- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 22, 2005

BALTIMORE — Johns Hopkins hasn’t made a habit of blowing out opponents this year, in stead pre-serving its season-long No.1 ranking by gutting out a series of tight victories in low-scoring games.

The top-seeded Blue Jays made a very visible — and impressive — exception to the trend in yesterday’s NCAA tournament quarterfinals, crushing eighth-seeded Massachusetts 19-9 at Homewood Field.

Kyle Harrison exploited a rare matchup with a short stick to get two goals and three assists and Matt Rewkowski scored a season-high four goals as Hopkins (14-0) kept its hopes alive for the first perfect season in Division I since Princeton’s title run in 1997.

The Blue Jays, who have won 36 straight at Homewood Field, will meet Virginia (11-3) in the semifinals Saturday at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

“It was important to get out to a quick start against UMass and not let them feel like they were in the game, and I don’t think we ever allowed them to do that,” Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said.

The Minutemen (13-3), who ended Syracuse’s 22-year semifinal streak last week, have reached the quarterfinals a record 10 times without a trip to the final four.

Harrison set the tone, blowing past short stick Greg Scott to score twice in the first four minutes, getting the better of a matchup the Minutemen never changed. Harrison didn’t score again, but he was nearly flawless in working the passing lanes to find open teammates.

“It was very surprising,” Harrison said. “The last three or four games, people have been shutting with the poles and all week that’s what we were planning for. I won the first faceoff and came down and I’m looking at No.12 right in the chest and I was like ‘I have a short stick.’ And he wasn’t really playing me, so I was excited. I just tried to take advantage of it.”

Added Massachusetts coach Greg Cannella: “He figured we’d let him get his [goals] or at least slide to him and make him pass the ball and cover the other guys that are all very dangerous. Maybe you get a pole on [Paul] Rabil. Maybe you get a pole on [Greg] Peyser. You slide to him as best you can, because if you put a pole on him he’s still going to dodge. That was the thinking, but it didn’t work that well.”

The Blue Jays took a 4-2 lead into the second quarter before they dominated Massachusetts with their efficient ball-control scheme. Hopkins, which had possession for nearly 23 minutes in the first half, limited the Minutemen to one shot in the second quarter as it extended the lead to 8-2 by the break.

Massachusetts closed within 10-5 late in the third quarter, but the Blue Jays ripped off four goals in a 78-second stretch to put it away.

The Blue Jays didn’t need much luck in the demolition, but they got some anyway. Hopkins scored three times after securing rebounds off beleaguered Minutemen goalie Bill Schell (10 saves), who was mercifully lifted after the Blue Jays made it 16-6 early in the fourth.

About the only thing Hopkins didn’t do right was play well on extra-man. In addition to an uncharacteristic eight penalties, the Blue Jays allowed five man-up goals.

Still, it was a dominant display that bodes well for Hopkins as it goes into Philadelphia determined to end a 18-year title drought.

“We’re starting to get that killer instinct a little bit,” Harrison said. “We’ve been criticized a lot this year for not putting up numbers, but we never worried about it because the fact of the matter is we were winning. Our offense is starting to come together.”

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