Perfect Lacrosse Season Ends in Stunning
Championship Win, the first in 18 years
The Blue Jays celebrate their championship win over Duke in Philadelphia.
PHOTO JAY VANRENSSELAER/HIPS
The Blue Jays’ undefeated regular season was on the line. So was their shot at the NCAA men’s lacrosse title game and, with it, the opportunity to bring the championship back to Hopkins for the first time since 1987.
In the semifinal game against Virginia on May 28, the Blue Jays led after three quarters, but fell behind when Virginia scored four straight at the start of the fourth quarter. A fast-moving, dramatic lightning storm stopped play for 45 minutes, after which midfielder Kyle Harrison ’05 (see Alumni, page 41) tied the game at seven-all. Soon, though, the Blue Jays again found themselves a goal down, this time with 12.9 seconds left. But that proved more than enough time for the Blue Jays.
Hopkins won the final face-off, and the ball found junior attackman Jake Byrne, who dodged a defender and scored with a mere 1.4 seconds remaining. That goal set up a showdown in overtime, which ended when defensive midfielder Benson Erwin ’05 scored only his fourth goal of the season, sending Hopkins to its second title game in three years.
Against Duke in the final, before a record crowd of 44,920 at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, Hopkins and its opponent traded goals through much of the first half. The Blue Jays’ defense then shut down the Blue Devils, the nation’s highest-scoring team, holding them to a single goal in the second half. Byrne scored what would be the game-winner with 13:35 left to play in the 9-8 victory over Duke.
With the incredible tournament run, the team became only the third since 1971 to post a perfect 16-0 record.
“I am so proud of these guys right now,” head coach Dave Pietramala ’90 said in a post-game press conference. “When we lost a year ago [to Syracuse in the semifinals], people told us that we quit…. When we got back to campus, they made a commitment that we were just going to take it one day at a time and we were going to play to the best of our ability. I’m just so proud of these kids, our fans, and our administration.”
Pietramala, in his sixth year as head coach, now holds the distinction of being the only person in the history of college lacrosse to win an NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship as both a player (on the 1987 team, one of the game’s best-ever defensemen) and head coach.
The seniors on the team ended their careers with a record of 55-6, one national championship, and four trips to the Final Four.
—Angela Paik Schaeffer