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Hopkins 2nd half rally propels them past Navy

By: Taber Lucchese

Joel Tinney scored three goals and had two assists in his first competitive lacrosse game in a year and a half.

There are two things we learned from Tuesday night’s Maryland match-up: Johns Hopkins’ Joel Tinney is back and better than ever, and Navy can play with the best of them. The No. 8 Blue Jays broke the hearts of No. 10 Midshipmen in a phenomenal 15-8 second-half comeback, with both teams showcasing deadly depth in the midfield.

It was a night of new beginnings, landmarks, and second chances. Decorated Hopkins junior Joel Tinney returned to Homewood for the first time since 2015 and reminded everyone of what they had been missing – in the form of a hat trick, two assists, and what some are already calling one of the greatest hidden-ball tricks of all time.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Tinney said. “Ever since the summer, it’s been about the 2017 Jays.”

Navy head coach Rick Sowell new the impact Tinney was going to have, saying “[Joel] is huge. He’s a special player. He’s one of the best in our sport and I’m sure they feel real good having him back.”

And Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala expressed his excitement to have Tinney back after he had to miss the entire 2016 season for a violation of team rules.

“For me, at the end of the day, I’m happy that he’s back out on the field,” Pietramala said. “He’s a different young man today than he was over a year ago. He’s waited a long time to get back out on the field. He’s paid his penance – more than. We were tough on him. It was great to have our most competitive guy out on the field.”

On the other end of those Tinney shots was Navy freshman goalkeeper Ryan Kern. In his career debut, Kern posted 12 saves against a heavy Blue Jays offense, which touted seven different goal scorers in Tuesday night’s campaign. Pietramala admired the young goalie, while Sowell was critical of Kern’s 12-for-15 performance yet hopeful of his future at Navy.

“I thought I started well, I was excited. The nerves kind of went away,” Kern said.

A slow, but competitive first half of back-and-forth scoring could never have foreshadowed Hopkins outscoring the Mids 10-3 in the third and fourth quarters. Navy cushioned itself to a 3-0 lead over a 15-minute period, but Hopkins responded by tying it less than two minutes into the second quarter.

“For thirty minutes, it was an exciting game,” Sowell said. “You had to think it was going to come down to the fourth quarter, maybe overtime.”

This outcome seemed plausible until Tinney’s hat trick jump-started a five-goal run and sparked an aura of confidence and aggressiveness that the Blue Jays physically did not have in 2016. Tinney’s first goal was a spectacular hidden ball trick. While John Crawley was coming into the field, Tinney was walking toward him with his back to the Navy defense and goalie. That shielded the ball as he made what looked like a simple short toss to Crawley, but Tinney kept the ball in his stick. Crawley sold the trick well and immediately made a hard run around to the left side. The defense followed him, Kern turned towards him and Tinney ripped a shot into what was practically an open goal from the right corner of the box.

Also in the midst of that 5-0 streak, Shack Stanwick netted his 50th career goal – the junior feeder has scored a point in all of his 34 career games.

Navy sophomore Ryan Wade notched an impressive four assists alongside fellow attackmen Jack Ray and Colin Flounlacker, who both tallied two goals each.

But defensively, something just clicked for the Blue Jays late in the first half, well before the offensive unit lit up.

“Everyone accuses us of not being very aggressive, [but] I thought we were very aggressive defensively today. I thought we were assertive off the ground,” Pietramala said. “It’s something we’ve asked them to do.”

Although both teams have been noted for their midfield talent, Hopkins’ seemed a bit more evident Tuesday night, playing 27 different players throughout the better part of three quarters.

“This was a team effort. It was two teams that are still trying to find themselves,” Pietramala said. “It’s nice to get that taste out of our mouth from last year up in Providence.”

Navy hoped to do the same, but the offensive loss of Casey Rees to a knee injury was clearly etched in the Mids’ second half scoring drought. However, Navy remains vigilant throughout the midfield unit, and Sowell hopes to reinforce those key scorers.

“I love this team. I really give them credit,” Sowell said. “The season’s young.”

This week is a quick turnaround for both Navy and Johns Hopkins. Navy will host Maryland on Saturday while Johns Hopkins will host UMBC.

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Taber Lucchese

Staff Writer
A washed up high school athlete studying in the heartland of college lacrosse and living vicariously through her D1 friends. Growing up in a lacrosse-obsessed family in New York's hotbed, Taber received her first stick as a toddler, an all-pink plastic beauty with the Powerpuff Girls printed on the shaft. Soon after, she was criticized for her lack of a pocket by her male teammates, who all no doubt play college lacrosse today. After over a decade of shooting space and tight pockets, Taber picked up field hockey in high school to finally prove that she could be better at a sport than her D1-committed younger sister. Shockingly she was wrong, and now has accepted the fact that club sports are her destiny. Taber is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science with concentrations in Journalism and Italian Studies. Don't worry, she's not sure what she's doing either, but she's confident that she knows more about sports than you do.

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