- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 13, 2008

BALTIMORE — Johns Hopkins’ Stephen Peyser dug up plenty of clean faceoff wins yesterday, ensuring those interested in burying the Blue Jays would have to wait another day — or another year altogether.

Peyser won 12 of 13 faceoffs and both Michael Doneger and Paul Rabil scored three goals as No. 15 Hopkins scorched No. 7 Maryland 10-4 before 8,626 at Homewood Field to snap the first single-season five-game skid in school history.

“Winning is a heck of a lot better than losing,” coach Dave Pietramala said. “I almost started to feel like we forgot how that feels like. Today we had an opportunity to show we’re not as bad as everybody thinks we are. We’re a good team. We just haven’t played very well.”

That was not an issue for the Blue Jays (4-5) against the Terrapins (7-4), who dropped their second straight. And it was thanks to a return of the classic Hopkins style: controlling possession, precise shooting and steady goalie play.

Peyser was responsible for much of it, grabbing seven groundballs and scoring a goal off the opening faceoff of the second half to bump the Hopkins lead to 4-2. But it was the overall faceoff play, where Hopkins collected 15 of 18 wins, that completely doomed Maryland.

“I didn’t see a 4-5 team out there, did you?” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “They were pretty good today.”

The Blue Jays controlled possession for about 37 minutes, constricting the opportunities for Maryland.

Chances are, his presence in uniform rather than on the sideline would not have made a difference.

“It felt like we were on defense the whole time,” said goalie Jason Carter (11 saves), who played nearly the entire game. “It just didn’t go our way today.”

There was no shortage of Blue Jays players who needed a swing of fortune after a rough month. Sophomore goalie Michael Gvozden, who entered with a bloated 10.68 goals against average, made 13 saves in a steady performance. A much-maligned close defense turned in its best outing since last year’s final four.

And Doneger delivered his first hat trick in more than two years, wriggling inside a few times to secure clean looks near the crease and to help revive his team’s season heading into next week’s visit to No. 6 Navy.

“There’s definitely a sense of now we can take a deep breath,” Doneger said. “We just got back that confidence today, but by no means does that mean we’re overconfident.”

Maryland isn’t, either, after scoring eight goals in its last two games. Reed’s absence has not helped, and Cottle’s shifting of Max Ritz to attack and Will Dalton to the first midfield did not yield much offense yesterday.

And even though the Terps were within a goal at halftime before Hopkins rattled off five straight goals to start the third quarter, it never seemed like Maryland was in contention to avoid its first back-to-back losses since early last season.

Still, the Terps do own three victories over teams ranked in the top 10 and should have Reed back next week, so an outing devoid of possession time is far from a crushing blow.

“We’ve got enough good wins,” Cottle said. “We have to fix some things. We have to improve some things. We’re going to put their heads where we want them to be.”


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