This past weekend, the Hopkins men’s lacrosse team hosted the Israel men’s national lacrosse team in their first scrimmage of the fall. Hopkins, who finished 13th in last year’s rankings, took the game 12-6.
“It was very exciting for us to get out and play another team for the first time this year,” senior midfielder Hunter Moreland said. “Our University is very diverse, so it is great to see some of that diversity coming into the lacrosse world.”
The Blue Jays struck first, as senior attacker Shack Stanwick ripped a shot to the back of the net at the 13:46 mark in the first quarter. The goal came off of an assist from junior attacker Kyle Marr.
Less than three minutes later, Israel came back with a goal of their own to tie the game at 1-1. The game started off evenly matched, as the score would hold at one through the end of the first quarter. The Jays, however, would soon break open the scoring with eight of the next nine goals.
The first of the Blue Jays’ goals started at the 11:03 mark of the second quarter, when Marr fed senior midfielder Patrick Fraser for the Blue Jays’ second goal of the day, giving them a 2-1 lead.
Hopkins then extended their lead with two unassisted goals from sophomore attacker Cole Williams and another from Stanwick.
Israel added another goal, cutting the Blue Jays’ lead to 5-2 going into halftime.
Moreland was excited about how well the underclassmen performed on the field.
“There was a lot of good that came out of the scrimmage from our younger players,” Moreland said. “I believe this team has the ability to accomplish our goals and get to where we need to be,” he added.
Hopkins opened up the second half emphatically with four consecutive goals to put them up 9-2. Two of the goals came from senior midfielder Brinton Valis.
The Jays held at least a six-goal lead the rest of the way. They would end up adding three more insurance goals from three different players: sophomore attacker Forry Smith, freshman attacker Luke Shilling and senior midfielder Thomas Guida. With 12 freshmen still in the process of adapting to collegiate play and Head Coach Dave Pietramala’s system, Moreland described some of the extra efforts put forth by the more experienced members of the team.
“At any school, adapting to the intense level of play in division one is difficult coming from high school,” Moreland said. “I think we as upperclassmen have done a good job of going out of our way to connect with the incoming freshmen.”
Despite one goal late in the third quarter and three goals in the fourth for Israel, Hopkins proved to be too dominant for the Israel team, winning by a score of 12-6.
For Israel, who is in the middle of their October tour across the Northeast, the loss comes just one week after their victory against Boston University. The win was their first against a NCAA lacrosse program in the team’s history.
“It is great to see the sport expanding into different areas of the world, since lacrosse is dominated by the U.S. and Canada,” Moreland said. “Additionally, it was great to play against one of my former teammates and mentors, Eric Schneider.”
Schneider, who graduated in 2014, was the Jays’ first goalie to hold captain status since 2003.
Moreland also spoke about the expectations for the upcoming spring season, both for himself and the team.
“Personally, a goal for me is to stay healthy all year long. I am looking to enjoy every moment we have as a team in my final year,” Moreland added.
He also commented on what he would like to see from the team later this spring.
“For the team, our ultimate goal is always a national championship. Our team wants to get back to the success we had my freshman year, winning the Big Ten Championship and making it all the way to the Final Four.”
The Jays’ next fall action will be an event supporting the HEADstrong Foundation on Sunday, Oct. 15. Hopkins will host Army, the University at Albany and the University of Richmond at the Boys’ Latin School of Maryland in Baltimore, Md., starting at 12 p.m.