The Game: Johns Hopkins plays the second of three straight games at home to open the 2014 season as the Blue Jays welcome local rival Towson to Homewood Field. The game will air live on ESPN3 and on tape delay on Sunday, February 16 on ESPNU.
A Look Back: Johns Hopkins topped 14th-ranked Ohio State, 10-9, in triple overtime on Sunday at Homewood Field. Brandon Benn’s goal 59 seconds into the third extra period won it for the Blue Jays.
Towson opened the season on a positive note as well as the Tigers beat visiting High Point, 11-8, at Unitas Stadium last Saturday.
Series History: Johns Hopkins and Towson are meeting for the 42nd time in a series that dates to a 15-8 Blue Jay victory on March 27, 1976. Johns Hopkins leads the all-time series 38-3 and has currently won 18 straight games against the Tigers. Towson’s last victory against Johns Hopkins came on April 27, 1996, when the Tigers grabbed a 13-12 victory at Homewood Field.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Towson with an all-time record of 934-303-15 (.752). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.
Poll Position: Johns Hopkins is ranked 11th in the USILA Preseason Coaches Poll and 13th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Preseason Poll. Towson was among the teams listed as receiving votes in both polls. Neither organization released a new poll this week.
Second-Longest Game in School History: Last week’s triple overtime game against Ohio State ranks as the second-longest game in the history of the Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse program. The longest game in school history was a four-overtime game against Virginia on March 24, 2001.
In Overtime: Johns Hopkins improved to 20-10 all-time in overtime under head coach Dave Pietramala with last week’s 10-9 triple overtime victory against Ohio State. The Blue Jays have now won four of their last five overtime games dating back to late in the 2011 season.
In February: Johns Hopkins has played just 20 all-time games in the month of February and the Blue Jays are 17-3 in those 20 games. With last week’s victory the Blue Jays have currently won 13 straight games played in the month of February.
For Openers: With last week’s win against Ohio State, Johns Hopkins is 12-2 under head coach Dave Pietramala in season-openers with seven of the 14 games being decided by three goals or less.
First Big Ten Game: Well, kind of. Last week’s game against Ohio State was the first of three games this season the Blue Jays will play against future Big Ten opponents. Johns Hopkins announced last June that it would join the Big Ten for men’s lacrosse starting with the 2015 season. The Blue Jays will also take on Michigan and Maryland, both future Big Ten opponents, later this season.
New Blue: Johns Hopkins entered the season with six new starters after a large senior class departed Homewood last spring. The six are spread throughout the lineup and include Eric Schneider (G), Rob Enright (D), John Kelly (D),Bronson Kelly (M), Connor Reed (M) and Ryan Brown (A). Brown did start four games at midfield last season, but makes the move to his natural attack position this season, and Enright had five career starts through his first two seasons.
New Blue II: In addition to the six new starters in the lineup, the overall Blue Jay roster is also vastly different than a year ago. Gone are 11 seniors who exhausted their eligibility and in their place are 17 freshmen.
Youth Will be Served: Johns Hopkins will field one of the youngest rosters in the nation this season as 17 of the team’s 49 players are freshmen and 29 are either freshmen or sophomores. Only nine of the 49 are seniors and two of those nine – Eric Schneider and Phil Castronova – have an extra year of eligibility and are planning to return for the 2015 season.
For Starters: Entering the 2014 season, the entire 49-man Johns Hopkins roster counted a total of 132 combined career starts to its credit. Of those 132, Rob Guida (38), Jack Reilly (30), Brandon Benn (29) and Wells Stanwick (17) accounted 114, or 86.7%. No other returning player had started more than five games for the Blue Jays. By contrast, last year’s 11-man senior class graduated with a combined 321 starts with six of those 11 players earning 45 or more starts during their careers.
What it Means in 2014: Despite the loss of the large senior class from last season, the Blue Jays return 67.7% of their goals (109-of-161), 45.7% of their assists (42-of-92) and 59.7% of their points (151-of-253) from last season.
Attack Driven: Johns Hopkins’ starting attack unit of senior Brandon Benn, junior Wells Stanwick and sophomore Ryan Brown will be counted on to lead the way offensively for the Blue Jays this season and the trio was more than up to the task in the season opener as they combined for five goals and seven assists to fuel the 10-9 triple-overtime victory against Ohio State.
Stanwick led the way with one goal and a career-high-tying five assists, while Benn and Brown both added two goals and one assist. The five assists matched Stanwick’s career high and marked his 11th career multi-assist game and 18th career multi-point game.
Benn’s two goals boosted his goal-scoring streak to 17 games, a streak that ranks as the fifth-longest active streak in the nation. It was also his 21st career multi-point game.
The trio combined for 75 goals and 28 assists last season, with Stanwick leading the team in points (47) and assists (23) and Benn pacing the team in goals (34). The trio also combined for 20 of Johns Hopkins’ 27 extra-man goals on the year.
Kennedy Shines: Despite missing most of the preseason, junior Drew Kennedy suited up last week and fueled Johns Hopkins’ win against Ohio State with a dominating performance at the X.
Kennedy was 18-of-22 (.818) and grabbed 13 ground balls in the victory. The 18 faceoff wins, 22 faceoff attempts and 13 GBs are all career highs. In addition, Kennedy’s 18 faceoff wins are the most by a Johns Hopkins player since Mike Poppleton was 20 (of 26) against Stony Brook in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Reed, Crawley Net First Goals: Sophomore midfielder Connor Reed scored the first goal of his career early in the second quarter last week against Ohio State and freshman middie John Crawley added his first career goal early in the third quarter.
State Rivalries: JHU won five of six games last season against teams from the state of Maryland. Johns Hopkins’ record is now 61-8 (.884) under head coach Dave Pietramala in games played against teams from the state of Maryland with last year’s 5-1 mark.
Starting with this week’s game against Towson, the Blue Jays will play six games this season against in-state rivals, including three of the next five and then three of four late in the season.
Below is a breakdown of JHU’s record against teams from Maryland under Pietramala.
Mount St. Mary’s: 5-0
Poll Position: The Blue Jays were ranked 11th in the USILA Preseason Coaches 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 final 2014 USILA Preseason Poll, there have been 410 weekly polls since the inception of the poll in 1973. Amazingly, JHU has been ranked in the top 20 in 408 of those 410 polls. The Blue Jays have been in the top 10 in 381 of the 410 and the top five in 299 of those 410. Johns Hopkins has been ranked number one 104 times since the poll debuted in 1973.