June 13, 2012
The Johns Hopkins women’s lacrosse team had an up and down season in 2012, culminating in an ALC Semifinals appearance. The Blue Jays finished the season with a 9-9 record, but with five wins over ranked teams and one of the toughest schedules in the nation, they just missed out on an NCAA Tournament berth.
Hopkins opened the season on a strong note, defeating host George Mason, 19-6, behind a five-goal performance from senior Candace Rossi. The highlight of the game came with 12:47 to play when Rossi scored her 100th career goal, to become the seventh player in school Division I history to reach the milestone. The game was back-and-forth early, but a 7-1 run that bridged halftime put the Blue Jays on top by six. Following a George Mason goal at 16:21, Hopkins scored nine of the final 10 goals of the game to put things away. In addition to Rossi’s five goals, classmate Colleen McCaffrey put away four goals while sophomore Sammy Cermack dished out four assists.
The Blue Jays followed their season-opening win with an 18-8 defeat of the Mount of Mount St. Mary’s. Sophomore Taylor D’Amore fueled the attack with four goals and six points while McCaffrey, senior Rachel Ballatori and sophomore Sarah Taylor all notched hat tricks. This was another close game in the early goings, but Hopkins kicked it into gear late in the first half, outscoring Mount St. Mary’s 11-1 over a 26 minute-span to take control of the contest. After scoring 37 goals in its first two games, Hopkins put up 20 on visiting Denver in the Blue Jays’ home opener two days later. The Jays used runs of six and eight goals to go up 14-1 with more than 21 minutes still to go in the game. Seven different players scored and four had hat tricks as Hopkins used a balanced attack in the win. Rossi turned in her second five-goal performance of the season while Ballatori and D’Amore had four goals apiece.
Hopkins then took on Charles Street neighbor Loyola in the first meeting between the team teams since 1982. D’Amore put the Blue Jays on top just over eight minutes into the game, following a lengthy lightning delay, but the Greyhounds answered with five straight goals and six of the next seven to take a 6-2 lead. Rossi would end the run with back-to-back goals just 50 seconds apart, but Cass Cursaro closed out the half with a goal for Loyola to send the visitors into the half with a three-goal lead. The teams traded goals over the first 25 minutes of the second stanza as Hopkins could get no closer than two before falling 11-7.
The next outing saw an offensive explosion from both teams as Hopkins and visiting Stony Brook combined for 29 goals in a game that came down to the wire as the Seawolves upset the Blue Jays 15-14. Hopkins took its biggest lead of the game, 10-7, with 8:41 to play in the opening half. But Stony Brook answered with four straight in a run that bridged halftime to take an 11-10 lead. The Blue Jays retook the lead on goals from junior Courtney Schweizer and senior Rachel Serio with just over 15 minutes left. The teams then traded goals over ensuing 10 minutes as Hopkins led 14-13 with 5:14 on the clock. But Stony Brook tied it with Janine Hillier’s goal less than a minute later and then won it on Claire Petersen’s free position goal with nine seconds to play. Rossi (3g, 4a) and D’Amore (2g, 4a) combined for 13 points in the loss.
Four days later, it was the complete opposite in a defensive battle between Hopkins and Towson. The two teams scored just nine goals in a 5-4 win for the Blue Jays. In a game where possession was crucial, the Jays dominated at the center circle, outdrawing the Tigers 10-1. Hopkins opened the game on a 4-0 run, holding Towson scoreless for more than 26 minutes. But when the Tigers got on the board at 3:32, they followed with two more to open the second half and make it a one-goal game with nearly 22 minutes to play. McCaffrey, who scored a game-high three goals, scored what proved to be the game-winner at 15:01 to put Hopkins on top 5-3. Kelly Custer scored less than two minutes later to once again make it a one-goal game, but freshman KC Emerson and the Blue Jay defense shut the door from there to hold on for the win.
The Blue Jays followed that with a big 16-12 win over the host Georgetown Hoyas, snapping a six-game losing streak in the series. D’Amore and Cermack combined to score nine goals, including eight in the first half, to lead the offense. Hopkins opened the game with four straight goals and scored seven of the first eight of the game to push out to a 7-1 lead. Georgetown could get no closer than five until late in the game when the Hoyas scored the final three goals to account for the 16-12 final. Emerson made a season-high 13 saves to help the Blue Jays to the win. With the win, Hopkins knocked the first of two big monkeys off its back. The second would come just 11 days later against the Princeton Tigers.
McCaffrey scored her fourth hat trick of the season to lead Hopkins to an 8-7 win over visiting Harvard. The Crimson led 2-1 early before a four-goal Blue Jay spurt saw the home team take a 5-2 lead and hold the Crimson scoreless for the final 24:04 of the half. Harvard opened the second half with back-to-back goals less than two minutes apart to cut the deficit to one. But Hopkins answered with a pair of goals from Cermack and Taylor to retake a three-goal advantage. After scoring just four goals over the first 53 minutes of the game, the Crimson kicked their offense into gear with three goals in less than five minutes to pull even with 1:38 to play. McCaffrey would play the hero for the Blue Jays, scoring off a heads-up pass from D’Amore with just 19 seconds on the clock.
Hopkins knocked off that second monkey with a 9-8 win over Princeton at Homewood Field. It was the Blue Jays’ third one-goal win in their last four games and snapped a five-game skid in the series. Hopkins fell behind 4-1 early in the game, but the Blue Jays used a 6-1 run that closed out the first half to take a 7-5 lead into the break. McCaffrey put an exclamation point on the run as she snuck a quick shot just under the cross bar with one second on the clock. Princeton opened the second much the same as the first, outscoring Hopkins 3-1 to make it an 8-8 game with 16:48 still to play. But McCaffrey would cap the scoring just over a minute later, staking the Blue Jays to a 9-8 lead – a lead that would stand over the final 15:31.
The Blue Jays’ four-game win streak ended in their conference opener at Vanderbilt the next week. This one was a game of runs that saw three ties and two lead changes in the early going. Hopkins used a three-goal run to turn an early two-goal deficit into a one-goal lead at the 16:06 mark, but Vandy answered with four goals in just over three minutes to retake the lead. Then it was the Blue Jays’ turn as they scored three goals in just 71 seconds to make it a 6-6 game with just over five minutes left in the half. The ‘Dores would have the final say though as Ally Carey scored to put the home team up 7-6 at the break. Vanderbilt would not relinquish its lead in the second half, holding on to win 14-11. Ballatori paced the Blue Jays with a career-high five goals, including four in the first half.
Hopkins nearly pulled off its third win over a top-five team in the last two seasons but dropped a heartbreaker in double overtime, 13-12, to fifth-ranked Florida. Hopkins led by two twice early in the game before a six-goal outburst by Florida put the Gators on top 9-5 midway through the second half. The Blue Jays battled back with a pair of three-goal spurts to finally retake the lead on Rossi’ unassisted tally with 1:13 to play. However, the Gators weren’t going away and forced overtime with Gabi Wiegand’s free position goal with just seven ticks on the clock. Hopkins struck first in the overtime with a goal from Cermack, but it was answered just 29 seconds later to eventually force sudden death overtime. Florida would slip away with the win after Nora Barry scored on free position 58 seconds into the second overtime. D’Amore paced the Blue Jays with two goals and five assists and combined with Rossi to win nine draws. McCaffrey and Rossi each added hat tricks while Emerson made nine saves in the cage.
Just four days later Hopkins hosted 12th-ranked Virginia in the first meeting between the two since 2008. After Cermack put the Jays on top early, the Cavaliers answered with a 7-2 run to push out to a 7-3 lead with just over 23 minutes to play in the game. Hopkins climbed back into it with four of the next five goals to make it a one-goal game, but UVa would close out the scoring with the final three goals of the game to win 11-7. The road didn’t get any easier for the Blue Jays as they made the trip to Evanston, IL to take on the top-ranked Northwestern Wildcats. It was all ‘Cats early as they jumped on the Blue Jays 6-0 in the game’s opening 17 minutes. Hopkins finally got on the board with a goal from freshman Jenna Kasmarik and JHU would score six of the next eight goals to make it a 9-6 game. Northwestern answered back with a pair of quick goals and the lead grew to five. But the Blue Jays kept fighting, scoring five goals in less than seven minutes to tie the game at 11 goals apiece. However, the Wildcats would answer with a five-goal run of their own to go up 16-11. Rossi ended the run with an unassisted tally at 1:01 to cap the high scoring affair. Rossi paced the attack with three goals and two assists, and Ballatori added a hat trick as well. D’Amore was dominant at the center circle, controlling eight draws against a team known for its draw prowess.
Hopkins went back on the road to another ALC opponent the following week, taking on 10th-ranked Penn State in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions never trailed in a game where the Blue Jays cut the deficit to just one four times, but couldn’t overcome the Lions in a 12-9 loss. Hopkins dropped a tough one in its next outing, falling 7-6 on a late goal to UMBC. It was a back-and-forth affair, as the Blue Jays couldn’t quite put the Retrievers away, leading 6-5 with 16:36 to play in the game. But a pair of back-to-back goals by UMBC’s Alicia Krause gave the visitors their first win in the series since 1999. Hopkins got back in the win column in its final regular season game, a 12-9 victory over 13th-ranked Ohio State. With a total of 62 fouls and eight yellow cards, it was a physical game between the Blue Jays and the Buckeyes. Ohio State pushed out to a 4-0 lead by the time the game was 10 minutes old and looked ready to run away with a win. But Hopkins got things going with a McCaffrey goal to ignite a 10-1 run that saw the Jays turn a four-goal deficit into a five-goal advantage. The Hopkins’ defense held Ohio State off the scoreboard for more than 22 minutes as the offense did its work. The Buckeyes broke through with 14:23 in the game, scoring four of the next five to make things interesting with 5:51 to go. But the Jays would shut things down from there, scoring one final tally, as they won 12-9 on senior day. Rossi, Ballatori and D’Amore each tallied four points on the offensive end while junior Cosette Larash made 11 saves in the cage.
Hopkins win over Ohio State set up a re-match with Penn State in the ALC Quarterfinals the following week. The Blue Jays got a dominating performance from D’Amore, who finished with three goals, five assists and five draws as the Jays won 13-12 to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2008. The teams traded goals in the opening eight minutes before a five-goal run by the Blue Jays saw the six seed take a 6-2 lead with 10:15 to go in the half. The Nittany Lions answered with three goals in just 84 seconds to cut the deficit to one. From there, the teams would swap tallies until the end of the half and Hopkins took a 9-8 lead into the break. The Blue Jays opened the second half with three straight and four of the first five goals to push out to a 13-9 lead. But Penn State had one last push, scoring two goals in just over 70 seconds to make it a 13-11 game with 11:48 to play. The Hopkins’ defense would hold Penn State off the board over the ensuing 10 minutes before Tatum Coffey scored what proved to be the final tally as Hopkins held on for the 13-12 lead.
The Blue Jays met up with the Wildcats in the semifinals, the first meeting between the two in the conference tournament since the inaugural in 2007. Hopkins took an early 3-1 lead on the defending ALC and NCAA Champions but the Wildcats used runs of five and four goals while holding the Jays to just one during a stretch of nearly 42 minutes to take a 10-4 lead. Kasmarik and Cermack ended the drought with a pair of goals just 28 seconds apart, but was never able to pull closer than four the rest of the way as Northwestern moved on to the title game with a 13-9 win. The loss ended the Blue Jays’ season at 9-9 and the careers of the nine seniors – McCaffrey, Ballatori, Rossi, Serio, Alyson Friedensohn, Jen Fox, Cami Kramer, Alyssa Kildare and Monica D’Ambrogi. Though the season was over, several Blue Jays were honored for their play during the 2012 campaign. D’Amore, Kildare and McCaffrey were honored by both the ALC and the IWLCA with all-conference and all-region honors. In addition, Kildare was selected to the play in the IWLCA North-South Senior All-Star Game.