Tommy Gilligan was in Baltimore this weekend to take in the Johns Hopkins vs. Towson men’s lacrosse game on Friday night (2/17) at Homewood Field. Check out Tommy’s great game photos below along with a recap and commentary from LaxAllStars.com’s Connor Wilson.
Hopkins entered the game with high expectations for 2012, and Towson had a lot to prove as a NCAA Division 1 program on the rise. JHU looked good from the beginning, even if they went down a goal early a couple of times. The fact that it was a pretty even game for much of the the first and second quarters didn’t seem to effect Hop all that much either.
Hopkins moved the ball well, ran their offensive and defensive schemes consistently and the players really looked like they knew what they were doing out there. They had options to dodge or carry all over the field and used them intelligently. I thought Zach Palmer might have a BIG game, and he did – Palmer scored 3 goals and added 3 assists in the win for Hop.
As the game unfolded, Hop kept up the pressure and this is where the Blue Jays separated themselves from Towson. The big difference maker was clearly turnovers, as Hop did a great job with possession overall. With a tough ride and pressure all over the field, Hop was able to force Towson into a lot of mistakes. Towson players also made their fair share of mistakes on their own, but JHU deserves a lot of the credit here as the Blue Jays were almost always in a position to take advantage of mistakes.
That is what makes this game so darn interesting to recap! Last year, Hopkins looked cautious in their opener. They didn’t look like a dominant team, and they weren’t playing with any confidence. They won some games, but it wasn’t pretty. This year, I think a lot of people were worried that they’d have to sit through the same Blue Jays team early on in the season, but after Friday night’s game, that should be much less of a concern.
The Blue Jays were looking for opportunities to get good looks on cage. They still had the ability to settle it down, work through their sets, and generate good looks via 6 v 6. But Hopkins surprised me a little bit with some of their transition looks, feeds and goals.
They forced opportunities at times, which often resulted in goals, or good shot attempts. In this regard, Palmer truly stood out. He made a couple of great passes, and really played with his head on a swivel, but was also extremely sneaky, showing a great ability to score from any angle, especially in close.
Johns Hopkins was dangerous before this game simply because they had a lot of returning talent. But the rest of NCAA D1 has to be looking at the Blue Jays again now, because Hop just displayed almost midseason form. Towson is a good team, and they might even belong in the 12-15 ranking range for the D1 polls, but Hopkins made them look like a borderline top 20 team, especially in the second half.
You can give credit to Petro for a fiery halftime speech (it’s possible), or say it was just Towson playing up a level in the first half, but the truth is probably close to Towson being good this year, and Hopkins just being that much better.
I really liked Hopkins last year, and I was just waiting for Petro to loosen the leash a little bit. As the season progressed, he did just that, and Hop became a serious contender. If Petro already has the confidence in his players to let them loose a bit this year, then watch out everyone else! Hopkins is DANGEROUS in 2012 and we can’t wait to see more from these guys.
Other Game Notes:
– Did you see that hit on
Kyle Wharton Wells Stanwick? It was just egregiously high, late and illegal. The game was definitely chippy at times, but both teams were involved from early in the 1st quarter. Still, it looks like the refs did a great job of balancing the physical play, while keeping the game under control.
– Keeping the game under control is one thing. But is it just me, or did the refs miss a goal by Towson? The play resulted in a Hopkins goal on the other end eventually, and this is a huge game changing moment if it happened. Guess I really need to watch that replay. That being said, even if they got it wrong, I do NOT want to see instant replay in lacrosse. It’s just not worth it.
– How good did BOTH teams look out there? Sure, looks are meaningless, but both of these teams were looking fresh. Hop in a classic look, and Towson with wild helmet stickers and striking uniforms. Overall, a pretty game to watch.
– Was Wells Stanwick using traditional? If so, he might be my new favorite player ever. Sorry Jeremy Thompson.
For more game photos, check out the LAS Facebook page!
Did you catch the game on ESPNU? Agree with Connor’s commentary? Let us know in the comments section below!
For more College Lacrosse coverage from LaxAllStars.com, click here.