This past Saturday, the men’s lacrosse team took home a solid Big Ten victory against the University of Michigan Wolverines. The Blue Jays secured the win after a dominating 10-0 run in the second and third quarters, finishing the game 14-8.
Although Hopkins won in dominating fashion, the game did not start out this way. The Wolverines asserted their ability to be an offensive threat, while the Jays struggled defensively. The Blue Jays quickly fell behind 5-3, with the Wolverines scoring back-to-back goals to end the first quarter.
A two-goal deficit was enough of a wake-up call for the Jays, as they only took 62 seconds to find their groove. Junior attackman Forry Smith fired at the net off of a pass from senior attackman Kyle Marr to cut Michigan’s lead in half.
The Blue Jays were far from complacent, continuing to challenge Michigan’s defense. Freshman attackman Joey Epstein scored his first of three first-half goals, serving as the catalyst for a three-goal run, which spanned only three minutes. Epstein notched his second consecutive goal to start off the run, with senior midfielder Alex Concannon following with his own soon after.
Epstein closed out his first-half hat trick with just over two minutes left in the half. Senior midfielder Danny Jones made an impressive defensive move to cause Michigan to turn over the ball and open up the opportunity for Epstein to fire away.
In a halftime interview with the Big Ten Network, head coach Dave Pietramala commented on the adjustments the team made from the first to the second quarter.
“I thought we settled down in the second quarter and started to make better decisions,” he said. “If we can play longer into the possessions and not have to feel like we have to make something happen right away, something is going to come available.”
The Blue Jays picked up where they left off heading into the second half, as it took them less than three minutes to double their lead. Junior attackman Cole Williams and Smith both scored within the span of 12 seconds. Their goals improved the score to 9-5, with Hopkins now commanding the field.
The Blue Jays continued their scoring spree with three more goals in the third, and all three came within a 33-second period. Smith scored again for Hopkins, as well as junior defender Owen Colwell, who put away a 65-yard shot, and Marr, who made a diving goal. The Jays were up 12-5 in the middle of the third.
With just over a minute left in the third quarter, junior midfielder Matt Stagnitta concluded the 10-goal run. The Wolverines finally ended their scoring drought immediately after Stagnitta’s goal, but the damage was already done. Michigan made a pair of goals within the last nine minutes of the game, but it was too late. Hopkins won 14-8, improving their season record to 5-4 and their Big Ten record to 1-0, while Michigan starts out their regular season 0-1.
Several Blue Jays had especially impressive performances during the matchup, including Smith, Epstein and sophomore face-off specialist Kyle Prouty. Smith scored a career-high four goals; Epstein had a hat trick of his own; and Prouty went 16-of-21 in face-offs. Additionally, Williams scored his 50th career goal; Marr is just two goals away from his 100th and four points shy of his 150th; and Dave Pietramala earned his 225th win at Hopkins.
Hopkins will return to Homewood Field for the anticipated Homecoming weekend, as they take on Rutgers University. The game will be on Saturday, April 6 at 2 p.m.