After a two-hour delay caused by a thunderstorm, the men’s lacrosse Homecoming game versus the Ohio State University Buckeyes got off to a rocky start. With rain still drizzling in the field, the first face-off resulted in a moving pile of bodies, ending with an Ohio State player pulling a Blue Jay down to the turf. No foul was called.
This trend continued for the first half of the first quarter, with players overshooting passes and repeated, drawn-out scuffles for ground balls. Ohio State capitalized on this confusion and scored twice early while clamping down on coverage, forcing Hopkins to pass back and forth with little openings. The defensive victories on the side of Ohio State were mostly coming from man-to-man pressure.
Eventually, both teams settled down, which worked in the Blue Jays’ favor, coming back with four scores while Ohio State was only able to put one more on the board. With the Blue Jays leading 4–3 going into the second quarter, it looked like we were in store for a close game.
Hopkins continued to score, though, taking control of possession time with heroic efforts from midfielder junior Ryan Evans and senior defenseman Beaudan Szuluk. When an Ohio State player tried a wild bounce pass behind the goal, the ball soaring out of bounds on the opposite side of the field, Evans and a nearby Buckeye defenseman lunged to get possession of the ball. Despite the inherent advantage of the defenseman, with his increased range, Evans jumped as far as he could to barely pass the defenseman’s stick with his own.
As the game continued, the Hopkins lead only grew, and the brief moment of Buckeye domination seemed a distant memory. The Blue Jays had completely adjusted by halftime, not only avoiding pressure but applying some of their own. In an aggressive scuffle between Szuluk and Ohio State attackman Colby Smith, Szuluk won the battle, forcing Smith’s stick out of his grasp. With six Hopkins goals by five separate players, the score was 10–7 going into the second half.
While the Ohio State defense excelled in applying pressure, their pass-and-shot defense left a lot to be desired. From the first quarter on, Hopkins dominated on offense with quick passes and accurate shots that often went through multiple defenders.
In an interview with The News-Letter, sophomore midfielder Jack Charboneau discussed the attitude of the team going into their dominant second half.
“At halftime, we really pushed the idea that the game was 0-0 and to come out of the break rolling...the second half huddles were pretty calm and composed, but we kept on reiterating that it was not enough,“ he said.
The third quarter completely knocked Ohio State out of contention. The Buckeyes were either worn out by the Hopkins lead, or Hopkins had completely figured them out. The Blue Jays continued to pass the ball; in one impressive effort, freshman midfielder Matt Collison ran to the corner of the field behind the goal and launched the ball back through the crease to junior attackman Russell Melendez. The ball sailed over the Ohio State players, with two narrowly missed interceptions from an Ohio State defenseman and midfielder.
The rest of the game can be easily summed up: Hopkins scored so easily that senior goalie Tim Marcille took the ball up the field on multiple occasions before being taken out entirely. On the defensive side, the Blue Jays continued to turn the ball over and prevent shots entirely. The Buckeyes only shot on the goal 28 times throughout the entire game and were held scoreless for a full 28 minutes.
With three scores from graduate student attackman Garret Degnon and seven scores total in the third quarter, Hopkins had sealed the deal. The next quarter, Hopkins subbed out players, but the Buckeyes were still only able to score once.
Hopkins alum Chris Tsien gave “yellow fruit” to Marcille, Collison and freshman defenseman Carson Brown, who were named the MVPs of the game.
In a striking Homecoming win, the Blue Jays emerged triumphant with a score of 17-8. They look forward to a thrilling rivalry matchup at the University of Maryland on Saturday, April 22.
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