The Game: Second-ranked Johns Hopkins (5-0) makes the five-mile trip to M&T Bank Stadium to take on UMBC (2-2) in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic. This is the sixth straight year the Blue Jays have participated in Inside Lacrosse’s early-season event.
Last Time Out: Johns Hopkins improved to 5-0 with an 11-0 victory against Manhattan on Tuesday, March 6. The Retrievers stunned fourth-ranked Maryland with a five-goal fourth quarter and grabbed an 8-7 victory over the Terps.
Series History: Johns Hopkins and UMBC are meeting for the 10th time in a series that dates to a 15-4 Johns Hopkins victory in 1983. JHU grabbed a 16-5 decision against the Retrievers last season in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against UMBC with an all-time record of 917-294-15 (.754). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.
About the Shutout: Shutouts in college lacrosse are rare, but JHU notched one with Tuesday’s 11-0 victory over Manhattan. Prior the that, the Blue Jays had last posted a shutout on March 26, 1988, when they knocked off Princeton, 9-0. The shutout was the 61st in school history with 57 of those 61 shutouts coming prior to 1950.
Career Win Number 150: Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala picked up career win number 150 with the 12-6 victory vs. Towson in the season opener. He now sports an all-time record of 154-58 (.726), including a 131-41 (.762) record at Johns Hopkins. He 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.
About the 5-0 Start: Johns Hopkins is 5-0 for the first time since 2005 and just the third time under head coach Dave Pietramala (2004). Prior to opening at 5-0 in 2004 and 2005, JHU hadn’t opened a season with five straight wins since 1995. Since 1977 the Blue Jays have opened a season with five straight wins 14 times (including this season). JHU has won the national championship six times in those 14 years, made five other trips to the title game and advanced to the NCAA semifinals in the other two years. In six of those years the Blue Jays suffered their first loss of the season in their sixth game.
In the Face-Off Classic: Johns Hopkins is the only team to have played in every Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic since the event was formed in 2007. JHU is 3-2 all-time in the Face-Off Classic.
At M&T Bank Stadium: This week’s game against UMBC will be the 13th Johns Hopkins has played at M&T Bank Stadium. The Blue Jays are 7-5 all-time at the home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
JHU won all three of its games at M&T in 2007, including a 7-6 double-overtime win against Princeon in the Face-Off Classic and a 12-11 win against Duke in the NCAA Championship game. After dropping two of their first three games at M&T Bank Stadium in 2003 and 2004, the Blue Jays have won six of their last nine here.
The 12 games JHU has played here have been equal parts nail-biter and equal parts blowout. Six of the 12 have been decided by two goals or less (including five one-goal affairs) and six have been decided by five goals or more.
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 (Maryland-9, Cornell-8, Virginia-7, Notre Dame-6, Duke-5, North Carolina-5).
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 917 all-time wins.
That’s 623 Games Over .500: The Blue Jays’ all-time record is now 917-294-15 (.754) … that’s 623 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 125 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.
Home Cookin’: Johns Hopkins ran its home winning streak to 10 games with the 11-0 win over Manhattan on March 6. The streak is the second-longest under head coach Dave Pietramala, who picked up his 75th career victory at Homewood Field with the win earlier this season against Delaware and sports a gaudy 77-12 (.865) record in home games during his career at JHU.
JHU won a school and national-record 37 straight home games from 2001-06 under Pietramala’s guidance and the current 10-game home winning streak is the fourth home streak of seven wins or more since he arrived.
Twelve Straight: Johns Hopkins ran its regular season winning streak to 12 games with the 11-0 win over Manhattan. This is the longest regular season winning streak for JHU since a 19-game run that bridged the 2004 and 2006 seasons.
Striking the First Blow: Johns Hopkins scored on its first shot of the game seven times in 2011 and has already turned the trick twice this season. After not scoring all the way until their second shot of the game against Towson, the Blue Jays netted their first goal of the game against Delaware (Brandon Benn) and Siena (Wells Stanwick) on their first shot. JHU scored on its second shot of the game at Princeton. as well.
Attack Oriented: Despite being forced to start five different players in three different combinations, the starting attack units the Blue Jays have trotted out have been effective and efficient. The unit has combined for 25 goals and 15 assists (nearly 8 points per game) through five games.
Jumping Right In: Junior John Kaestner had played in 12 career games and hadn’t so much as taken a shot before getting the starting nod at Princeton with freshman Wells Stanwick out. No worries, all Kaestner did is stick the first two goals of his career during a 4-1 fourth-quarter run that fueled JHU’s 10-8 win. He came back with one goal and one assist in the win vs. Manhattan.
Bassett Now 18-3 in Last 21 Starts: Sophomore goalie Pierce Bassett picked up his 21st career victory in goal with the 11-0 win vs. Manhattan as he posted seven saves without allowing a goal to improve to 21-7 in his 28 career starts. He is 18-3 in his last 21 starts dating back to the start of the 2011 season.
Bassett concluded his first full season as the starter for the Blue Jays last season and posted a 7.07 goals against average and a .570 save percentage. 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’s 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).
Poppleton, Kennedy Fuel Success at the X: Freshman Drew Kennedy did a solid job on faceoffs in the season-opener vs. Towson as he won 9-of-14 in the absence of junior Mike Poppleton. Poppleton returned against Delaware and has been solid in four games since. After winning 10-of-16 vs. Delaware, he won 15-of-18 against Siena, 11-of-21 at Princeton and 10-of-12 vs. Manhattan. He is now 46-of-67 (.687) on the year and ranks seventh in the nation in faceoff winning percentage. As a team, JHU is 56-of-93 (.602) on faceoffs this season and ranks 15th in the nationin FO winning percentage.
Streaking – Part 1: In case you didn’t notice, Johns Hopkins is 13-1 in its last 14 games, 18-3 since the start of the 2011 season and 20-5 in its last 25 games.
Streaking – Part 2: Johns Hopkins is 106-29 (.785) in its last 135 regular season games dating back to the end of the 2001 season and 123-37 (.769) overall since the start of the 2002 season.
Poll Position: The Blue Jays check in at number two in both the USILA Coaches Poll and the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll this week. 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 387 weekly polls since the inception of the poll in 1973. Amazingly, JHU has been ranked in the top 20 in 385 of those 387 polls. The Blue Jays have been in the top 10 in 364 of the 387 and the top five in 290 of those 387.
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 season-opening win vs. Towson, JHU is 54-4 (.931) against teams from Maryland under head coach Dave Pietramala.
Offensive Notes of Interest: Below are several notes about the JHU offense:
• JHU has scored at least one goal in 19 of 20 quarters this season and two or more in 16 of the 20 quarters.
• Hopkins fired 42 shots on Towson and 40 against Manhattan. JHU generated 40 or more shots just four times last season.
• The Blue Jays scored on their first shot of the game seven times last season and have done the same vs. Delaware and Siena this season.
• Johns Hopkins finished 10th in the nation in scoring offense (11.25), second in scoring margin (+4.0), 12th in assists per game (6.19) and 10th in points per game (17.44) last season.
Defensive Notes of Interest: Below are several notes of interest concerning the JHU defense:
• Hopkins held Towson to just 18 shots and Manhattan to just 14. Hopkins is surrending an average of just 22.4 shots per game.
• JHU held Towson scoreless for a stretch of 31:05 midway through the game and then held Delaware off the baord for 29:32 midway through the game. Siena failed to score for the final 19:30 and Princeton failed to score for a stretch of 25:20 midway through the game. Add in the shutout against Manhattan and all five JHU opponents this season have gone scoreless for stretch of at least 19:30.
• JHU has held the opposition scoreless in nine of 20 quarters this season (.450).
• The Blue Jays rank second in the nation in scoring defense (5.00) this season.
• The starting attack units the Blue Jays faced last season combined for a total of 39 goals and 36 assists (4.69 points per game). Six of those units were held to three points or less and only five generated more than five points. The Blue Jays have picked up right where they left off a year ago as the five starting attack units JHU has faced this season have combined for just 10 goals and eight assists in five games (3.6 ppg)
Taking Out the Finalists: Johns Hopkins defeated eventual national champion Virginia and eventual national runner-up Maryland during the 2011 regular season.
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.