The Blue Jays got a taste of what could become familiar.
The Tigers disrupted Johns Hopkins’ offense by carrying the ball into their offensive end, holding onto the ball despite several stall warnings and waiting for the Blue Jays’ defensemen to either get frustrated or over-aggressive before going on the offensive.
Through the first three quarters, Towson had a 26-19 advantage in shots and a 9-6 lead on the scoreboard.
"It’s definitely frustrating as an offense," Johns Hopkins junior midfielder Michael Kimmel said. "Especially when you get down by three goals, you want to score three goals in one possession. That’s not possible, obviously. But it’s definitely frustrating as an offense when you see your defense out on the field a lot. And then we get the ball and throw it away and then more defense. We were trying to press out at the end there. But we were playing defense the entire game. They were doing a good job of keeping the ball away."
The key for the Tigers was their ability to be patient and score when the opportunities arose. Then when they got the lead, they were able to sit on it and milk the clock. That formula might not work for every team, and senior midfielder Brian Christopher wasn’t sure every opponent might employ a similar strategy.
"It depends on the kinds of teams you see," he said. "Teams like Virginia and Syracuse push the ball no matter what. It all depends on what they want to do."
*Kimmel looked like the best player on the field, and it wasn't just because he recorded a game-high five points on two goals and three assists. His speed when initiating play from the top of the box was at times too much for Towson’s defenders. He created a lot of room when he dodged and was able to find open teammates for high-percentage shots. Kimmel said he had the freedom to be aggressive as he noticed the Tigers’ short-stick defenders pushing out and extending on fellow midfielders Mark Bryan and Christopher. "I didn’t want to force any passes to BC and Mark and make a turnover," Kimmel said. "So I figured if they were going to press out, I’d run by them and make a play."
*Johns Hopkins junior Michael Gvozden made seven more saves than Tigers junior Rob Wheeler, but Wheeler made perhaps the most dramatic save in the first overtime. He made a brilliant kick save to turn back junior attackman Steven Boyle, who was alone on the doorstep. Said coach Tony Seaman of his goalie: "Wheeler made every save he could make." Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala also praised Wheeler, saying, "GIve that goalie credit. He played a heck of a game tonight."
*Johns Hopkins acknowledged that there may have been a letdown after Saturday’s 15-7 win against No. 8 Navy. "You want to say you come out with the same emotions and the same intensity every game," Christopher said. "But the truth of the matter is, you can’t. Saturday was such a good setting, a huge game, and then to turn it around for Wednesday night, it’s tough to get up. But we tried our best." Pietramala, who pointed out that Towson collected nine more groundballs, didn’t mince words. "We come in and our team felt a little too good about themselves after the Navy win and Homecoming and the big crowd," he said. "We’re not that good. Simply put, we’re not good enough to not show up and play hard for 60 full minutes, and you saw that tonight."
*As if squandering a three-goal lead in the fourth quarter for the second time in three games wasn’t bad enough, the Tigers probably lost a chance to campaign for a berth in the NCAA tournament with a win against Johns Hopkins. "Yeah," Seaman said in response to whether a victory would have locked up an at-large bid. "But we didn’t. So we can’t even look at that."
*Christopher’s game-winning goal with 1.2 seconds left in double overtime was the second time in his career he had scored in overtime. He did it in a 7-6 victory over Loyola on May 6, 2006. … The Blue Jays’ rally from a four-goal deficit was the program’s first such comeback since March 18, 2005 when Johns Hopkins trailed Syracuse, 7-1, in the second quarter before prevailing, 12-11, in overtime.