Angelus, Fourth-Quarter Surge Push Hopkins Past Rutgers, 13-8, in B1G Opener 3/24/24

Photo Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Men’s Lacrosse

Angelus Ties Career High With Eight Points

PISCATAWAY, NJ – Visiting Johns Hopkins outscored host Rutgers 5-1 in the fourth quarter to fuel a 13-8 win over the Scarlet Knights in the Big Ten men’s lacrosse opener for both teams Sunday afternoon.  The Jays led big early, withstood a Rutgers rally and surged late to improve to 6-3 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten, while the ‘Knights slip to 6-3 overall and 0-1 in the Big Ten.

Up a goal at 8-7 entering the fourth quarter, the Blue Jays scored the first four goals of the period to turn the one-goal lead into a 12-7 advantage with just over four minutes on the clock.  Back-to-back Russell Melendez strikes in a span of just under two minutes before the period was four minutes old ignited the game-deciding spree for the Blue Jays.  Working against a Rutgers zone that had slowed the Jays in the middle of the game, Melendez got his hands free from the wing and picked the far post at the 13:02 mark, then got to the middle of the field in an unsettled situation after a Chayse Ierlan save at the other end to make it 10-7.

The Blue Jays made it three goals in three minutes a short time later when Garrett Degnon blew home his fourth of the game off a feed from Matt Collison to extend the lead to 11-7.

The four-goal lead held for nearly six minutes before Collison scored from the doorstep off a quick feed from behind from Jacob Angelus.  Shane Knobloch polished off his hat trick 51 seconds later before Angelus did the same with 1:36 on the clock as he fired into an open net with the Scarlet Knights chasing.

The Blue Jays were down 2-1 just over four minutes into the game, but used a six-goal run that spanned more than 20 minutes to grab a 7-2 lead.

An unassisted Brendan Grimes goal at the 10:50 mark of the first quarter jump-started the run for the Jays, who got an unassisted goal from Dylan Bauer three minutes later to grab a 3-2 lead.  It was a lead they would never relinquish.

Back-to-back Angelus goals in the final seven minutes of the first period gave the Jays a 5-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.  Angelus’ first strike came from 30 yards out on a perfectly executed hidden ball trick as his fake flip to Johnathan Peshko fooled Rutgers goalie Cardin Stoller, who was caught watching Peshko on the wing when Angelus fired it home from distance.  Angelus accounted of the final goal of the period when he scored from in-tight off a feed from Brandon Aviles in transition.

While the offense was getting going, Ierlan was directing a Hopkins defense that would hold the ‘Knights scoreless for the final 11:13 of the first quarter and the first 9:22 of the second.  Ierlan posted four saves in each of the first two quarters with Rutgers scoring twice in the first four minutes of the and last four minutes of the half.

Degnon opened the second quarter scoring with a left-handed laser on the run and Angelus found Jimmy Ayers alone on the doorstep with 5:38 remaining before the half.  Rutgers snapped its scoring drought with back-to-back goals from Dante Kulas goals in the final four minutes, including one in transition at the buzzer.

The 7-4 halftime lead was 8-4 five minutes into the second half as Angelus hit Degnon on the run in the slot and he finished from in close to give the Jays the four-goal lead.

Rutgers would make things interesting with a three-goal run that covered the remainder of the third quarter.  A Knobloch strike just 55 seconds after Degnon’s goal started the spree and back-to-back tallies from Jack Aimone and Colin Kurdyla in a span of 48 seconds late in the period accounted for the 8-7 score after three quarters.

The Blue Jays would win the opening faceoff of the fourth quarter and Stoller made a save on a Degnon offering before Melendez ended the possession with the first of his two goals that ignited what proved to be the deciding four-goal run.

Inside the Box Score – Johns Hopkins
• Angelus finished with three goals and five assists for a career-high-tying eight points.
• Degnon extended his school-record goal-scoring streak to 39 games with his four goals and the Blue Jays’ starting attacked of Angelus, Degnon and Melendez accounted for nine goals and five assists.
• Ierlan finished with 13 saves  in the victory.  He has posted 12 or more saves in five of Hopkins’ nine games on the year.
Logan Callahan went 10-of-18 at the faceoff X and had five ground balls in the victory.

Inside the Box Score – Rutgers
• Knobloch scored a team-high three goals, while Kullas and Aimone both finished with two as the trio accounted for seven of Rutgers’ eight goals in the game.
• Stoller posted 10 saves. Including five in the second and third quarters combined as Rutgers fought back from the 6-2 deficit to pull within 8-7.
• Andrew Macheca took 20 of the 23 faceoffs in the game for the Scarlet Knights and was 12-of-20 with four ground balls.

Up Next
Johns Hopkins will return to Homewood Field on Saturday, March 30 as the Blue Jays welcome Michigan to Baltimore.  The game will air live on ESPN2 (12 pm).