#3 Men's Lacrosse toppled by Tar Heels

By ERICK SUN | May 7, 2012

With wins over then number-five Syracuse and top-ranked Virginia in the past week, the Hopkins men's lacrosse team grabbed the number one spot in both the InsideLacrosse/Nike Media Poll and the Coaches Poll for the 104th time in program history. However, the dynamic University of North Carolina attack, led by freshman standout Jimmy Bitter, was relentless against a Hopkins defense that perhaps was poised for a letdown after two emotional victories the previous week. As a result, Hopkins came out flat against the Tar Heels at the Konica Minolta Big-City Classic, letting the Tar Heels take a quick 4-2 lead through most of the first quarter. While junior goaltender Pierce Bassett made several key stops, the defense could not handle the quickness of UNC's Bitter who had two goals in the first 15 minutes. The freshman routinely forced the Hopkins defense to send multiple defenders his way in an attempt to slow down his drives to the net. His performance was reminiscent of the play of his older brother, Billy Bitter, who had four goals against Hopkins in last season's matchup. Despite the difficult start for Hopkins, two quick goals in the final two minutes of the opening frame allowed the Blue Jays to tie the game up at 4-4. Senior team captain Chris Boland made a triumphant return from a shoulder injury in the season opener, which caused him to miss seven games. The sixth year senior made his mark early, scoring and assisting on his team's third and fourth goals, respectively. In the second quarter, the Blue Jays were unable to capitalize on this momentum. UNC Sophomore R.G. Keenan dominated at the face-off "X," going 18- 25 on the day and allowing the Tar Heels to work multiple possessions against the Blue Jay defense, the large difference in timeof- possession ultimately wearing the defense down. Hopkins was out-shot 22-2 in the second quarter, and the discrepancy showed on the scoreboard. By the time the two teams were heading for the locker room, the Tar Heels had outscored Hopkins 4-0 in the quarter for a 4-8 lead. While the four goal deficit would certainly be a challenge to overcome, head coach Dave Pietramala must have done something to fire his team up during the halftime break. After a dismal second quarter, the Blue Jays took the field in the third looking more like the team that had run past Syracuse and Virginia on the way to an 8-0 record. Goals from sophomore Brandon Benn, junior Lee Coppersmith and sophomore Greg Edmonds brought the Blue Jays within one of UNC at 7-8. With more possession and an outstanding effort from the defense, Hopkins was able to fight their way back against a Tar Heel team looking to clip the wings off the top ranked Blue Jays. file photo The Blue Jays return to action Thursday night at 7 PM against Albany. #3 Men's Lacrosse toppled by Tar Heels Women's tennis rolls to sweep over Bears file photo Sophomore Hailey Hogan was the reigning conference player of the week. The comeback was short-lived though, as UNC would use a 3-5 fourth quarter to down the Blue Jays 9-13 in front of a record setting crowd of 25,934 people at the Metlife Stadium. The loss was the first regular season loss for the Blue Jays dating back to last season, a run of 15 straight games. After the game, in reference to the relentlessness of the Tar Heels Pietramala told InsideLacrosse. com "[t]hey played like a hungry team." If any good news can come of the game, it is that after missing nearly the entire season, Boland was able to not only return, but also play well. As the oldest player on the team, his presence on the field is invaluable for his play and his leadership abilities. Furthermore, the loss offers an opportunity for the team to finally face some adversity in what has been a relatively smooth 2012 season. While no loss can ever be considered a good thing, this may allow the team to find areas for improvement and to gain some necessary experience for the post-season. The Blue Jays will look to return to form tonight against Albany University on Homewood Field.

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