Hop­kins made quick work ofuva.

Blue Jays raised tempo on of­fense

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY PA­TRICK STEVENS

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. | Johns Hop­kins coach Dave Pi­etra­mala didn’t need to be prod­ded into dis­cussing his team’s will­ing­ness to push the tempo Satur­day.

Not af­ter an 11-10 over­time vic­tory at No. 1 Virginia.

Not af­ter qui­etly bristling at how his team was la­beled plod­ding and me­thod­i­cal in re­cent years.

“I’m just tired of hear­ing it,” Pi­etra­mala said. “My job, [Virginia coach] Dom Star­sia’s job, ev­ery coach’s job in Amer­ica isn’t to please the me­dia, it’s to win games and it’s to put our kids in the best po­si­tion to be suc­cess­ful as men and as play­ers. If that means play­ing slow, then that means play­ing slow.”

The Blue Jays (8-0), of course, can play slow if they so choose. It just so hap­pens this edi­tion is plenty ca­pa­ble of push­ing the pace, and did so against the Cava­liers (8-1).

Hop­kins’ last two goals were the lat­est bits of ev­i­dence these Blue Jays are a bit dif­fer­ent from some of their pre­de­ces­sors. Lee Cop­per­smith, all 6foot-2 and 195 pounds of him, charged in from mid­field to tie it with 44 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion.

In over­time, Rob Guida set up the win­ning goal on an in­vert, even­tu­ally send­ing it to John Gree­ley (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and then on to John Rana­gan (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) for the score.

Hop­kins al­ways has had some size and speed. It wasn’t that long ago that Paul Ra­bil roamed the Blue Jays’ mid­field. But Pi­etra­mala has col­lected plenty of it, and it’s con­tin­ued to ma­ture af­ter a rough 2010 and a much-im­proved 2011.

“They’re clearly more ath­letic, faster, more ex­pe­ri­enced than they’ve been the last cou­ple of years,” Star­sia said. “They’re big. Their de­fense­men can all de­fend. They have a good group of mid­dies there. They push the ball up the field. Those weren’t things you were say­ing about them in ev­ery in­stance the last cou­ple of years. That’s one of the best teams in the coun­try, clearly.”

Maybe the best. Bar­ring a stun­ning turn of events, Hop­kins and Virginia will swap places in the na­tional polls Mon­day. The Blue Jays, the bluest of lacrosse blue­bloods, will be No. 1 for the first time since the March 3, 2008, rank­ings.

They could stay for a while, too. Hop­kins swept Prince­ton, Syra­cuse and Virginia this month, the first time it did so since its per­fect 2005 sea­son. The Blue Jays are smart and well-pre­pared, as usual. They’re also as ath­letic as any­one, as Satur­day’s vic­tory against a team with its share of size demon­strated.

“I was pleased to see we matched up ath­let­i­cally, be­cause I mea­sure a lot of where we are ath­let­i­cally against that team be­cause I think [Star­sia] re­cruits ath­letic guys,” Pi­etra­mala said. Else­where in the area Satur­day:

No. 7 Mary­land suf­fered its third straight reg­u­lar-sea­son set­back against North Carolina, an 11-10 decision. The Ter­rap­ins (5-2, 1-1 ACC) might have suf­fered an­other loss in the process. Mid­fielder Kevin Cooper (three goals, six as­sists) was ejected for fight­ing with 40 sec­onds re­main­ing.

NCAA lacrosse rules stip­u­late a player ejected for fight­ing is sus­pended for the next game, which should leave Mary­land with­out Cooper for Satur­day’s meet­ing with Virginia. Cooper cross-checked the Tar Heels’ Greg Mcbride, who took ex­cep­tion and tack­led Cooper be­fore Cooper de­liv­ered a few punches.

A Mary­land team spokesman said Sun­day the ACC has re­quested film of the in­ci­dents from both schools. The league could make a fur­ther rul­ing this week.

Navy col­lected a 12-11 vic­tory at No. 13 Col­gate on Sam Jones’ goal with 3.4 sec­onds left. It was the fourth straight win for the Mid­ship­men (5-3, 3-1 Pa­triot) and their first road vic­tory over a ranked team since the 2009 Pa­triot League final at Buck­nell. It also gave Navy more wins than it had all of last year.

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