BALTIMORE — Cody Radziewicz looked confused. He saw four empty chairs in front of microphones in the meeting room at the Cordish Lacrosse Center — the house that Dave Pietramala built — and wondered where to sit.
"Do I sit in the middle?" Radziewicz asked.
Bill Dwan shrugged his shoulders.
"I guess," Dwan said. "I don't know. I haven't been in here."
Led by an interim head coach and a makeshift midfield, and despite trailing for most of the game, the No. 8 Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team stunned No. 3 Syracuse 11-10 on junior attackman Wilkins Dismuke's putback with 2:09 left in overtime Saturday at Homewood Field.
Dwan, the Blue Jays' top assistant coach since 2001, took over the team Thursday after a lower back infection forced Pietramala to miss practice. About three hours before opening faceoff Saturday, Johns Hopkins announced that Pietramala would not return in time for the game against Syracuse.
"It was a little surreal," Dwan said. "It wasn't that hard, because he prepared them through Wednesday. He just wasn't feeling great on Thursday. The guys kind of took it from there. There's a lot of great leaders on this team. I kind of just managed it."
Johns Hopkins did not provide a timetable for Pietramala's return to the team.
"We're hoping as soon as possible, obviously," Dwan said.
Radziewicz, a junior midfielder from the Syracuse area, scored his first career hat trick against his hometown team. Two of his goals came in a 43-second span during the third quarter, as the Blue Jays scored three straight to tie the game at 7.
Still, the Orange appeared to have the game in hand when redshirt junior midfielder Sergio Salcido sent a searing shot on the run into the top-right corner of the goal to put Syracuse ahead 10-8 with 6:01 remaining. That came on the heels of a highlight-variety, backhanded goal from behind by junior attackman Nick Mariano to cement his third straight three-goal game.
But Johns Hopkins kept pressing, pulling within one on junior midfielder John Crawley's goal with 2:22 left and then tying it at 10 when sophomore attackman Shack Stanwick fed senior attackman Ryan Brown for a goal with 38.6 seconds left.
Stanwick and Brown didn't do much otherwise Saturday. Syracuse's senior All-American defenseman Brandon Mullins blanketed Stanwick and freshman sensation Nick Mellen had held Brown scoreless until that point.
"If you thought that Stanwick wouldn't have a goal in the game and Brown would only have one goal in the game — if you said that before the game — you would have had us winning handily," Orange coach John Desko said. "Credit goes to the other players for stepping up. Radziewicz is a Syracuse guy. We know those guys always play well against the Syracuse team. And he played extremely well. It's the best I've seen him play in his career."
After sophomore Hunter Moreland, who fueled Johns Hopkins' second-half comeback by winning seven of 12 faceoffs against Syracuse star Ben Williams, snared the opening faceoff of overtime one-handed, the Blue Jays set up a lengthy possession of dummy-dodges and crisp ball movement. Freshman midfielder Drew Supinski saw an opening and swept down the left alley and sent a lefty blast off of Orange goalie Warren Hill's chest. The ball popped up in front of the goal, Dismuke caught it and deposited it in the back of the net.
"I thought it was in the air for a minute and a half, it felt like. It came down. I had it right in my stick, luckily for me. I saw a whole open net and just put it in the back of the net," Dismuke said. "Best feeling in the world."
Freshman Drew Supinski scored two goals, as midfielders accounted for eight of Johns Hopkins' 11 goals. (John Strohsacker)
Syracuse led 2-0 after a slow and sloppy first quarter and extended its lead to 4-0 on an extra-man goal by hulking, 6-foot-7 midfielder Matt Lane. The Orange held Johns Hopkins scoreless for the first 18 minutes, 51 seconds.
The Blue Jays, aided by nine first-half Syracuse turnovers, stayed within striking distance. Supinski scored twice on nearly identical lefty alley dodges — the same move that would ultimately end in Dismuke's game-winning putback — and Radziewicz pulled Johns Hopkins to within 6-4 on a goal with 1:40 left in the second quarter. Radziewicz fooled the Orange defense on a pump fake, got inside, absorbed a hit and scored to give the Blue Jays life.
Syracuse answered on Mariano's second goal of the game with 24 seconds remaining. Mariano used a rub pick from senior midfielder Tim Barber to get just enough room on the left side to send a shot past Johns Hopkins sophomore goalie Brock Turnbaugh (10 saves) and send the Orange into the locker room ahead 7-4.
The score remained that way for the first 11 minutes of the third quarter before Radziewicz sparked the late rally. The Blue Jays came into the season expecting their starting midfield to consist of seniors Connor Reed and Holden Cattoni and sophomore All-American Joel Tinney. But Tinney was ruled ineligible due to a violation of NCAA rules and Reed suffered a season-ending ACL injury during preseason.
Johns Hopkins' remodeled midfield accounted for eight of its 11 goals Saturday, including a pair of extra-man tallies by sophomore Patrick Fraser and the two early goals by Supinski, a U.S. U19 team member.
"We did a good job with Ryan and Shack drawing down the defense and having midfielders open up top so we could get a good run at [the goal]," Radziewicz said. "Our offense is designed for everybody to have equal opportunities."
Johns Hopkins (4-2) has won three straight games — against Princeton, Towson and Syracuse — after stumbling to a 1-2 start and plays next Sunday at Virginia.
Syracuse (5-1) suffered its first loss and will look to rebound next Saturday at ACC foe Duke.
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