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Brutal second half dooms #10 Virginia against #9 Johns Hopkins as the Hoos fall 15-13

After leading 9-2 at the half, Hoos fall in heartbreaker to Blue Jays

Jaclyn Borowski

Everything that went right for the No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers in the first half against No. 9 Johns Hopkins fell horribly apart for the Hoos in the second half. Virginia led by as many as seven in the first half, but were outscored 13-4 in the second half as Hopkins pulled off the comeback win.

Dox Aitken was phenomenal with six goals in the loss, bringing him to 25 on the season, and Michael Kraus had two goals and five assists for seven points. Alex Rode finished with 14 saves.

The loss is a brutal hit to Virginia’s postseason hopes. Virginia falls to 7-3 on the season with their losses all coming to ranked teams in Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Johns Hopkins by a combined five goals.

After dominating all statistics in the first half, Hopkins turned the tables in the second, winning 11-of-19 face offs and limiting Virginia’s possessions. Additionally, the turnover bug bit the Hoos as they finished with 18 total in the game.

The Hoos got out to a blazing start, getting a goal from Michael Kraus just 57 seconds into the game and building a 4-0 lead thanks to goals from four different players. Hopkins finally broke onto the scoreboard with 3:07 left in the first quarter.

Wade Maloney got his first goal of the season to make it 5-1, and Dox Aitken’s second of the game put the Hoos up 6-1 at the end of the first quarter. Aitken opened the scoring in the second quarter with his third of the game, followed by a transition goal from first year Ian Laviano. Connor DeSimone gave the Blue Jays their second goal of the game to make it 8-2, but Kraus connected again with seven seconds left on the clock to put the Hoos up by seven heading into the break.

Virginia dominated the first half in all categories. Justin Schwenk was outstanding at the face off X, winning 10-of-13 (77%), and the Cavaliers had 24 ground balls to Hopkins’ 15. JHU goalkeeper had seven saves in the first half and saw a barrage of 27 shots from the Hoos. Rode had an outstanding half for the Hoos with seven saves of his own against 24 shots from the Blue Jays (only nine on cage).

The Virginia offense was efficient through the first 30 minutes, scoring nine goals on 16 shots on goal (56%).

Kraus led all scorers at the half with two goals and three assists, earning him a spot in the UVA lacrosse history books as the second-fastest player (tied for second) to get to the 100 career points mark. Only Kevin Pehlke (1990-93) did it faster.

Aitken had three first half goals, making him the fastest midfielder to score 50 goals in Virginia’s history. When you look at the superstars that have played midfield for the Hoos over time, guys like Chris Rotelli, Kyle Dixon, and Jay Jalbert, you realize what a huge achievement it is for Aitken.

Cole Williams opened the second half with two straight goals for the Blue Jays to pull within five at 9-4 with 12:10 remaining in the third quarter. Despite a couple opportunities on offense, the Hoos couldn’t score and Kyle Marr pulled Hopkins back within four goals with 7:56 left in the third quarter.

Marr found pay dirt again with 4:34 to play, and Shack Stanwick got on the board with an extra man goal as Hopkins closed it within two with 3:18 left in the third quarter. Things went from bad to worse after Matt Dziama was whistled for a “delay of game” after rolling the ball slightly past the ref. Marr made Virginia pay with his third of the quarter to make what was once a seven-goal lead into a one-goal lead.

Aitken stopped the bleeding and gave the Hoos a little confidence with his fourth goal of the game with 2:06 left in the third. He would score again 43 seconds later to make it 11-8, but Hunter Moreland won the next face off for JHU and called his own number, pulling the Blue Jays back within two.

Virginia led by two at 11-9 heading into the third quarter with Aitken’s two scores being the only ones for the Hoos.

Marr picked up where he left off, opening the fourth quarter with a behind-the-back goal and pulling Hopkins back within one on an assist from Stanwick. Hopkins tied the game up at 11 thanks to a goal from DeSimone after winning the ensuing face off, erasing Virginia’s once hefty lead.

Hopkins took their first lead of the game with 9:12 remaining with a goal by Joel Tinney, capping off a four goal run by the Blue Jays. Williams extended Hopkins’ lead to 13-11 on one that just barely got by Rode. The Blue Jays would jump out to a 15-11 lead before two goals by Virginia made it 15-13 with 3:15 left, giving the Hoos the slightest bit of life. Virginia was unable to take advantage of stops, and Hopkins was able to run out the clock.

Next up, the Hoos host Richmond on Saturday.