BALTIMORE, MD – The Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team used a game-ending 9-1 run to turn a 6-6 tie into a 15-7 victory over visiting Towson in the season opener for both teams at Homewood Field Saturday afternoon. The Blue Jays built an early four-goal lead, saw the Tigers respond to tie the game and eventually pulled away by allowing just one goal over the final 28 minutes.
The Tigers trailed 6-4 at the half, but pulled even with two goals in the first 66 seconds of the second half. From there, it was all Blue Jays.
Hopkins took the lead for good just 48 seconds after Towson had drawn even when junior Connor DeSimone shoveled one home from in tight off a nifty feed to the crease from freshman Owen Murphy. DeSimone made it a two-goal game just under four minutes later when he slipped inside a defender along the goal line and stuffed one past Towson goalie Tyler Canto to make it 8-6.
The lead was 10-6 after Garrett Degnon and DeSimone added two more strikes, but Towson temporarily halted the spree when Jon Mazza blew home an extra-man goal with just 18 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Any momentum the Tigers gained from the Mazza goal was short-lived as sophomore Matt Narewski won the ensuing faceoff for the Blue Jays and played give-and-go with senior Forry Smith, who found Narweski in the slot and he beat Canto with eight ticks remaining on the third-quarter clock to give the Blue Jays an 11-7 lead entering the final period.
Johns Hopkins would add fourth quarters goals from sophomore Evan Zinn, Smith, senior Cole Williams and Degnon to close out the scoring in the eight-goal victory.
Williams had scored two of his three goals in the game-opening 5-1 first-quarter run for Johns Hopkins. The first career goal for Murphy and tallies for Zinn and junior Brett Baskin accounted for the other first-quarter goals for the Blue Jays. Towson defenseman Koby Smith scored the Tigers’ only first-quarter goal.
The Tigers went to a zone defense in the second quarter and held the Blue Jays to just a Degnon tally in the period. Brody McLean, Jake McLean and the first of Mazza’s two goals on the day made it 6-4 at the half.
That score held for just 18 seconds in the third quarter before a James Avanzato tally made it 6-5 and Koby Smith added his second of the game just 48 seconds later to pull the Tigers even. The first of DeSimone’s two straight came 48 seconds after that and jump-started the deciding run for the Blue Jays.
Williams led the Blue Jay offense with a career-high seven points on three goals and a personal-best four assists. DeSimone and Degnon added hat tricks and Zinn added three points on two goals and one assist.
Junior Ryan Darby made 11 saves and allowed the seven goals in 57:33, while junior Kyle Prouty was 14-of-19 on faceoffs with eight ground balls. Narewski was 6-of-7 at the X and added the one goal and four ground balls.
Koby Smith had two goals and two assists and Mazza had the two goals for Towson, which also got 15 saves from Canto.
Johns Hopkins will return to action on Saturday, February 15 when the Blue Jays make the short drive to Loyola to take on the Greyhounds.
Notes: Johns Hopkins improves to 17-3 in season openers under head coach Dave Pietramala • The Blue Jays are 29-12 all-time in the month of February, 42-6 all-time against Towson and 78-11 all-time against teams currently in the CAA • Hopkins is now 81-19 in 100 games under Pietramala against teams from the state of Maryland • Johns Hopkins got five goals from its starting attack, five goals from its first midfield and five goals from non-starters.