- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2005

PHILADELPHIA — A near-perfect half of defense capped Johns Hopkins’ perfect season.

Seniors Tom Garvey and Chris Watson shut down Duke’s talented attack tandem of Matt Danowski and Zack Greer in the second half as the Blue Jays rallied to win their first national championship in 18 years.

The pair, along with Matt Pinto, helped Hopkins keep the Blue Devils scoreless for the final 27:43.

‘We went out with the intention of locking down in the second half,’ Watson said. ‘We gave up one goal in the second half, and we’re very proud of that.’

Even though Danowski had two goals and four assists for the game, Garvey never gave him much room to operate. Danowski spent much of his day dodging, a result Hopkins was content with given Garvey’s stick skills.

Garvey’s play on Danowski also helped contain Greer, who had the wily Watson shadowing him all day. Greer, who has thrived on feeds from Danowski and Dan Flannery all season, managed just an assist and was held without a goal for only the second time this season.

‘They were forcing Duke into a lot of low-angle shots,’ Hopkins goalie Jesse Schwartzman said. ‘As a goalie it makes my job easier. … Matt and Tom and Chris just did a great job of holding their man to the goal line, covering the inside, covering the backside, covering the skip lanes. It was unbelievable.’

It was a fitting climax for a unit often overshadowed by the Blue Jays’ pantheon of offensive stars. Garvey quietly pieced together a first-team All-America season, while Watson was invaluable as Hopkins’ defensive leader.

‘I said I was infuriated with people that didn’t think enough of Chris Watson,’ Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. ‘They ought to stand up and take a look now. He just held the leading scorer in the country to no goals. I am very proud of this defense. They believed in how we taught it and how we were doing things.’

No joy in Durham

Duke was one play away from becoming the first team to miss the tournament one season and win it the next. Yet the Blue Devils, who set a NCAA record with 17 wins a year after a 5-8 season, couldn’t muster much solace after the close defeat.

‘It’s not satisfying to get to the national championship game and lose, and I don’t think anybody feels that way among any of the past teams that have been here,’ said Danowski, who set the Duke single-season record with 92 points (50 goals, 42 assists). ‘It was a turnaround we expected. We expected to be good — we didn’t expect to be 5-8 again — and we expected to get here, and we expected to win. We did pretty well, but it’s not where we wanted to be.’

The wait for a title might not be too long. The Blue Devils played only three seniors yesterday, and just two — goalie Aaron Fenton and second-line midfielder Ryan Marshall — had significant on-field roles.

On the clock

Duke coach Mike Pressler rarely holds back with an opinion, and he wasn’t shy about supporting one of his longtime causes — a shot clock — after Hopkins took only one shot while monopolizing possession for the final 2:35.

‘We definitely need a shot clock,’ Pressler said. ‘I’ve said that all along. I’m a big proponent of it. We have to change to the rules. If it’s going to stay the fastest game on two feet, something has to happen.’

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