With men’s lacrosse at 2–2 going into their match against the University of Utah on Feb. 25, the team’s main worry was a continued losing streak. The team’s previous wins against Jacksonville University and the highly favored Georgetown University had set an optimistic tone for the season to come. However, after beatdowns from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Loyola University Maryland, the University’s record for the season was suddenly .500.
As the first half against Utah went on, the fear of a continued streak only deepened. Ian Krampf, who entered the game with one career goal, started the game off with two early scores. Utah answered with three scores soon after; from then on, the first half became a great tug of war, with each team answering the other but neither gaining more than a one-point lead. Combined scores from Krampf, Johnathan Peshko, Matt Collison and Brendan Grimes kept Hopkins in contention.
During most of the game, and especially the first half, the conditions on the field seemed to be affecting the players. Balls slipped out of nets, and scrambles for the ball were a constant. Often, balls sailed over people's heads, and when players tried a hard cut in the opposite direction, their cleats slipped on the icy turf.
The conditions presented some visibility issues, and Hopkins capitalized. As the snow picked up, passes became riskier, and Utah suffered. Hopkins had nine turnovers likely due to the messy conditions on the field.
Pep Band cymbalist Yona Levine commented on the effect of the snow in the third quarter in an interview with The News-Letter .
“That seemed to be when everything started going downhill for [Utah],“ they said. “Our players seemed less phased by it.“
Another thing keeping Hopkins in contention was goalie Gib Versfeld who, in the first start of his Hopkins career, made 15 saves out of the 45 shots Utah took. This number suggests that Utah was fairly inaccurate with their shots, a credit to the Hopkins defense for keeping them boxed out.
Following his score that closed out the second quarter and put Hopkins up 6–5, Collison came right back out, slinging for two more consecutive scores.
After Collison’s three consecutive scores, Hopkins maintained a lead for the entirety of the second half. Utah became more aggressive during the third quarter, taking 15 out of its 45 shots, but Versfeld stepped up, making eight saves and keeping Utah scoreless.
After Hopkins took the lead with their five-score streak, capped by Ryan Evans in the fourth quarter, Utah and Hopkins traded scores back and forth for the rest of the game. Hopkins became much less aggressive, opting to run down the clock and search for easy openings.
At that point, Utah was already on their heels, attempting to score as fast as possible. As Hopkins tightened up on defense, shots went high and wide. The last few minutes saw no scores with Hopkins holding onto the ball and resetting the clock with a string of exciting recoveries.
In the end, Hopkins defeated Utah 12–8 in a close, gritty game. As the snow fell down, Hopkins grew more determined and clawed their way to a lead, ending their losing streak to improve to 3–2 for the season.