- The Washington Times - Monday, May 19, 2003

Virginia 12, Georgetown 7

TOWSON, Md. — Virginia’s balanced offense earned it a return trip to the Baltimore area next weekend and a final four berth for the fourth time in five years.

John Christmas (three goals) was one of nine players to score for the Cavaliers and goalie Tillman Johnson made 15 saves as second-seeded Virginia (13-2) ousted Georgetown before 5,136 at Towson Stadium.

“There’s so much attention paid to Chris [Rotelli] and John [Christmas] and Joe [Yevoli] and those guys that those other people have got to step in when those opportunities present themselves if we’re going to be successful,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said.

Virginia advanced to a semifinal meeting with Maryland Saturday at M&T; Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The Terrapins (12-3) won the teams’ March 29 meeting 8-7, but Virginia has won eight in a row since then.

Walid Hajj had a hat trick for Georgetown (11-4), which lost in the quarterfinals for the third time in four seasons.

Johnson frustrated a Hoyas offense that created few opportunities around the cage. Georgetown’s starting attackmen combined for a goal and an assist as the Cavaliers forced the Hoyas into taking shots 10 or more yards from the goal.

Hajj scored one goal in transition and another after his defender slipped in the first half, but the Hoyas were otherwise unable to create much on offense.

“Even at halftime, I just felt like we could defend them,” said Starsia, whose team equaled the Virginia record for wins in a season set in 1994 and matched in 1999 and 2000. “They’re very dangerous from the midfield. I thought early on we established that they weren’t going to hurt us from behind the goal, so it was a question of recognizing the matchups up front. … We seemed to be on top of things at the defensive end.”

Georgetown wasn’t so fortunate. Down 7-3 at halftime, Hoyas goalie Rich D’Andrea was yanked in favor of Andrew Owen, who played sparingly this season. The Cavaliers posted the third quarter’s first two goals and began to pull away.

The Hoyas made a brief rally when Dave Paolisso and Brodie Merrill scored their first goals of the season nine seconds apart to pull Georgetown within 9-5. Christmas soon stifled the Hoyas’ momentum, beating Owen on a wraparound goal. Moments later, Yevoli scored to extend the lead back to six and D’Andrea went back into the game.

The Cavaliers thrived in unsettled situations, scoring a pair of transition goals to take an early lead before Georgetown rallied to tie it at 3-3 by the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was far different. Four different players scored before the break as the balanced Cavaliers offense used an aggressive approach to decipher a Georgetown defense that had allowed 12 goals only once this season.

“They’ll just come out and keep shooting and ram it down your throat,” Georgetown defenseman Pat Collins said. “When you play a defense like ours where you’re pressing out on guys, it can create some opportunities and they definitely took advantage of them.”

Georgetown committed 29 turnovers, permitting Virginia to make it a much more up-and-down affair than the Hoyas would have liked. It also helped to neutralize Georgetown’s 16-7 faceoff advantage, one of the few areas where the Hoyas had a decided edge.

“We had some possessions where we turned it over without a great deal of pressure and you can’t do that against a team of that caliber and you can’t do that at this stage of the season and hope to be successful,” Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot.”

Johns Hopkins 14, Towson 6

TOWSON, Md. — Johns Hopkins struggled for a half when it played Towson last month before taking advantage of extra-man chances to blow out the Tigers after the break.

Yesterday, the top-seeded Blue Jays followed the same script and were rewarded with a trip to the final four.

“It took us a half to figure out how to attack this team,” Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. “They just play defense so differently than we do. It’s difficult for any team to simulate.”

Nine Hopkins players scored as Hopkins (13-1) advanced to its second straight final four and fourth in five years.

Hopkins led 7-5 early in the third quarter, but wore down the Tigers (9-6) in the second half. The Blue Jays scored two extra-man goals late in the third, then shut down the Tigers in the final period to roll into the semifinals. It was similar to Hopkins’ 17-9 win in the regular season, when Towson led at the break before self-destructing in the second half.

The Blue Jays will play Syracuse (10-5) Saturday at 11:30a.m. in Baltimore. The Orangemen dealt Hopkins its only loss of the season March 15, a 15-14 decision at the Carrier Dome.

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