Infamously known as ‘Lacrosse’s Greatest Rivalry’, No.15 Hopkins squared off against the top ranked Terps of Maryland for the 110th time in program history, with over 10,000 fans as witness. Having previously dropped another one goal loss to Albany the week before, Hopkins came roaring back to life on Saturday as the Jays upset their rival, 7-4. The Jays led the entire game, with hard fought goals from senior John Kaestner and senior John Ranagan fueling the drive. Behind the offensive momentum, a stingy Hopkins defense kept the Terps at bay with senior goalie Pierce Bassett snatching up 12 saves for the day.
“We were really excited to play,” Bassett said, commenting on the palpable energy level prior to the match. “ … Especially when you’re playing a number one team like Maryland at Maryland – it gets your juices flowing a little bit.”
The opening quarter saw fiery play from both sides, with five of 11 total goals produced during the frame. Ranagan’s pair of goals graced the scoreboard first, coming around the six minute mark and the ten. The midfielder secured a clear from Bassett, sprinted the rest of the field and, taking advantage of a flat-footed Maryland defense, found the back of the Terrapins’ net. Ranagan’s elusive ways doubled the Jays’ lead four minutes later as a quick dodge and a clinical finish put Hopkins on top 2-0 with 5:34 left in the first quarter.
Owen Blye of Maryland would notch the first goal for the opposition when he beat Bassett on the weak side off of some quick passing movement from the Terps. Less than a minute later, senior John Greely combined with Kaestner for the Hopkins rebuttal. With the clock winding down, Maryland was able to sneak one in past Bassett to shrink the deficit, leaving the score at 3-2 after the opening period.
After the lucrative first quarter, a dry spell ascended Byrd Stadium as goalies on both ends fought to keep their teams in the game. Bassett recorded five of his 12 saves during this period, with Maryland goalie Niko Amato managing three. Senior Lee Coppersmith was the only player to evade the sharp work of the goal tenders, launching a rocket into the upper corner around four minutes in.
Despite outshooting Hopkins 12-6 and two extra man opportunities, the Jays extinguished every Maryland scoring attempt for the entire quarter. With this impressive defensive accomplishment, Hopkins stood on top at the half, 4-2.
Kaestner described the defensive feat as a considerable jolt of confidence heading into the half.
“The way the half ended, we had a really tough defensive stand. They didn’t even get a shot off and we were really jacked up about that,” Kaestner said. “Holding the number one team in the country to two was really big for us … We knew that if we stuck to our game plan, we were going to continue to be successful.”
True to the scoring patterns of the Jays, the third quarter favored Hopkins once more as Kaestner snagged his second goal of the game, only 37 seconds after the whistle blew. This season, the Jays have outscored their opponents 32-22 in the third quarter, second only to the tally of 38-20 in the first.
After nearly 20 scoreless minutes for Maryland, Mike Chanenchuk finally broke the extensive drought five minutes after Kaestner’s quick start with a cheeky side-arm. Chanenchuk proved to be the greatest offensive threat for the Jays as the junior earned two goals and an assist on the day. Following a Maryland slashing call three minutes later, Hopkins was able to double their lead with the man-up opportunity as junior Rob Guida sealed the advantage, unassisted.
With the score at a precarious 6-3 peg and plenty of time left to play, the Jays geared up for the fourth and final quarter. Jesse Bernhardt of Maryland lasered one past Bassett four minutes in to keep the Terps alive. A holding call three minutes later gave the Terps the extra-man opportunity, however the resilient play of Bassett preserved the Jays’ lead. The tentative 6-4 lead was tested again with less than three minutes left, but Bassett once more blocked the shot, denying Chanenchuk the hat trick. With the clock ticking down, junior Brandon Benn struck the final crucial blow with the assist from Ranagan, giving the Jays the 7-4 victory.
“Up until then, it was kinda back and forth. The ball was kinda getting turned over a bit, both teams had two possessions, neither ended in a goal,” Benn said, on the moments leading up to his game winner.
“I think [the goal] was pretty important, it took the weight off … but they still could have easily come back. Not til the buzzer went, I realized we finally did it,” Benn said.
Hopkins returns to the pitch this Saturday, hosting instate competitor Navy (3-9). The whistle blows at 4:00pm on Homewood field, with ESPNU covering the event as well.