Big Expectations Loom as Hopkins Opens Season Friday

February 17, 2012 | WNST Staff

The Game: Johns Hopkins welcomes Towson to Homewood Field for the Blue Jays’ 2012 season opener. Towson opened its season with a 12-10 win last Saturday at Jacksonville.

Series History: Johns Hopkins and Towson are meeting for the 40th time in a series that dates to a 15-8 Johns Hopkins victory in 1976. The Blue Jays have won 36 of the previous 39 meetings and JHU has currently won 16 straight against the Tigers.

Check the Calendar: This year’s season-opener against Towson will be the earliest game played in the history of the Blue Jay lacrosse program. Johns Hopkins opened the 2010 (Manhattan) and 2011 (Towson) seasons on February 19. Those had been the earliest games in school history.

In February: Johns Hopkins has played just 13 all-time games in the month of February and the Blue Jays are 10-3 in those 13 games.

For Openers: Johns Hopkins is 9-2 under head coach Dave Pietramala in season-openers and close calls have been the norm as six of the 11 games have been decided by three goals or less.

These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters the 2012 season with an all-time record of 912-294-15 (.753). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.

A Look Back: Johns Hopkins closed a successul 2011 season with an overall record of 13-3 and the program’s 40th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Noting JHU in the NCAA Tournament: Johns Hopkins made its 40th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season. By comparison, the next six longest active streaks of qualifying for the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament add up to exactly 40 consecutive appearances.

Consensus Top Four: Johns Hopkins enters the 2012 season as a consensus top four team as the Blue Jays are ranked in the top four in each of the four major polls. JHU is ranked second in the USILA Preseason Poll, third in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, third in the Lacrosse Magazine Poll and fourth in the Face-Off Yearbook Poll. The Johns Hopkins office of Athletic Communications uses the USILA Poll to reflect JHU’s official national ranking at the time of a game.

Welcome Back: Head coach Dave Pietramala welcomes back nine starters from last seaon’s team, which posted a 13-3 record and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Of note …
• The Blue Jays return two starters on attack – Chris Boland and Zach Palmer – who combined for 56 goals and 45 assists last season.
• JHU’s entire first midfield returns with juniors John Ranagan and John Greeley and sophomore Rob Guida all back in the fold. As the youngest first midfield in the nation last season this trio totaled 44 goals and 27 assists.
• Juniors Tucker Durkin and Chris Lightner and sophomore Jack Reilly return to close defense after they started all 16 games together a year ago.
• Junior Pierce Bassett grabbed Second Team USILA All-America honors a year ago and returns after posting a 7.07 goals against average and a .570 save percentage.

First to 900: Johns Hopkins’ 10-6 win at Towson in the 2011 season opener not only got the season off on the right foot for the Blue Jays, but also made history. The win was the 900th all-time in school history, making Johns Hopkins the first program to record 900 all-time wins. JHU now has 912 all-time wins.

That’s 618 Games Over .500: The Blue Jays’ all-time record is now 912-294-15 (.753) … that’s 618 games over .500. To put this in perspective: JHU has played an average of just over 15 games per season under head coach Dave Pietramala. Using a 15-game season as a reference, if the Blue Jays posted a 5-10 record for 123 straight seasons, they would still be three games over .500.

13-Win Seasons: With a 13-3 record last season, Johns Hopkins reached the 13-win mark for the fifth time under head coach Dave Pietramala and the 12th time in school history.

I’ve Got 125 Can I Get 150: The win against Army in the 2011 regular season finale was the 125th for Dave Pietramala as the head coach at Johns Hopkins. He is now 126-41 (.754) at JHU. Add in the 23 wins he accumulated as the head coach at Cornell (1998-2000) and he is currently 149-58 (.720) overall. His first win of the 2012 season will be the 150th of his coaching career.

We’re Honored: Johns Hopkins produced six USILA All-Americans last season, four of which return in 2012. Headlining the group is returning First Team All-American John Ranagan (M), while classmates Tucker Durkin (defense) and Pierce Bassett (G) grabbed second team honors. Senior Chris Boland (A) rounds out JHU’s four returning All-Americans as he grabbed honorable mention honors in 2011.

The four returning All-Americans are the most for JHU since 2008 and the selection of Ranagan, Durkin and Bassett marked the first time Johns Hopkins had three sophomores earn All-America honors since 1989, when Matt Panetta (A/1st Team), Brian Voelker (M/3rd) and Bill Dwan (D/HM) were selected.

Taking Out the Finalists: Johns Hopkins defeated eventual national champion Virginia and eventual national runner-up Maryland during the 2011 regular season.

Striking the First Blow: Johns Hopkins scored on its first shot of the game seven times in 2011.

Bassett Among National Leaders: Sophomore goalie Pierce Bassett concluded his first full season as the starter for the Blue Jays and posted a 7.07 goals against average and a .570 save percentage last season. He finished fifth in the nation in GAA and 10th in save percentage. His fifth-place finish in GAA is the highest by a JHU goalie since Jesse Schwartzman led the nation in 2005 (6.68), while he is just the third Blue Jay to finish in the top 10 in save percentage since the NCAA began tracking men’s lacrosse statistics in 2000.

Bassett, whose 7.07 goals against average is the second best by a JHU goalie since 1993 (Schwartman’s 6.68 GAA in 2005 is the best since records became available in ‘93) has started 23 games in his career and sports a 16-7 record in those 23 games.

Attack Oriented: Johns Hopkins finished 10th in the nation in scoring offense in 2011 (11.25 goals per game) and a big part of that production was the performance of the Blue Jays’ starting attack trio of seniors Chris Boland and Kyle Wharton and sophomore Zach Palmer. Boland and Palmer are back and should lead a talented Blue Jay offense.

Boland led the Blue Jays in scoring with 34 goals and 20 assists for 54 points. An honorable mention All-American, Boland set career highs in each category and was especially effective in the NCAA Tournament as he totaled four goals and seven assists in two games. Boland has career totals of 66 goals, 38 assists and 104 points.

Palmer enjoyed a breakout campaign last season as he posted 22 goals and a team-high 25 assists for 47 points. He ended the season with a 12-game point-scoring streak and scored at least one point in 15 of JHU’s 16 games.

Must be the Speech: Whatever the coaching staff said in the locker room before the game and at halftime worked throughout the 2011 season. Johns Hopkins outscored the opposition 44-25 in the first quarter last season and 51-29 in the third quarter.

Streaking: Johns Hopkins is 101-29 in its last 130 regular season games dating back to the end of the 2001 season and 118-37 (.761) overall since the start of the 2002 season.

Poll Position: The Blue Jays check in at number two in the preseason USILA Coaches Poll and third in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. The Johns Hopkins Athletic Communications Office uses the USILA Poll to represent JHU’s official ranking at the time of a game. Prior to falling out of the top 20 of the USILA Poll on April 26 and May 3, 2010 (JHU was receiving votes in both polls), the Blue Jays had been ranked in the top 20 in 367 consecutive polls dating back to the first poll in 1973.

More Poll Position: Including the 2012 preseason USILA Poll, there have been 384 weekly polls since the inception of the poll in 1973. Amazingly, JHU has been ranked in the top 20 in 382 of those 384 polls. The Blue Jays have been in the top 10 in 361 of the 384 and the top five in 287 of those 384.

State Rivalries: Without question the Blue Jays play one of the most difficult schedules in the nation and a big part of the schedule are the in-state rivalries the Blue Jays have. Including the wins over Towson, UMBC, Maryland, Navy and Loyola last season, JHU is 53-4 (.930) against teams from Maryland under head coach Dave Pietramala.

Below is a breakdown of JHU’s record against teams from the state of Maryland under Pietramala.

Loyola (11-0)
Maryland (8-3)
Mount St. Mary’s (4-0)
Navy (11-1)
Towson (12-0)
UMBC (7-0)