Johns Hopkins runs over Towson
The Tigers knew coming into the windy Saturday afternoon game that they would have a tough task opening up the season against 11th ranked Johns Hopkins, a team they have not beaten since 1996.
Although it took the Blue Jays just 25 seconds to tally their first goal of the season, the Tigers had no trouble sticking with their cross-town rivals in the first half, as the game was tied 4-4 at halftime.
But it was clear that Towson (0-1) would need to do a better job of controlling the flow of the game in the second half, after Johns Hopkins (1-0) outshot Towson 11-3 in the second quarter.
However the Tigers did not prevent the visiting Blue Jays from gaining an offensive flow in the third quarter, as Hopkins scored six unanswered goals on their way to a 10-6 victory at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
“Except for about four and a half minutes in the third quarter, I felt we played pretty well. We were right in that game,” Towson head coach Tony Seaman said. “Each quarter was equal, except for the third quarter. We didn’t get it done. They made some plays.”
Hopkins, better known for their play on the offensive end, had a multitude of players that took advantage of Towson’s zone defense and littered the scoreboard.
Senior attackman Kyle Wharton recorded his tenth career hat trick, while sophomore attackman Zach Palmer registered two goals with three assists.
Senior attackman Chris Boland, who tore his ACL last March against UMBC, made the most of his return, finding the net twice and assisting freshman Eric Ruhl on his first career goal.
“The zone defense, when you have that in there, you have to work as a unit. You have to work six guys,” Wharton said. “I thought we did that pretty well today. We got a lot of opportunities. We were shooting the ball pretty well today. When I get open shots, that is just a testament to our offense moving the ball well. Chris Boland, Zach Palmer, had three assists today, and it’s just a testament to those guys.”
Although Towson had trouble gaining any offensive rhythm early in the second half, they still put up 29 shots in the contest.
However, senior attackman Tim Stratton was heavily guarded, as Hopkins made sure he did not beat them. But with the Blue Jays’ attention focused on Stratton, opportunities were opened up for others on Towson’s attack.
Senior midfielder Pat Britton was the highlight for the Tigers, netting two goals, in addition to having one waved off. Junior midfielder Carl Iacona, junior attackman Matt Lamon, sophomore Matt Thomas, and sophomore attackman Matt Hughes scored the other Towson goals.
The biggest question for the Tigers is how the young midfield will mature.
Seaman recognized that the midfield had some issues, but there were some bright spots in the game.
“They made some mistakes, but some good and some bad. We’re excited about them. They’re terrific players and they’re going to get better. I thought the [Andrew] Hodgson kid played pretty well, and [Tommy] DeNapoli and [Zach] Brown are coming along,” Seaman said. “Just imagine, your whole life wanting to get to college and then your first college game you’re walking out and there’s Hopkins. You’ve got to have a little bit of nerves running through you.”
Towson did not take advantage of the Hopkins penalties, going 0-4 on the man advantages.
“We had three pretty good shots in extra man,” Seaman said. “Pierce Basset made good saves there at his feet. We talked all week about, ‘We got to get off at his off-hip side and not as his feet.’”
Despite stiff competition from redshirt sophomore Andrew Wascavage in the preseason, senior Travis Love received the nod for the opening day start in goal and made 10 saves.
Towson’s early out-of-conference schedule will not get any easier, as they face another tough cross-town rival in Loyola on Saturday at Johnny Unitas Stadium.