Hop­kins Stops Navy for 33rd Straight Time

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sunday Morning On The Air - By Chris­tian Swezey

BAL­TI­MORE, April 21 — Navy men’s lacrosse coach Richie Meade ended the day dab­bing his tears with a towel. It was mo­ments af­ter Johns Hop­kins had beaten Navy, 10-9, be­fore nearly 7,000 fans on home­com­ing at Home­wood Field on Satur­day. The Mid­ship­men (9-3) lost their 33rd straight game to the Blue Jays dat­ing from 1974.

The third quar­ter was most prob­lem­atic. The Mid­ship­men had the ball for 2 min­utes 58 sec­onds; they failed on 3 of 5 clears, lost 4 of 5 face­offs and were out­shot 12-4. They en­tered the quar­ter lead­ing 5-4 fol­low­ing a goal on a no-an­gle shot by fresh­man Tim Paul with 18 sec­onds left in the first half.

When the quar­ter ended, Hop­kins led 7-6. The trend con­tin­ued for much of the fourth. The Blue Jays led 10-8 fol­low­ing a goal on a left-handed shot by ju­nior Paul Rabil with 4:20 to play. Navy closed to 10-9 fol­low­ing a goal by Paul with 24 sec­onds left, but Hop­kins ju­nior Stephen Peyser won the next face­off and the Mid­ship­men did not take an­other shot.

The Mid­ship­men had the ball for less than six min­utes in the fourth quar­ter. For the game, they were suc­cess­ful on 10 of 19 clears.

“They al­ways had the ball,” Meade said. “We knew what they were do­ing and I thought we were de­fend­ing it well, but to play that much de­fense, there are go­ing to be break­downs.”

Peyser was the rea­son Johns Hop­kins (6-4) had so much pos­ses­sion. He won 14 of 17 face­offs and had 12 ground balls. His work earned him a plaque (as the game’s most valu­able player), a ba­nana (the gift the pep band gives to its player of the game) and the one game ball that Coach Dave Pi­etra­mala gave out.

“When Stephen wins face­offs, it builds con­fi­dence in [start­ing mid- fielder Michael Kim­mel] and I,” Rabil said. “If Mike and I score goals, Stephen goes out and wins the next face­off.”

Rabil fin­ished with three goals — all on left-handed shots, even though he is nat­u­rally right-handed — and Kim­mel, a fresh­man, added three goals. Paul had three goals and ju­nior Nick Mirabito added a goal and three as­sists for Navy.

Lacrosse is a big deal at Johns Hop­kins. The pub­lic-ad­dress an- nouncer’s test­ing pat­tern isn’t a count­down of five, four, three, two, one; it is 80, 84, 85, 87, 05 — the most re­cent years the Blue Jays won the na­tional ti­tle. The univer­sity is one of the few to hold its home­com­ing in the spring for lacrosse rather than in the fall for foot­ball.

And it there­fore was a rather big deal when, on Fri­day, Peyser bucked tra­di­tion. He put a sign with a quote from “Henry V” — the one that ends, “we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother” — over the locker room door. The sign pre­vi­ously there — “I will give my all for Johns Hop­kins to­day” — was moved to the side.

Over­all, it cul­mi­nated a good week­end for Peyser. Navy se­nior William Wal­lace en­tered the game win­ning 70 per­cent of his face­offs, one of the top per­cent­ages in the na­tion; on Satur­day, he won 2 of 10.

Navy scored on its first three shots against se­nior goal­keeper Jesse Schwartz­man and in the end was left to lament it did not take more than 21 shots. Peyser’s work on face­offs saw to that.

“We threw ev­ery­thing at him that we had,” Meade said of Peyser. “But he’s pretty good.”

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