Don’t look now, but the Hopkins men’s lacrosse team is scorching hot. The team finished off its non-Conference schedule in style, defeating the University of Delaware Blue Hens and the University of Virginia Cavaliers on its way to capping off a perfect 5-0 month of March.
The Blue Jays got off to a bit of a slow start to the season, opening up 1-2. However, they convincingly won each of their next three games and came back from a deficit against the University of Delaware with a strong fourth quarter to win their fourth in a row.
The Jays headed to Charlottesville, Va. on March 24 to take on the Cavaliers and try to extend their winning streak to five. The matchup with UVA is always a highlight of the season, and this year’s battle for the Doyle Smith Cup was no exception.
The Jays’ season thus far has been defined by the team’s ability to emerge victorious after struggling early on. The team’s clash with UVA was no different. The Cavaliers came out of the gate looking absolutely unstoppable. In addition to scoring nine goals in the first half, they stifled the Jays’ attack, holding them to just one goal in each of first two periods.
However, a 9-2 deficit proved to be surmountable for Hopkins. The Jays exploded offensively and locked down defensively in the second half, scoring 13 goals and allowing only four. The end result: a thrilling 15-13 road victory that wrapped up a perfect month for the Jays.
“I don’t think a year ago a Hopkins team comes back from that. But this year, we’ve shown a lot of resilience as a team,” senior midfielder Joel Tinney said in a press conference.
Tinney was a major key to the Blue Jays’ second-half resurgence, recording four assists and two goals — the first of which gave the Jays a 12-11 lead. Junior attacker Kyle Marr once again led the team in goals, tallying all four during the team’s second-half comeback. Sophomore attacker Cole Williams and freshman midfielder Connor DeSimone scored three goals apiece. In goal, senior Brock Turnbaugh finished with 10 saves, doubling his total from the Delaware game.
At a press conference following the game, coach Dave Pietramala discussed the Jays’ ability to overcome their slow start and knock off the Cavs.
“We got our tails kicked all over the field in the first half. I thought we kind of buckled down a little bit, and then in the second half, we played lacrosse the way we’re capable of,” Pietramala said. “What we need to do is decide which team are we. Are we the first half team? Because we are that. Or are we the second half team? Because we are that.”
It has become clear that this Hopkins team’s most glaring issue is its inability to play its best lacrosse from the opening face-off. However, as disconcerting as the slow starts have been, the team’s ability to fight back from its early deficits has been equally as impressive.
It is starting to feel like anything is attainable for this team, and expectations moving forward should be sky-high. Hopkins will hit the road again this week, when they open up Big Ten play against the 7-2 Rutgers University Scarlet Knights. The game will take place in New Brunswick, N.J. on Sunday, April 1.