Hopkins aims to extend perfect start Friday against Princeton

February 28, 2013 | WNST Staff

The Game: Johns Hopkins welcomes Princeton to Homewood Field for the 83rd meeting in one of college lacrosse’s great rivalries.

A Look Back: Johns Hopkins improved to 3-0 with a 17-8 win over Michigan last Saturday. Princeton opened its season with a 10-7 road victory at Hofstra on the same day.

Series History: This week’s game will be the 83rd between Johns Hopkins and Princeton. The Blue Jays lead the all-time series 55-27 and grabbed a 10-8 win at Princeton last season to snap a three-game Princeton winning streak in the series.

A Top 12 Matchup: This week’s Johns Hopkins-Princeton game pits two teams ranked in the top 12 in both the USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls. JHU checks in at number three in both polls, while the Tigers are ranked 12th in both. The JHU-Princeton game is one of seven games this week that pit teams both ranked in the top 20.

Marching On: The calendar flips to March for this week’s game against Princeton and JHU will carry a six-game winning streak in the month of March into the contest. JHU last lost a game in March in 2011, when the Blue Jays dropped a 5-4 double-overtime decision at then top-ranked Syracuse.

Program Ties – Part I: Princeton sophomore attackman Brendan DeTommaso is the son of John DeTommaso, a three-time First Team All-American defenseman during his career at Johns Hopkins from 1983-86. John DeTommaso helped JHU to a pair of NCAA Championships during his career at Homewood and was a senior when current Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala was a freshman.

Program Ties – Part II: Princeton assistant coach Greg Raymond played at Johns Hopkins from 2001-05, was a three-time captain for the Blue Jays (2003-05) and helped Hopkins an undefeated record (16-0) and the 2005 National Championship as a senior.

These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Princeton with an all-time record of 927-298-15 (.754). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.

That’s 102 Games Over .500: Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala picked up his 164th career win with last week’s win over Michigan and improved his record to 164-62 with the victory. Included in that mark is a 141-45 record at JHU and a 23-17 record in three seasons as the head coach at Cornell.
Pietramala ranks second all-time in school history in career coaching victories as only Hall of Fame coach Bob Scott (158 wins from 1955-74) has more victories than Pietramala while patrolling the sidelines at Homewood.

Quick Starts: Johns Hopkins has been especially strong in the first and third quarter of its three games this season. The Blue Jays have outscored the opposition 15-2 in the first quarter and 11-3 in the third. By contrast, JHU holds a slim scoring margin in the fourth quarter (10-7) and is even in the second (8-8).

Balancing Act: Johns Hopkins counts seven players with four or more goals and nine players with four or more points through three games. In all, 12 different players have found the back of the net for JHU and 16 players have at least one point.

Among the Leaders: The NCAA issued its first national statistical report this week and Johns Hopkins is well represented among the national leaders. JHU ranks in the top 10 in the nation in eight different team categories and three individual categories.

Below is a look at JHU’s top-10 statistical national rankings:

Team Categories:
Faceoff Win Percentage (1st • .750)
Winning Percentage (T1st • 1.000)
Scoring Defense (3rd • 6.67)
Scoring Margin (3rd • +8.0)
Assists Per/Game (4th • 9.0)
Points Per/Game (5th • 23.67)
Scoring Offense (6th • 14.67)
Ground Balls/Game (9th • 37.0)

Individual Categories:
Faceoff Win Percentage (1st • Mike Poppleton • .800)
Goals Against Average (3rd • Pierce Bassett • 6.34)
Save Percentage (4th • Pierce Bassett • .667)

What Brown Does For Us: Freshman Ryan Brown has stepped in and made an immediate impact for the Blue Jays. Brown has four goals and two assists through three games and leads the team with three extra-man goals. He scored two goals and added an assist in the win last week against Michigan and has scored in all three games thus far.

Sanders Breaks Through: Junior midfielder Rex Sanders entered the 2013 season with one career goal to his credit. He’s needed just three games to surpass that total as he has scored five goals in wins vs. Siena, Towson and Michigan. Sanders is tied for second on the team in goals (5) and ranks fifth in points (5).

Poppleton Strong at the X: Senior Mike Poppleton enjoyed one of the great individual games by a Johns Hopkins faceoff specialist in last week’s win over Michigan.
Poppleton won all 14 faceoffs he took in the first half and finished with a 17-of-18 (.944) showing to go along with 12 ground balls. The 17 wins are the second-highest total of his career.
Poppleton has won 40-of-50 (.800) faceoffs through three games and has a team-high 23 ground balls to his credit. He currently leads the nation in faceoff winning percentage and ranks 12th in ground balls per game (7.67).

Bassett Solid Through Three: Senior Pierce Bassett hails from Arizona, but the chill of February in Baltimore didn’t slow him as he currently boasts a .667 save percentage and a 6.34 goals against average. He ranks third in the nation in goals against average and fourth in save percentage. He enters this week’s game vs. Princeton just 11 saves shy of 400 for his career. Only nine Johns Hopkins goalies in school history have amassed 400 or more saves.

Durkin Fuels Defense: Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala has the luxury of returning the nation’s top defensive player in senior co-captain Tucker Durkin, who has picked up right where he left off a year ago.
Durkin currently ranks third on the team in ground balls (11) and leads the team with eight caused turnovers. Durkin counts almost half of JHU’s total caused turnovers (19) to his credit and is the anchor of a Johns Hopkins defense that ranks third nationally in scoring defense (6.67).

Scoring Droughts Abound: Despite the new rules in place this season that aim to quicken the pace (and thus increasing scoring), the Johns Hopkins defense has been able to hold each of its three opponents scoreless for long stretches. Siena, Towson and Michigan have each drawn blanks of at least 15 minutes and all three have had two droughts that lasted at least 13 minutes.

I’m Honored: The Blue Jays return four players who earned All-America honors last season in seniors Tucker Durkin, Pierce Bassett and John Ranagan and junior Rob Guida. Durkin earned First Team All-America honors on defense, while Ranagan and Guida grabbed second team honors at midfield. Bassett earned honorable mention honors in goal and he, Durkin and Ranagan are two-time All-America selections for the Blue Jays.

Odd, But True: Years ending in “3” have been kind, and unkind, to the Blue Jays. Since the formation of the NCAA Tournament in 1971, Johns Hopkins has advanced to the NCAA Championship game three times (1973, 1983, 2003) and the NCAA Semifinals once (1993) in the years ending in three. JHU fell in each of those three title games with the three loses coming by a total of four goals. In each of those instances the Blue Jays subsequently won a national championship within two years.

Did You Know That …
… Pierce Bassett ranks 10th in school history with 389 saves and sports a 28-7 record in his last 35 starts?

… Brandon Benn has scored at least one goal in 18 of 19 games since the start of the 2012 season and has 11 multi-goal games to his credit during that time?

… Tucker Durkin became the first JHU junior to win the William C. Schmeisser Award as the nation’s top defenseman since Dave Pietramala in 1988.

… Zach Palmer totaled 27 goals and 26 assists last season to become just the eighth JHU player since 1980 with 25 goals and assists in the same season.

… Rex Sanders scored twice in the win over Siena, once against Towson and twice more against Michigan. Prior to this, Sanders had scored one goal in six career games played.

Striking the First Blow: Johns Hopkins scored on its first (6x) or second (6x) shot of the game a total of 12 times in 16 games last season. The Blue Jays were back at it again in the win at Towson as Wells Stanwickscored on JHU’s second shot of the game. JHU scored on its third shot of the game against both Siena and Michigan.

Representing the Stars and Stripes – Part I: Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala will serve as an assistant coach for the United States at at the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships in Denver Colorado. Pietramala will serve under Richie Meade, the head coach at Navy from 1995-2011.

Representing the Stars and Stripes – Part II: Johns Hopkins sophomore defender Rob Enright was a member of the United States Team that won the 2012 FIL U-19 World Championship in Turku, Finland. Enright is the 17th Johns Hopkins player to represent the United States at the U-19 Championships since the formation of the event in 1988.

Working Overtime: The Blue Jays have won their last three overtime games dating back to the 2011 season and are 19-9 all-time in overtime under head coach Dave Pietramala.

Streaking: In case you didn’t notice, Johns Hopkins is 23-5 in its last 28 games and 28-7 since the start of the 2011 season.

Poll Position: The Blue Jays are ranked third in this week’s USILA Coaches Poll and rank third in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll as well. 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 this week’s USILA Poll, there have been 399 weekly polls since the inception of the poll in 1973. Amazingly, JHU has been ranked in the top 20 in 397 of those 399 polls. The Blue Jays have been in the top 10 in 376 of the 399 and the top five in 298 of those 399. Johns Hopkins has been ranked number one 104 times since the poll debuted in 1973.

Palmer in Rare Company: Senior attackman Zach Palmer led Johns Hopkins in scoring with 27 goals and 26 assists for 53 points last season. With that effort, Palmer became the first player at Johns Hopkins with 25 goals and 25 assists in the same season since 2007, when Paul Rabil totaled 27 goals and 26 assists. The 25-25 feat is rare at Johns Hopkins as Palmer is just the eighth Blue Jay to reach this mark since 1980 (the eight have turned the trick a combined 13 times).

Palmer Among Career Active Assists Leaders: Senior attackman Zach Palmer notched three assists in the win against Michigan to run his career assist total to 63. He is currently tied for eighth among all active Division I players in career assists.