Marr’s two goals give him 100 in his career – he is the 19th player in school history to score 100 career goals • Epstein’s eight points are the most by a Johns Hopkins player since Marr had nine against Michigan on April 22, 2017 • Prouty has won at least 15 faceoffs in four straight games and is 96-of-136 (.706) with 53 ground balls in the last seven games • 21 of Johns Hopkins’ 27 goals in the last two games have been assisted.