Johns Hopkins Places Fourth at CWPA Southern Championship
PRINCETON, NJ - The Johns Hopkins water polo team went 2-2 at the 2014 CWPA Southern Division Championship and finished in fourth place. The Blue Jays are now 12-11 on the season and advance to the CWPA Championship for the 12th time since 1999. Hopkins beat George Washington and Salem International before losing to eventual champion Princeton in the semifinals and Navy in the third-place match.
Hopkins opened the weekend with a 16-11 win over George Washington on Friday. The Blue Jays jumped out to a 4-2 lead thanks to a pair of first quarter goals from freshman Conor Hehir. The Colonials battled back to tie it at five-all with 4:46 to play in the second. The Blue Jays responded with five unanswered goals to take a 10-5 lead with 6:29 still to play in third. Four different players scoring during the run and senior co-captain Johnny Beal scored the first and last goals of the run as JHU doubled up GW. The Colonials were only able to string together multiple goals once, when they scored back-to-back goals late in the third quarter, for the remainder of the game.
Beal led the Blue Jays with six goals and three assists, while sophomore Matt Fraser chipped in four goals and junior Langdon Froomer and freshman Jono Gillette each handed out three assists. Junior Erik Henrikson made eight saves and had three steals in two quarters of action and freshman John Wilson stopped seven shots in two quarters.
JHU then took on Salem International on Saturday and came away with a 20-11 win to earn a place in the semifinals later that night. It was close early as the Blue Jays and the Tigers were tied at two apiece with 4:59 to go in the opening quarter. But the Jays pulled away with a nine-goal run that spanned just over 10 minutes and saw JHU take an 11-9 lead. Gillette scored three goals during the span to fuel the run. The Tigers would cut it to 11-4 with back-to-back goals in the final 65 seconds of the second.
Hopkins scored the first three goals of the third quarter and would outscore Salem International 9-2 in the second half for the win. In all, 11 different Blue Jays scored in the win, led by Gillette's career high four goals. Freshman Ryan Greenwald had his first career hat trick and classmate Dimitri Herr dished a team and career best four assists. Henrikson and Wilson shared time in the goal and each made five saves.
JHU faced off against top-seeded and ninth-ranked Princeton in the semifinals, with the Tigers coming away with an 8-6 win. The Tigers scored the game's first three goals before the Blue Jays got on the board with 34 seconds on remaining in the first quarter. Princeton got the only goal of the second quarter and took a 4-1 lead in the half. Hopkins battled back with goals from junior Kevin Yee and Beal to make it a one-goal game with 1:22 to play in the third. But the Tigers answered with three straight goals to push out to a 7-3 lead early in the fourth.
Back-to-back Blue Jay goals by senior co-captain Wes Hopkins and Gillette cut the deficit in half. But Hopkins could get no closer as Princeton retook a three-goal lead just 27 seconds later. Beal would get one more before the final horn to account for the 8-6 final. Beal led the team with a hat trick as the only Blue Jay with multiple goals. Wilson finished with a career-high 18 saves in the loss.
Hopkins then squared off against Navy in the third-place match and suffered an 11-10 loss to the Mids to finish in fourth place. It is the Blue Jays' best finish since 2011, when they also finished in fourth. The teams traded goals to open the match, before back-to-back goals gave Navy a 3-1 lead at the 2:46-mark. Hopkins answered with a goal from sophomore Bret Pinsker to cut the deficit in half, but the Mids answered with two of their own in a 39-second span to push out to a 5-2 lead. Beal had the final say of the quarter, scoring with 48 seconds left to make it a 5-3 game.
The teams traded goals in the second quarter and Navy led 6-4 at the end of the half. Hopkins edged Navy in the third quarter, 4-3, and the Mids led just 9-8 heading into the final quarter. Froomer opened the fourth quarter scoring and tied the match at the 4:45-mark. Just 23 seconds later, Navy retook the lead, but Hopkins answered with 3:47 to go to tie it at 10-all. Navy came right back, taking the lead for good with 3:18 to go.
Froomer, Gillette and Pinsker each had two goals for Hopkins, while Pinsker had a team-high four points. Yee drew a team-high five ejections and also had five steals while Fraser had four steals and drew three ejections. Hopkins grabbed five steals, blocked three shots and had a goal. Wilson finished with 14 saves and one steal.
Hopkins advances to the CWPA Championship, hosted by Navy, November 21-23.