- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 27, 2005

BALTIMORE — There’s little doubt Virginia has returned as a national power in men’s lacrosse.

The Cavaliers’ rise all the way back to the top, though, will have to wait until later.

Freshman Kevin Huntley scored three goals in the fourth quarter and Jesse Schwartzman made a career-high 20 saves as Johns Hopkins defended its No. 1 ranking with a 9-7 defeat of second-ranked Virginia before 8,321 at Homewood Field.

Matt Ward had four goals for the Cavaliers (6-1), who played from behind nearly the entire game and failed to capitalized on the Blue Jays’ far-from-crisp play.

“Offensively, it’s just like we were moving in sand all day,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. “It was almost like they weren’t believing me when I was saying we weren’t moving the ball fast enough. It was almost like it was a penalty if we moved the ball quicker. This is not a death blow, but it’s a lost opportunity and it’s something we need to learn from.”

Huntley had the surprising star turn for the Blue Jays (5-0), who are one of two remaining unbeaten teams in Division I. The son of former Hopkins star David Huntley (the Blue Jays’ all-time leading scorer from the midfield), Kevin Huntley took over on attack at the start of the second quarter after senior Kyle Barrie suffered a sprained ankle.

Huntley had missed much of fall practice with a broken thumb and had been used primarily on the Blue Jays’ extra-man unit this spring. Huntley didn’t even play in Hopkins’ March18 victory at Syracuse, but with Barrie (who is likely to play next week at North Carolina) going down, the Blue Jays had little choice but to give Huntley a shot.

“We set a goal that we were going to use him today and thus we had to use him even more,” Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. “It’s going to help us down the line to have developed this depth and gotten these guys experience in a very big ballgame.”

The Cavaliers were within 7-6 with 8:51 left after Ward’s nifty deposit of a Drew Thompson feed and appeared to have a chance to make it tight at the end. Instead, they would have possession for only another 93 seconds the rest of the way.

Hopkins’ Jamison Koesterer, taking his first draw of the season, captured the faceoff after Ward’s goal. Within 15 seconds, the Cavaliers went a man down on Rob Bateman’s slashing penalty. The Blue Jays capitalized on the extra-man chance, with Huntley firing a shot past Virginia goalie Kip Turner (five saves) off Peter LeSueur’s pass from behind the cage.

“That pricked our balloon a little bit at that point,” Starsia said. “I think that swung the game, momentum-wise.”

Koesterer then won his second of four straight faceoffs, setting up Huntley to come around the goal and beat a short stick to bump Hopkins’ lead to 9-6. The Blue Jays were never in any more danger as they collected a victory despite committing 15 turnovers and botching six clears.

It was Hopkins’ 30th consecutive victory at Homewood, one shy of the program’s best home winning streak, and it had its roots in Schwartzman’s fine first quarter. The sophomore, who almost missed the game with a back injury, made seven saves in the first 15 minutes as the Blue Jays built a 3-0 lead.

“I was hoping he would turn out to be a liability, and he was not,” Starsia said. “I don’t think the game was decided at all in the first quarter, but it was indicative of how the game could go and ultimately it probably was how the game went. Kip played fine for us, but I thought Schwartzman might have been the difference overall. He stoned us a couple times.”

The teams swapped goals to start the second quarter, but Matt Poskay, Ward and Ben Rubeor all scored in a span of just more than three minutes to tie it before halftime. But Hopkins received goals from LeSueur and Kyle Harrison (the latter’s only point of the day thanks to Steve Holmes’ defense) to open the second-half scoring.

Conspicuously absent from the Cavaliers’ offensive flow was attackman John Christmas and midfielder Kyle Dixon. Hopkins’ Tom Garvey clamped down on Christmas, who put none of his three shots on goal and was never a factor. Dixon took eight shots, but he didn’t convert until an extra-man opportunity with 19 seconds left.

“We didn’t play as a team,” Ward said. “We weren’t moving well. At times we did, but we never put a stretch together to get us a lead.”

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