Christopher's OT Game-Winner Lifts Hopkins Past Loyola, 7-6
May 6, 2006
BALTIMORE, MD - Freshman midfielder Brian Christopher (Springfield, PA/Springfield) scored his 11th goal of the season 1:22 into overtime to lift the seventh-ranked Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team to a 7-6 win over host Loyola at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field Saturday afternoon. The win, the third straight overall for the Blue Jays and the 11th straight in a one-goal game, improves Hopkins' record to 8-4, while Loyola slips to 6-6. Both teams will learn their NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday night when the bracket for the 2006 NCAA Playoffs is announced (ESPNews - 8:30 pm).
Hopkins won the opening faceoff in overtime, but Loyola quickly forced a turnover and moved into a settled situation. Senior short stick defensive midfielder Matt Feild (Phoenix, MD/Boys' Latin) stripped Corey Cauffman of the ball near the top of the box and worked the ball down the field, where the Blue Jays called timeout. Out of the timeout sophomore midfielder Paul Rabil (Gaithersburg, MD/DeMatha) found a seam and sprinted towards the goal, only to have the ball checked loose by Loyola's Dave Moore. Christopher, who had initiated the play from the top after the timeout, caught the loose ball out of the air and quickly turned and fired a shot past Loyola goalie Michael Fretwell to seal the Blue Jays' sixth straight win in an overtime game.
In a tight game that saw five ties and three lead changes, the Blue Jays opened the scoring with 7:35 remaining in the first quarter when junior Jake Byrne (Potomac, MD/Landon) finished off a pretty passing sequence off a loose ball situation with an eight-yard shot off an assist from Rabil. Loyola responded and took its first lead of the game with back-to-back goals in the final 5:33 of the first period. Junior Greg Leonard got the `Hounds on the board with an unassisted goal at the 5:33 mark and Ryan Rabidou flipped a shot past Hopkins goalie Jesse Schwartzman (Owings Mills, MD/Pikesville) after grabbing a loose ball in front of the goal.
Loyola, which held the ball for long stretches in the game, maintained possession for the first 6:30 of the second quarter, but it was the Blue Jays who would score twice in the quarter to take a 3-2 halftime lead. Rabil dodged from the top and beat Fretwell with a left-handed laser with 8:05 remaining and junior Jamison Koesterer (Cazenovia, NY/Cazenovia) punched home his second goal of the year on a strong drive to the goal with just under two minutes remaining before intermission.
Hopkins' hopes of drawing Loyola out of its game-long stall appeared to get a spark when Rabil added another unassisted goal just 42 seconds into the third quarter and the Blue Jays killed off a Greyhound extra-man opportunity less than a minute later, but a failed clearing attempt led directly to a goal by Loyola's C.J. Sinisgalli with 13:21 remaining and Andrew Spack scored eight minutes later to tie the game at 4-4. Sinisgalli added an extra-man goal with just one second remaining in the third quarter to give the `Hounds a 5-4 lead entering the final quarter. Loyola had been 5-0 on the year when leading after three quarters.
Junior Drew Dabrowski's (Syracuse, NY/West Genesee) goal off a nifty flip pass from Stephen Peyser (Lloyd Harbor, NY/Cold Spring Harbor) at the 7:01 mark tied the game and sophomore Kevin Huntley (Towson, MD/Calvert Hall) added his team-leading 27th goal of the season 50 seconds later off an assist from Greg Peyser (Lloyd Harbor, NY/Cold Spring Harbor) to give Hopkins a 6-5 lead. That lead held for only two minutes as Spack added his second goal of the game on a low 10-yard shot from straight on that picked the inside of the post with 4:20 remaining in regulation. Loyola controlled the ensuing faceoff and held the ball for the remainder of regulation, but a shot in the final seconds was blocked by freshman Andrew Miller (Mastic, NY/William Floyd) to set up Christopher's game-winner.
Christopher ran his goal-scoring streak to 10 games with the one goal (longest such streak by a freshman midfielder at Johns Hopkins since 1980), while Rabil added the two goals and one assist to lead the Blue Jays. Schwartzman matched his season high with14 saves and moved into 10th place on Hopkins' career saves list (326). Greg Peyser won 9-of-12 faceoffs and had a game-high six ground balls to go along with the one assist.
Loyola got two goals from Sinisgalli and Spack and Fretwell registered nine saves in the loss.
#7 Johns Hopkins (8-4) 1-2-1-2-1/7
#20 Loyola (6-6) 2-0-3-1-0/6
Goals: J: Rabil-2, Huntley, Christopher, Koesterer, Byrne, Dabrowski. L: Spack, Sinisgalli-2, Leonard, R. Rabidou. Assists: J: Rabil, G. Peyser, S. Peyser. L: Bauers, Coffman, Ricci, Willcox. Saves: J: Schwartzman-14. L: Fretwell-9. EMO: J: 0-for-1. L: 1-for-3. Attendance: 4,812.