No. 1 Virginia Topples No. 12 Johns Hopkins for the Doyle Smith Cup
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Rhamel and Shamel Bratton, along with Matt White, each scored three goals as the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers (9-0) laid claim to the Doyle Smith Cup for the fifth straight year, defeating the No. 12 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (4-4) inside Klöckner Stadium on Saturday, 15-6.
Virginia and Johns Hopkins joined together to honor E. Doyle Smith, Jr., for his lifetime of contributions to the lacrosse programs at both schools and on the national level with the annual regular season winner laying claim to the cup. Smith served as team manager and statistician for Johns Hopkins under coach Bob Scott from 1963-68. Virginia has now won the cup all five years it has been contested.
“It’s a great day here at Klöckner Stadium,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “The crowd had a great atmosphere and it was two great lacrosse teams going at it. I thought we had a couple lulls in the first half defensively so we gave them a few opportunities in the first quarter to jump back into the game and into the early second quarter as well. In the late second quarter we started to get control of it again and I felt very good at halftime. We came out strong in the third quarter, and I felt like we have played well in the second half throughout the season, and especially today we did a really nice job in the third quarter.”
Virginia opened the game with three-straight goals, and the first two were unassisted by the Bratton twins. Rhamel Bratton (Huntington Station, N.Y.) put UVa on the scoreboard early with his tally 59 seconds into the contest. Shamel Bratton (Huntington Station, N.Y.) followed with his unassisted score with 12:38 left in the opening quarter. Matt White (Ridgefield, Conn.) capped the run with a score off a George Huguely (Chevy Chase, Md.) pass with 9:31 left in the first quarter.
Johns Hopkins broke through just before the buzzer sounded on the first quarter when Michael Kimmel scored unassisted with 12 seconds left, cutting UVa’s lead to 3-1.
Colin Briggs (Narragansett, R.I.) added an unassisted goal with 11:04 left in the second quarter, giving UVa back a three-goal advantage, 4-1. Johns Hopkins stormed back to even the score at four apiece, via three-straight scores.
The run started with back-to-back scores from Tom Palasek, the first assisted by Steven Boyle with 10:17 left in the first half. Palasek’s second was unassisted with 9:38 left in the second quarter. The run was capped on John Ranagan’s unassisted goal with 8:29 left before the intermission, tying the game at 4-4.
The Blue Jays didn’t get any closer to taking the lead as the Cavaliers scored the next three goals going into the intermission and the first two coming out of the break to take a commanding 9-4 advantage.
Chris Bocklet (South Salem, N.Y.) scored on a Shamel Bratton pass to give UVa the lead for good, 5-4, with 7:35 left in the second quarter. Rhamel Bratton stepped into a Brian Carroll (Towson, Md.) helper with 3:21 left in the first half, while White’s unassisted score with 1:03 left on the second quarter game clock gave Virginia the 7-4 lead at halftime.
Carroll scored the only man-up goal of the game when Johns Hopkins’ Chris Lightner was tagged for slashing. The senior midfielder’s first score of the game was via a Steele Stanwick (Baltimore, Md.) pass with 11:59 in the third quarter remaining. Rhamel Bratton stepped into another goal with 11:35 left in the third quarter after the Cavaliers won the faceoff, capping the run.
Kyle Wharton ended the Cavaliers scoring streak when he took a John Ranagan pass and deposited it into the goal with 6:03 left in the third quarter, cutting the Blue Jays’ deficit to four goals, 9-5. Johns Hopkins did not get any closer.
Carroll scored his second goal of the game via a Shamel Bratton pass at 3:41, followed by a Huguely score on a Bocklet helper at 2:11. The third quarter came to a close with a raucous applause after Boyle’s shot was saved by goalie Adam Ghitelman (Syosset, N.Y.) with 12 second left, prompting a Virginia clear that Shamel Bratton took the length of the field and fired home for the score with one second left, giving the Cavaliers the 12-5 lead.
Shamel Bratton scored on a Carroll assist at 13:02 in the fourth quarter, capping four-straight Virginia goals.
Lee Coppersmith sneaked a goal in for Johns Hopkins, capping the Blue Jays’ scoring for the afternoon and cutting the deficit to 13-6.
White scored his third goal on a helper from Carroll with 3:58 left in the game and Nick O’Reilly (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) picked up a ground ball in front of the cage and fired home the game’s final goal with 37 seconds left in the game.
The nation’s No. 1 team in ground balls won the battle with Johns Hopkins (36-22), while also beating the Blue Jays in shots (43-32) and saves (11-9). Johns Hopkins won the faceoff battle (13-11) and turned the ball over more times (18-13).
Ken Clausen (Downingtown, Pa.) picked up a game-high six ground balls and caused two turnovers. Bray Malphrus (Chevy Chase, Md.) had three ground balls and caused a game-high four turnovers.
“From the beginning of the season there was no question that we were going to be young on the attack and our midfield was going to have to step up,” said Starsia. “You have two juniors and a senior in that first group – you’ve got [John] Haldy and [George] Huguely in that second group, and [Colin} Briggs who has a lot of experience in the midfield, and we should be able to step up. It takes us a little time to get going, but our midfielders have continued to play well as our attackmen have continued to come on. Steele and Bocklet and Matt White and Connor English may have surpassed our expectations a little bit, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that we are dangerous and balanced in those positions.”
Palasek led the way for Johns Hopkins with two goals on three shots and Boyle had a team-high four ground balls.
Virginia will hit the road on Saturday, April 3, when the Cavaliers open up ACC play at No. 4 Maryland. Game time is 8 p.m. and it will be broadcast in the Charlottesville area on WINA AM 1070 with John Freeman calling the action. The contest will be televised live on ESPNU.Johns Hopkins 1-3-1-1-6
Scoring (G-A) – JH: Tom Palasek 2-0, John Ranagan 1-1, Michael Kimmel 1-0, Kyle Wharton 1-0, Lee Coppersmith 1-0, Steven Boyle 0-1 V: Shamel Bratton 3-2, Rhamel Bratton 3-0, Matt White 3-0, Brian Carroll 2-3, Chris Bocklet 1-2, George Huguely 1-1, Colin Briggs 1-0, Nick O’Reilly 1-0, Steele Stanwick 0-1.
Goalie Summary – JH: Mike Gvozden 41:19 mins., 5 saves, 10 goals allowed; Pierce Bassett 18:41 mins., 4 saves, 5 goals allowed V: Adam Ghitelman 57:33 mins., 10 saves, 6 goals allowed, Rob Eimer 2:27 mins., 1 saves, 0 goals allowed.
Shots: JH-32, V-43
Ground Balls: JH-22, V-36
Clearing: JH-6×11, V-13×15
Faceoffs: JH-13, V-11
Penalties: JH-4-3:30, V-4-3:30
EMO: JH-0x4, V-1×2