April 26, 2014

Hopkins Celebrates Senior Day Beating Buckeyes

by Megan Schneider | LaxMagazine.com | Blog Replay

Taylor D'Amore became Johns Hopkins' all-time leader in assists, hitting the 150 mark for her career.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

BALTIMORE - The No. 7 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays were in high spirits Saturday afternoon, dancing, singing and popping balloons in a streamer-decorated locker room after taking down their ALC rival, No. 4 Ohio State, 8-7, on Senior Day, which honored Taylor D’Amore, Liz Johnson, Sarah Taylor, Sammy Cermack and Kayley Henz.

“I am just elated for our seniors,” Hopkins coach Janine Tucker said. “Our whole team made a commitment to play with joy and play their faces off and do that little bit extra for the seniors in today’s game.”

In the ALC, Ohio State trails Florida at the No. 2 spot, while Hopkins falls in the middle at No. 5. The Buckeyes now sit with a 4-2 record in the conference as the Blue Jays go even at 3-3. In terms of conference play, some may consider this an upset win in the books.

“I don’t know if Ohio State counts as an upset,” D’Amore said, whose Hopkins squad boasts an overall better record than the Buckeyes. “We fully expected to win that for sure.”

The Blue Jays squad kicked into full speed from the get go, winning 60 percent of the draws with sophomore Dene’ DiMartino in the center circle and firing a total of 20 shots on goal in the first half.

Ohio State scored the first two goals of the game, one each for Cian Dabrowski and Cara Facchina, but the 2-0 lead for the Buckeyes didn’t faze the Blue Jays.

They responded with a six-goal run over the next 12 minutes. Of those six goals, DiMartino sunk two, while Cermack, Taylor, Jen Cook and D’Amore had one apiece.

Cermack’s goal was a stunner for Ohio State goalie Tori DeScenza because she was met eye-to-eye with a fastball from a quick stick shot. D’Amore had taken her position behind goal looking for cutters inside and as she fed it to Cermack right on the crease, DeScenza was unable to turn around quickly enough to plant her feet.

“Sammy does a great job exploding out of her cuts,” D’Amore said. “I love when I see her cut in because as long as I do my job and give her a good feed, it’s pretty much good for a goal every time.”

D’Amore broke the school record for assists with 150 total from both Cermack’s goal and the second for DiMartino. She only needed one to tie it. D’Amore is now the seventh player in the history of NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse to dock 150 career assists.

With about minute to go, Allie Ogilvie scored for Ohio State to set the score at 6-3 going into halftime. With the three-goal lead, Hopkins held their heads high.

However, the momentum changed in favor of the Buckeyes with each draw in the second half now taken by sophomore Olivia DiCarlantonio. They only allowed Hopkins to win two of the seven draws.   

“Ohio State’s a phenomenal team,” Tucker said. “We knew that they were not going away. They started to own the draws early in the second half and that ended up hurting us.”

Jennifer Porretto scored two goals and Dabrowski earned her second for the Buckeyes to tie the game up at 6 at the 22:01 mark, forcing Hopkins to call a timeout.

As the clock ticked down, the Blue Jays made some key adjustments – picking up more draw controls, riding hard, and offensively, improving shot placement against a goalie that made 12 saves for the day.

Defensively, Hopkins’ Octavia Williams and freshman goalie Caroline Federico came up with some big stops that fueled the team’s momentum – Williams with caused turnovers from checks and Federico with interceptions outside the crease.

Yet, they didn’t get on the board until about 15 minutes later.

“It was forever,” Tucker said. “It was sheer will. We took a million shots in that game, so we knew we getting the looks, but we just weren’t finishing. We just needed a little bit more concentration to stick that shot and Taylor [D’Amore] was the one that came flying around and just whizzed it low and away.”

Again with the attacking duo, Cermack fed D’Amore to give the lead back to Hopkins. But the Buckeyes wouldn’t leave without a fight. They scored one minute later to tie it back up at 7.

For the next five minutes, it was a continuous battle, as both teams scrambled for the ball. Hopkins continued to get the shots off, but they couldn’t find the back of the net.  

“It was on us to put the shots low, but we kept shooting stick-side high and off-stick high, myself included,” D’Amore said. “We have to take that extra second to finish them and that was the biggest thing in the second half.”

After being fouled in the corner with about four minutes to play, D’Amore sprinted behind the goal to draw her defender, only to beat her as she curled back the way she came. D’Amore spotted Jenna Reifler in front of the cage for an easy assist – No. 151 of the season. This time, Reifler went for the bounce shot and scored giving Hopkins an 8-7 lead.

Ohio State tried to dispute the goal because it bounced so hard that it hit the upper left corner of the net and bounced right back out. But the officials – and Hopkins – played on, keeping the goal on the board.

Hopkins won the following possession and played keep away. Drawing double and triple teams with Ohio State’s goalie now pulled for the game, the Blue Jays worked the full field and included their defenders.

In an effort to get the ball back, Ohio State fouled numerous times, including yellow cards against Emily Valli and Jennifer Porretto. But Hopkins held them off, playing to its advantage when possible. The Buckeyes’ 32 fouls and 20 turnovers certainly factored in.

“I don’t think by any means that was our cleanest game but we pulled out the win when we really needed it and that’s all you can ask for,” said D’Amore. “A win’s a win.”

With the victory, Hopkins will now get a rematch against Penn State on May 1 in the ALC Tournament. The Blue Jays fell to PSU 12-10 only one week ago.

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