COLLEGE PARK, MD – In a game befitting the 125th all-time meeting in college lacrosse's greatest rivalry, it was seventh-ranked Johns Hopkins that got consecutive fourth-quarter goals from Jacob Angelus and Russell Melendez to grab the only two-goal lead of the game and the Blue Jays held off fourth-ranked Maryland, 12-11, at SECU Stadium Saturday night.
With the win, the Blue Jays (11-4, 4-1 B1G) reclaim The Rivalry Trophy, grab a share of the Big Ten regular season title and earn a bye into the semifinals of the upcoming Big Ten Tournament. For the nearly 6,600 fans in attendance, it was a thrilling way to cap the regular season.
Down 5-4 at the half, the Blue Jays found their offense in the third quarter as they outscored the Terrapins 6-4 to grab a 10-9 lead entering the fourth quarter.
MORE NCAA LAX: 2023 Tewaaraton Award nominees
The back-and-forth game, which featured 10 ties and seven lead changes, saw the teams trade two-goal runs from early in the first quarter through early in the third.
The Blue Jays needed less than two minutes of the third quarter to turn the 5-4 halftime deficit into a 6-5 lead as Matt Collison and Angelus scored unassisted goals to open the second half. As quickly as the Jays had grabbed the one-goal lead, it was gone as Maryland answered with back-to-back goals of its own in a span of just 33 seconds as Nick Redd scored his first of the season and Braden Erksa netted his third of the game.
After Garrett Degnon and Erksa traded goals to account for an 8-7 Maryland lead, the Blue Jays scored three of the last four in the third quarter to grab the one-goal lead entering the final period. Johnathan Peshko's second of the game off a quick feed to the slot from Casey McDermott, Collison's second of the game and a Russell Melendez strike with just 14 seconds left in the period accounted for JHU's final three goals of the quarter.
Russell Melendez takes Brett Makar 1-on-1...— TLN 🥍 (@LacrosseNetwork) April 23, 2023
AND DUSTS HIM TO GO UP BY 2 💨💨 @jhumenslacrosse
(via BTN) pic.twitter.com/ijcnevEUvm
Maryland forced the 10th and final tie of the game at the 13:22 mark of the final period when Daniel Maltz scored off a feed from John Geppert and that tie would hold for just a second under five minutes; Maryland would not score again for more than 12 minutes.
As they had all night, the Blue Jays pushed a transition opportunity after causing a Maryland turnover and Melendez found Angelus down low in an unsettled situation to give the Blue Jays an 11-10 lead with 8:23 to play.
Johns Hopkins had several chances to push the lead to two over the next several minutes, but it was Melendez, playing in his first Hopkins-Maryland game, who would make it a two-goal game for the first time as he curled around the crease from behind and wrapped one around Maryland goalie Ruppel while in a full extension dive to give the Blue Jays a 12-10 lead.
Maryland made things interesting late as Maltz scored his fourth of the game with 54 seconds remaining and the Terps won the ensuing faceoff before calling timeout. Out of the timeout, the Blue Jay defense extended just enough to pressure the Terrapins into an errant pass that sailed out of bounds with 17 seconds remaining. A length-of-the-field pass form senior goalie Tim Marcille to Melendez took the Blue Jays out of danger as they ran out the final seconds of an epic, one-goal victory.
A lower-scoring, but intense, first half saw the Blue Jay grab leads of 2-1 and 4-3 before the Terps closed the half with back-to-back Erksa strikes to grab the one-goal halftime lead. As it turned out, the four first-half ties and four lead changes were just an appetizer to the second-half main course.
Inside the Box Score – Johns Hopkins
• Melendez (2g, 3a) and Angelus (3g, 1a) paced the Blue Jay offense and Melendez had a hand in each of JHU's final three goals of the game. The hat trick is the first of the season for Angelus.
• Tyler Dunn took the final 23 faceoffs of the game for the Blue Jays and was 14-of-23 with five ground balls after the Terps had won the first four faceoffs of the game.
• JHU tied its season-high with 11 caused turnovers. Scott Smith had a team-high three CTs to go along with five ground balls, while Alex Mazzone had eight ground balls and two caused turnovers.
• After Maryland outshot the Blue Jays 16-8 and grabbed 16-of-23 ground balls in the first quarter, the Blue Jays held decided advantages in shots (28-17) and ground balls (30-17) over the final three quarters.
• Degnon's two goals extended his goal-scoring streak to 27 games.
JAYS WIN! pic.twitter.com/wFFS6nWHDQ— JHU Men's Lacrosse (@jhumenslacrosse) April 23, 2023
Inside the Box Score - Maryland
• Erksa (4g, 1a) and Maltz (4g) combined for eight of Maryland's 11 goals on the night.
• Luke Wierman won 13-of-27 faceoffs and matched Mazzone with eight ground balls.
• Like Johns Hopkins, the Terp defense was active with 12 caused turnovers in the game. Ajax Zapitello, Colin Burlace and Dante Trader, Jr. all were credited with three CTs in the game.
• Ruppel posted eight saves in goal with six of those eight coming in the first half.
What It Means
• Johns Hopkins earns the number two seed and an opening-round bye in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament with the semifinals and finals set to take place at Homewood Field on May 4th and 6th. The Blue Jays will play the winner of the quarterfinal game between third-seeded Maryland and sixth-seeded Rutgers.
• Tonight's win is the 75th all-time for Johns Hopkins in 125 games against Maryland (75-49-1).
• Johns Hopkins is now 16-0 all-time in games played on April 22 (not all game dates available prior to 1955).
The Blue Jays will host the Maryland-Rutgers winner in the Big Ten Semifinals at Homewood Field on May 4. That will be the second of the two semifinal games on May 4 (3:30 pm).