The Hopkins lacrosse team had a very quick turnaround between their first game against Navy and their second contest against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers.
With only two days to prepare, it was no surprise that the Blue Jays got off to a slow start, but they bounced back very quickly for a decisive victory.
In the first quarter the Retrievers controlled the pace of the game, holding Hopkins to just two goals while picking apart the Jays’ defense to score two goals of their own. The game started off quickly with both teams scoring a goal within the first two and a half minutes. After that, it slowed down, with the defenses taking over for most of the remainder of the quarter.
With five minutes left in the quarter Hopkins took advantage of a penalty by UMBC to score their second goal of the quarter, courtesy of senior attack Wilkins Dismuke.
The lead did not hold for long, however, as the Retrievers took advantage of two failed clear attempts by the Blue Jays defense to score an equalizing goal with 1:43 remaining in the first quarter.
The second quarter is where the game was decided, as the Blue Jays took control of the game and outscored the Retrievers 7-0. It started with a goal by senior midfielder John Crawley, which opened the floodgates for the Jays, as they scored a total of four goals in the first five minutes of the second quarter.
They closed the quarter on a strong run as well, scoring three times in the final four minutes of the half. The seven goals showed off Hopkins’ depth and versatility, as they were all scored by different players.
While the offense stole the show during the second quarter, the Hopkins defense deserves credit for what the offense accomplished. The defense tightened up in the second quarter, recovering almost all free ground balls and succeeding on all of their clear attempts.
The momentum of the second quarter put the game away for the Blue Jays, and they eventually turned their 9-2 lead into a 15-5 victory. The win moved the Blue Jays to 2-0 on the season. In both of their victories, the game was close until a decisive quarter tipped the game in Hopkins’ direction.
In the season opener against the Navy Midshipmen, the game was tied 7-7 in the third quarter when a trick play goal ignited the Blue Jays to go on an 8-1 run the rest of the game. Hopkins managed to get that run earlier in the game against UMBC, but they would still like to get a complete game from the team.
After the game Saturday, head coach Dave Pietramala said that he was disappointed that his team had “another slow start.”
If this Hopkins team can get off to faster starts, they will be a tough team to play, since their diverse offensive attack stretches defenses. In the game Saturday, 10 different Blue Jays scored, a stark contrast to last year’s injury-plagued team that relied on the stick of star attacker Ryan Brown, who has since graduated.
This year’s team has scored 15 goals in each of its first two games, so if they can keep up the offense and stay healthy they will have a chance at both the Big 10 title and a deep playoff run.
One of the biggest keys to sparking the Blue Jays offense is the defense, which has focused on forcing turnovers and getting clears in order to feed the offense.
After the game against UMBC, senior defender Nick Fields discussed the need to clear the ball in order to give the offense a chance: “At the end of the day,” he said, “it’s just about execution.”
While Hopkins failed two clears in the first quarter against UMBC, they were successful on all other opportunities, going 14/16 on clears for the day.