February 15, 2014

Crawley, Stanwick Shine in Blue Jays' Balanced Win over Towson

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

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Johns Hopkins freshman midfielder John Crawley scored four goals, the most in a game by a Blue Jays rookie middie since Paul Rabil in 2005. (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

BALTIMORE — Up until about 5:15 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, when Johns Hopkins freshman John Crawley scored his fourth goal against Towson, the last time a rookie midfielder wearing a Blue Jays jersey had notched that many scores in a game was nine seasons ago, when a 6-foot-2, 200-pound Paul Rabil, then wearing No. 19, did it against Syracuse in 2005 at the Carrier Dome.

The circumstances were somewhat different then. For one, the latter game was played indoors in a climate-controlled environment. Saturday's tilt went off in the cold and a whipping wind at a snow-banked Homewood Field. The result back then — a comeback overtime win on an archrival's turf — perhaps carried a bit more weight to it, too.

But nevertheless, Crawley and Rabil are now linked in Hopkins history.

The freshman from Port Washington on Long Island was one of three Blue Jays with four goals Saturday in a 15-8 victory over defending Colonial Athletic Association champion Towson. No. 12 Johns Hopkins extended its win streak to 19 consecutive games against its Baltimore foe, and improved to 39-3 in the all-time series and 2-0 on the season after an opening win a week ago over Ohio State. Towson drops to 1-1.

Junior attackman Wells Stanwick pulled the strings for an effective offense, notching one goal and five assists, with two coming to fellow attackman Ryan Brown. Brown finished with four goals and two assists, both to senior attackman Brandon Benn, who also had four goals. Nine of the Blue Jays' 15 goals were assisted.

Perhaps that is why when Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala was asked about Crawley's performance, his deflected the question — much like Towson goalie Tyler White (18 saves) tried to do all game long — and spoke about the Blue Jays team mentality.

"It was a great team performance," Pietramala said. "We've preached that one guy is no more important than any other guy. If one guy has four goals, that's probably because some of the things other guys have done.

"What I'm proud of is that a young guy is growing up right in front of our eyes. I like that he practices hard. I like that he's been a tough kid. He's changed position [from attack to midfield] and done whatever he needs to do for the team."

It was a team performance. After Towson won five of the game's first six faceoffs and at one point led 5-3 midway through the second quarter, Johns Hopkins finished with a 19-9 draw advantage (with Drew Kennedy going 16-for-23), and the Blue Jays outshot the Tigers 47-16 entering a fourth quarter in which Towson took 15 shots trying to scramble back. Johns Hopkins won the ground ball battle 37-26, and put 60 percent of its shots on goal.

The key swing came after halftime. After a Towson goal by Max Siskind just over a minute into the third quarter tied the score at 6, the Blue Jays scored seven straight to take a 13-6 advantage.

Crawley, who also had a goal in his first collegiate game against Ohio State, scored back-to-back unassisted goals during the stretch, running in through the box. Coming from point-behind around the right side, he fired in a pair of nearly identical quick-release high shots past the goalie White.

"We saw the Ohio State game... He's a really good shooter," Towson coach Shawn Nadelen said of Crawley. "When he gets his hands free he can bury the ball. That's probably why he's out there."

Towson barely had the ball in the third quarter — the Tigers won only one of nine faceoffs — and the Hopkins defense, even without injured short-stick defensive midfielder Phil Castronova, pressured the Tigers into six turnovers.

"That's tough against a team that shoots the ball very well," said Nadelen, who was a co-captain of Pietramala's first Johns Hopkins team in 2001. "In the first quarter, we were in pretty good shape. Our faceoff guy [Conor Pequigney] got a little flustered and we had to go with Alec [Burckley], who is a true freshman who saw his first action. Conor came back and rebounded in the fourth quarter, which was good to see, but that third quarter was a tough one to swallow."

Junior midfielder Greg Cuccinello led Towson with four goals, which included three straight during the second quarter and one at the final buzzer. Towson's primary threat, midfielder Tom DeNapoli, was held to just one assist and Tigers also played without injured midfielder Andrew Hodgson. Johns Hopkins goalie Eric Schneider finished with eight saves.

"I thought we did a good job handling [ourselves] in the first half," DeNapoli said. "In the second half, we weren't seeing the ball a lot, and we got of got ancy and lost our composure with a couple young guys. Before you know it, it's 13-6 and it's too late."

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