Nov. 20, 2011
CAMBRIDGE, MA - The Johns Hopkins water polo team went 1-2 at the 2011 Collegiate Water Polo (CWPA) Eastern Championship to finish in sixth place for the second straight year. The Blue Jays lost to defending champion St. Francis, 14-12, in the opening round. Hopkins then beat Iona, 13-7, to advance to the fifth place game, where the Jays suffered a 15-8 loss to Bucknell. The Blue Jays finish the season with a 17-16 record.
Junior Ross Schofield was named First Team All-East at the conclusion of the tournament as he is just the third player in program history, and first since 2009, to earn first team honors. Freshman goalie Danny Ovelarwas named to the second team as the first freshman in program history to earn All-East accolades.
The opening round match versus St. Francis featured 24 ejections, but the Blue Jays went just 1-of-13 on man-ups while the Terriers were 3-of-10. The match featured no lead larger than three goals as the two teams battled to advance to the semifinals.
St. Francis took a 2-0 lead on goals by Marko Gencic and Vuk Vujosevic with less than two minutes gone in the opening period, but Schofield got Hopkins on the board at 5:11 with a five-meter penalty shot. The Terriers answered with a Tamas Toth goal at 3:52 to go up 3-1. Sophomore Thomas de Lyongot that one back, scoring just 19 seconds later. St. Francis responded with back-to-back goals from Richard Polgar before Schofield cranked a shot past Luka Raic to make it a 5-3 game after the first.
Junior Mike McCreery and Schofield answered an Alexandar Pantic strike with a pair of back-to-back goals to make it a 6-5 game with 4:44 to play in the half. Bosco Stankovic restored St. Francis' two-goal lead with the first of his three on the night just 17 seconds later. Junior Alex Whittamhammered in a shot with eight seconds on the clock to pull Hopkins within one at the half.
Whittam scored his second straight at 5:59 in the third to tie the game at 7-7. Gencic and Stankovic responded with a pair of goals to put St. Francis back up 9-7. The teams traded goals over the closing minutes of the period as the Terriers led 10-9 after three. Toth scored to open the fourth period and the back-and-forth action continued throughout the stanza. Pantic put the Terriers up 14-12 with 1:31 to play on a man-up goal, but the Blue Jays wouldn't go away. They had their chances in the final minutes as Toth and Pantic were both ejected, but the Terriers' defense kept the Blue Jays off the board to hang on for the win.
Schofield led all scorers with five goals, while Whittam had three and Ovelar made nine saves for Hopkins. Gencic and Stankovic each tossed in hat tricks to pace the Terriers. Raic started the game and made two saves in the first half, while Igor Mladenovic had three saves in the second half.
The following morning, Whittam and Strickland each tallied hat tricks as Hopkins bested Iona, 13-7, to reach the fifth-place game. For Hopkins, the difference was man-up goals as the Blue Jays converted on 6-of-13 opportunities, while holding the Gaels to a 2-of-7 performance.
Trailing 1-0 following a man-up goal by Jake Lloyd 30 seconds into the game, JHU rattled off three markers in a row as Strickland ripped in an advantage score at 7:05 before Whittam tacked on back-to-back strikes at 6:13 and 4:10 to make it 3-1 in favor of the Blue Jays. Iona cut the deficit to one with a tally by Ian Thompson at 3:17, but Hopkins closed the opening period with man-up goals from Whittam and sophomore Jake Gilletteat 1:52 and 44 seconds, respectively, to pull out in front 5-2.
The Gaels started the second period with a tally by Bryan Driscoll to slice the lead to two, but freshman Wes Hopkinspushed across another Blue Jays' man-up goal to return the spread to three at 6-3 at 4:42. On the heels of another Hopkins man-up goal by McCreery to build the lead to 7-3, Iona responded with a natural strike from the hand of Cameron Hudson to keep the Gaels within three at 7-4. However, JHU closed the first half with a tally by Schofield at 1:32 to carry an 8-4 lead into intermission.
Hopkins blew the game open in the third period outscoring Iona 4-0 as sophomore Stephen Kingery, Strickland and freshman Johnny Beallined even-strength shots into the cage at 7:39, 5:38 and 5:13 before Gillette tossed in another man-up marker to make it 12-4 at 4:03. Strickland completed his hat-trick to start the fourth period as he connected on a blast 12 seconds into the final frame, while the Gaels closed the game with goals from Matt Joslyn and Tyler Mancuso before Hudson lobbed in the final tally on a man-up chance at 2:01 for the 13-7 final score.
In cage, Ovelar registered Player of the Game honors for the Blue Jays as the 2011 Southern Division Rookie of the Year stopped 13 shots, including five in the fourth period, to aid his squad's cause in the victory. Stefen Hill took the loss for Iona as he made three saves during the course of the contest.
Hopkins then took on Bucknell in the fifth-place game, with the Bison grounding the Blue Jays in a 15-8 decision at Harvard University's Blodgett Pool. Bucknell wasted little time in jumping out to a lead as Jack Else tallied natural and man-up goals three minutes apart to push the herd in front. Hopkins closed the period with three consecutive scores as Schofield and Beal each connected on shots to tie the game. Schofield added his second tally of the afternoon with under a minute to play in the period, as he grabbed an errant pass and finished the opportunity with 40 seconds on the clock to make it 3-2 in favor of the Blue Jays.
The margin expanded to 4-2 less than two minutes into the second period as Whittam beat Matt Napleton to finish off a 4-0 spurt by Hopkins to apparently put the momentum in favor of the Blue Jays. However, Bucknell saw JHU's run and raised them one more goal as Else and Daniel Schwartz bombed away for natural goals, Julian Colina connected on a man-up tally and Beau Caillouette added a successful five-meter penalty shot with 38 seconds left in the first half to place the Bison ahead 7-4.
Both teams found the back of the cage prior to the halftime horn as Hopkins broke free for a scoring shot with 25 seconds left, while Mike Kimble responded for Bucknell with nine seconds to go for an 8-5 Bison lead at the break. The margin expanded to 11-5 prior to the end of the third period as Colina (5:16) hit for a solo marker before Kimble (3:42, 1:39) canned back-to-back goals to put the Blue Jays in a nearly insurmountable hole.
The Blue Jays and the Bison exchanged shots over the final eight minutes of action in the fourth period, but the Blue Jays were unable to shave the deficit below five goals the rest of the way in falling by eight when the final horn sounded.
Else led the way for the Bison with four goals, while Kimble notched a hat trick. Napleton, who played until being lifted in the fourth period for Keegan Williams, made eight saves with five goals allowed in 24 minutes of work, while Williams added one save with three goals permitted in the final eight minutes of action. For JHU, Schofield keyed the Blue Jays' attack with a hat trick, while Whittam added a pair of markers in the field. In cage, Ovelar allowed 15 goals and stopped nine shots as Bucknell outshot Hopkins 24-to-17.