Rabil Lifts the Blue Jays in Overtime
It is hard to tell if junior midfielder Paul Rabil, a first-team all-American lacrosse player for Johns Hopkins, is right-handed or left-handed. He is predominately right-handed, but he scored the winning goal 43 seconds into sudden-death overtime on a running, 10-yard shot with his left hand as the Blue Jays defeated Maryland, 8-7, before 5,121 last night at Byrd Stadium.
The Blue Jays (5-4) have won eight straight overtime games dating from 2004. Rabil scored the winning goal in a 7-6, double-overtime victory over Princeton on March 3; that goal came on a running, 15-yard shot with his left hand. Last night, Rabil got a step on senior longstick midfielder Ryan Clarke, and no other defender tried to stop him.
“Coach gave us the ball [in the timeout] and said, ‘Go play,’ ” Rabil said. “The play was supposed to start as a straight dodge by me, and then we were going to go from there.”
Maryland (8-3) had one possession in overtime. Clarke emerged from a scrum in front of the Hopkins goal and took a spinning, behind-the-back shot that narrowly went wide; Johns Hopkins gained possession and scored a few seconds later.
The Terrapins missed a chance to beat Johns Hopkins in back-to-back years for the first time since 1995-96. The Blue Jays, meantime, ended a three-game losing streak.
“In the locker room after the game, we had a defenseman saying he should have [double-teamed Rabil], a goalie saying he should have made the save and an attackman saying he should have buried a shot in regulation,” Maryland Coach Dave Cottle said. “There was no finger pointing.”
An unlikely source scored the last goal in regulation. Maryland senior Chris Feifs, who entered shooting 18 percent, scored his third goal of the game to tie the score at 7 with 7 minutes 7 seconds to play.
To that point, Blue Jays senior goalkeeper Jesse Schwartzman had made five saves. His backup, fresh- man Michael Gvozden, had been warming up on the sideline since the middle of the third quarter.
Gvozden took the field during a timeout a few seconds after Feifs’s goal and took a few warmup shots. As Gvozden did this, the Hopkins coaches asked Schwartzman if he thought he would be effective if he went back into the game. He persuaded them to give him one more chance.
The next shot Schwartzman faced was an open 10-yard shot by freshman Adam Sear; he made the save. Maryland freshman goalkeeper Brian Phipps then made two saves to send the game into overtime, one on a 10yard bounce shot by Rabil and another on a 12-yard shot by junior Stephen Peyser in the final seconds.
Schwartzman finished with six saves and junior Kevin Huntley, who entered shooting 16 percent, added three goals for Johns Hopkins.
In the losing streak, Hopkins held a lead for a combined 34:35; yet in overtime last night, it felt perfectly comfortable.
“This is a huge weight off our backs,” Schwartzman said. “In overtime, we definitely thrive in that.”