After a nearly hourlong weather delay, the second of the game, Johns Hopkins strength and conditioning coach Jay Dyer walked from the Blue Jays’ locker room holding cardboard boxes of Uncrustables and Mott’s applesauce. He laid them on the turf at Homewood Field beneath the home team’s bench, just in case anyone got hungry. The 60 members of the Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team had an appetite, just not for snacks.

They were itching to celebrate, to break open a first-round NCAA tournament game with visiting Lehigh that was essentially starting anew two-plus hours after it was scheduled to begin — and now with the score tied at 2 near the beginning of the second quarter rather than zero at the start of the first. They got to cheer, quickly, and again when the game was finally finished, but not without a challenge.

The Hopkins sideline came to life when goalie Chayse Ierlan stopped a shot on Lehigh’s first possession after the restart, and it roared louder and jumped on the turf a few moments later when fellow grad student attackman Jacob Angelus, Hopkins’ leading scorer, crossed up a defender near goal line extended and dove tangent to the crease to score.

Johns Hopkins — which, along with Lehigh, played a sloppy, disjointed, delayed first quarter — made more of its second chance for a fast start Sunday — and in the 17-team Division I men’s national postseason tournament. So did the steely, Patriot League-champion Mountain Hawks, though. They clawed back from a pair of two goal-deficits, and later down three, to take a one-goal lead early in the fourth quarter before the Blue Jays responded with two goals in 1:14 and pulled away late to win 13-10.

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“Wild at times, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be easy at this time of the year,” Johns Hopkins coach Peter Milliman said. “All credit to Lehigh for how hard they played. They really, really stressed us throughout the game.”

Ultimately, the Blue Jays (11-4) accomplished what they wanted: staying on the path for a potential deep playoff run. They will play sixth-seeded Virginia (11-5) next Sunday in the quarterfinal round at Towson University. Hopkins beat Virginia 16-14 in Charlottesville on March 2, when the Cavaliers were the nation’s second-ranked team.

The Blue Jays will play Virginia in a second-round game at Towson University. (Marty Corcoran / Johns Hopkins)

Hopkins senior faceoff taker Tyler Dunn (Calvert Hall) had a lot to do with the outcome, winning seven of nine fourth-quarter faceoffs after Lehigh had an 18-5 advantage through three quarters. With more possessions down the stretch, Hopkins put together a game-ending 4-0 run. “As the game goes on, you just kind of get more comfortable,” said Dunn, who finished 11-for-20 with 10 ground balls, “and the wing guys all played great.”

Defenseman Scott Smith’s empty-net goal from just outside the opposite restraining line with 3:11 remaining gave Hopkins breathing room that it hadn’t had much of the game.

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Lehigh senior Quinn Armstrong (Westminster) had a hat trick and tied the game at 8 on a dodge down the middle with 14:17 left. The Mountain Hawks (10-7) took their first lead since the first quarter on an Andrew Kelly goal with 10:48 to go, after it looked like Hopkins might run away when Angelus’ second goal gave the Jays an 8-5 edge midway through the third quarter.

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“Offensively, we were trying to wear them down, make them play the whole set. The weather played a little bit of a factor there,” Armstrong said, referring to a game plan for possessions that would cover most of the 60-second shot clock and the stoppages that might have helped Hopkins stay fresh. “You dream of an atmosphere like this, playing in an NCAA tournament, in front of those people at a historic venue. We naturally are going to rise to the occasion.”

Hopkins grad student attackman Garrett Degnon (DeMatha) extended his school-record goal-scoring streak to 45 games with an on-the-run rip to the top right corner to tie the score at 9. Sophomore midfielder Matt Collison, who tied a career high with four goals (last made against Virginia this season), finished with a team-high five points and gave Hopkins an 11-10 lead with 4:56 left.

“I didn’t necessarily feel them wearing down. I kind of just felt us heating up,” Collison said.

What an announced crowd of 1,469 witnessed Sunday wasn’t the cleanest or most seamless lacrosse, but it was on trend for the narrative of continued improvement in Johns Hopkins’ iconic men’s lacrosse program since Milliman took over for former coach and player Dave Pietramala after a pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

The Blue Jays went 11-18 in Milliman’s first two seasons — the storied program’s first sub-.500 years in seven decades — but last year’s team showed promise early and finished 12-6 overall, 4-1 in the Big Ten, and reached the NCAA quarterfinals, where it lost to eventual champion Notre Dame.

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This year, Hopkins went unbeaten in the conference, including a 7-5 victory over Maryland on April 20 in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 10,458 — the largest audience at Homewood since 2004 — and was awarded the third overall seed in the NCAA tournament, even after dropping a game to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament semifinals last week.

The Blue Jays are contending for a Final Four appearance for the second straight season, a goal that fits with the team motto. On the Jays’ black shooting shirts that you can see players wearing during warmups, MORE is printed beneath a Blue Jays logo. It’s an abbreviated version of the “We Want More” slogan familiar around Hopkins athletics programs, and the chant that the Hopkins band yells at Homewood after a goal.

What seemingly no one wanted to see more of on Sunday, though, was the additional time needed to decide the outcome.

The weather delays totaled an hour and 40 minutes of real time. The opening faceoff was about 45 minutes later than scheduled after a brief thunderstorm passed near the Hopkins campus just as the national anthem was sung. The first quarter saw seven turnovers, a combined four goals on 15 shots, and a few players slipping on the wet turf as the sun tried to break through the clouds.

There was another delay just after the start of the second quarter for lightning in the area — and a sideline horn to stop play blew just before Lehigh midfielder, and Kent Island native, Dakota Eierman (DeMatha) shot a would-be goal past Ierlan — with the score tied at 2. Play resumed 55 minutes later, right about when the game should have ended without delay.

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“Sometimes those things can play in your favor; sometimes they can take away some momentum if you have them,” Milliman said. “At that point, it was a little choppy anyway, so I don’t know if it really hurt us.”

“Let’s try this again,” Hopkins senior short-stick midfielder Jakson Raposo said aloud near the sideline at the end of the team’s third warmup of the afternoon. They were hungry enough for more, though the snacks remained in the box under the bench and were thawed and warm by the time of the postgame celebration.

Maryland men and women advance

Seventh-seeded Maryland beat Princeton 16-8 in another first-round game Saturday night in College Park. Senior midfielder Jack Koras (Loyola Blakefield) had three goals and two assists, and senior attackman Daniel Kelly (Calvert Hall) had three points for the Terps (9-5), who scored a season high in goals. Maryland will play second-seeded Duke (13-5) in the men’s quarterfinals Saturday in Long Island, New York.

On Sunday, the Maryland women crushed visiting James Madison 17-7 to advance to the NCAA Division I quarterfinals for the 15th time under coach Cathy Reese. Senior attacker Eloise Clevenger (Marriotts Ridge) led the Terps (14-5) with five goals and three assists. Maryland built a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and sophomore midfielder Kori Edmondson (McDonogh) had three goals (on three shots) in the opening period. She tied a career high with four scores. Maryland will host Florida in the quarters Thursday.

Meantime, the Johns Hopkins women’s team fell 9-7 at sixth-seeded Yale in an NCAA second-round game Sunday, and the Loyola women’s season ended in Philadelphia with a 12-9 loss to eighth-seeded Penn.

Corey McLaughlin is a veteran writer and editor who has covered sports in Baltimore for a decade, including for Baltimore magazine, USA Lacrosse Magazine and several other publications.

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