BALTIMORE: When your are an unranked inexperienced lacrosse team opening your season against national champion Johns Hopkins in front of 3000 screaming Blue Jays fans, you don't expect to win.
So you don't
The Blue Jays simply overwhelmed the Harvard men's lacrosse team, 19-2. Saturday afternoon at Homewood Stadium, the Mecca of the lacrosse world. And in the wake of the destruction, it's even difficult to isolate the single weapon Hopkins uses to crush its opposition.
Perhaps it's an unstoppable offense which bombarded Crimson goalie Tim Pendergast with a total of 73 shots Or midfield, whose timely, accurate checking made it nearly impossible for Harvard to make the transition from defense to offense.
Meanwhile, though, the Blue Jay's defense held the laxmen to only 24 shots and two tallies, the second of which Hopkins goalie Larry Quinn dropped in by mistake.
Come in Cook: This is Houston
Most obvious of all was the otherwordly style of play of attackman Jeff Cook, named the best all-around player in the country last year. Cook scored a hat trick and dished out five assists, three of which went to fellow attackman Gary Benninghoff
The Cook-Benninghoff duo put in four of the first five Hopkins goals. With 3:59 gone in the first period. Cook hit his mate moving in front of the Crimson net, and Benninghoff beat Pendergast with a blast to the lower left hand corner of the net to launch the Hopkins scoring rampage.
Less than a minute later, Cook scored himself on a breakaway, the first and last ordinary goal he would tally before beginning his clinic on "How to Score From Impossible Positions."
Double teamed by Brian Edmonds and Eric Mendelman at the close of the first quarter Cook dove between the defensemen and just before landing flat on his stomach, slid the ball past Pendergast to widen the Hopkins lead to 5-0.
Cook continued his acrobatics though the fourth quarter, when he scored while sitting squarely on his but with the Harvard defense swarming all around him.
While Cook was demonstrating his superhuman skills, the Crimson was looking decidedly mortal Harvard had trouble finding the midfield line, and the refs took great pleasure in calling numerous penalties. The passing was tentative, and most costly of all were the slashing and interference calls that gave the Blue Jays several man-up sitations.
Though it might seem inconceivable, the Crimson's humbling afternoon had its positive points Harvard's defense never gave in against the relentless Blue Jay attack. Sophomore Edmonds did a remarkable job covering Cook, putting the Hopkins superstar in positions from which most wouldn't have managed to score. Defending the All-American nonetheless took its toll; Edmonds fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.
Despite the 19 that got by Pendergast remained calm and turned away 32 Blue Jay blasts with some superb saves. THE NOTEBOOK: The Crimson's first tally came on a Jamie Wright-Rob Hawley breakaway when Wright dished the ball to Hawley, who suffered it in the net... The second goal came courtesy of Blue Jay goalie Quinn, who dropped the ball into the twines. Matt Davis got credit for the tally.
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