By Max Sass, Sports Editor
Most of the Hofstra men's lacrosse team's fans are in the dark about junior attack Jamie Lincoln. Lincoln appeared after a 14-minute game delay due to a power-outage to score five goals and three assists. The Pride emerged with a 14-6 upset of Johns Hopkins in a windy and wet Shuart Stadium and moved up to no. 6 in national polls.
Amongst heavy rain and 38 miles per hour wind, a sparse crowd supported the Pride in their breakout performance of the season. "We played both ends of the field for, really, the first time this year," said head coach Seth Tierney. The Pride moves to 2-1 on the season after defeating Brown and falling to Princeton.
With 6:19 left in the first quarter, a power failure at Shuart Stadium left fans in the dark and forced the teams to the locker room with the Pride leading 3-1. "We had to start the game twice," Tierney said. After a 14-minute delay, the Pride ended up tacking on one goal to finish the first quarter ahead of the no. 7 Blue Jays 4-1. Hofstra was able to push that lead to 6-2 at halftime.
"If you think about it," Tierney said, "the score at halftime was 6-2, so 3-1 [before the delay] and on the second start we went 3-1."
The rainy conditions slowed the pace of the game somewhat and were difficult for the Pride to prepare for. "When weather is really bad," said Tierney, "we go in the bubble because we feel like we are going to get more done."
CAA Freshman of the Week, goalie Rob Bellairs, who started just the second game of his career, did not feel that he was affected by the conditions. "Sometimes the wind would take the ball and stuff," Bellairs said, "but for the most part wind wasn't a factor." Bellairs had seven saves on the game.
The second half started and Johns Hopkins showed flashes of why they were a top-10 nationally ranked team and National Champions as recently as 2007. JHU scored two quick goals to cut the score to 6-4 with over 28 minutes still to play. "When it got to 6-4, I didn't know it was going to be 14-6, so I got a little tight there," Tierney said.
Tierney used a timeout to help his team regroup and the Pride scored the next six goals, cued by CAA Player of the Week Jamie Lincoln's third goal of the game. "Our job is to score goals," Lincoln said, "and our offense did a great job." The Pride's six goal run was highlighted by a Mike Skudin goal with just 1.2 seconds left in the third quarter to extend the Pride lead to 10-6.
As the gap between the two teams widened, JHU's frustration became more and more evident and Hofstra's "Ontario Onslaught", junior attack Jay Card and Lincoln got into a scrum with two Blue Jays defenders. "They were getting chippy because it was getting close to the end of the game and the score was getting a little one-sided," Card said.
"It was at the end of the game," Lincoln said, "we were putting a decent whooping on them so things can get out of hand sometimes, but it is part of the game and emotions fly high." The tiff resulted in a slashing penalty on Sam DeVore of Johns Hopkins.
Card recorded two goals and four assists in the win. Card now has five goals on the season, half of Lincoln's 10.
Bellairs, who took over the starting job from sophomore Andrew Gvozden at halftime of the Princeton game, solidified his spot in net. Bellairs is part of the resurgence for the Pride defense that had allowed 29 goals combined in their first two games, but held Johns Hopkins to only 4. "You don't give up 17 goals and throw a party," Tierney said, referring to the Princeton loss.
Tierney credited the improvement of his defense to learning the hard way. "Sometimes you have to skin your knee to know it hurts when you fall," Tierney said. Bellairs was quick to give credit to the upperclassmen in front of him post game. "A lot of the older kids like Christian [Scuderi] and Mike Skudin, they are leading me and telling me what to do in situations I am not used to yet," Bellairs said.
The Pride has now split games against top-10 opponents this season after falling to Princeton 14-17, but believe they are headed in the right direction after the win. "It gives us a little confidence," Tierney said. "We were struggling after the Princeton game. I firmly believe we had a bit of a hangover from the Princeton game because we just didn't play well."
The rest of the schedule does not feature any opponent of the caliber Hofstra has played already. The victory over Johns Hopkins could be the momentum the Pride needs to continue to move up in the national polls. "We have to earn some respect," Tierney said, "and tonight I thought we earned it and now it is going to be tougher to keep it."
Hofstra will try to keep their respect next Saturday when they host Sacred Heart University at one p.m. at Shuart Stadium.