The Game: Third-ranked Johns Hopkins (8-1) returns home to host Albany (1-7) in a rare Thursday night game for the Blue Jays.
Last Time Out: Johns Hopkins had its 15-game regular season winning streak snapped as the Blue Jays fell to North Carolina, 13-9, in the Big City Classic on Sunday. Albany picked up its first win of the season last Saturday with a 12-11 victory over Binghamton.
Series History: Johns Hopkins and Albany are meeting for the 11th time in a series that dates to a 10-4 Johns Hopkins victory in 2002. The Blue Jays lead the all-time series 9-1 and all 11 games (including this season’s matchup) have been played at Homewood Field.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Albany with an all-time record of 920-295-15 (.754). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.
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 157-59 (.726), including a 134-42 (.761) 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 Start: Although Johns Hopkins had its eight-game season-opening winning streak snapped with the loss to North Carolina on Sunday, good things could be in store for the Blue Jays down the road. Since 1977 the Blue Jays have opened a season with eight straight wins seven times (including this season). JHU has won the national championship three times in the previous six years, made two other trips to the title game and advanced to the NCAA semifinals the other year.
Program Ties: Albany is coached by Scott Marr, a 1991 Johns Hopkins graduate. Marr was a member of the Blue Jays’ 1987 NCAA Championship team and played at JHU with current Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala and current JHU associate head coach Bill Dwan.
Marching Orders: Johns Hopkins closed out the March portion of its 2012 schedule at Virginia on March 24. The Blue Jays posted their first perfect record in the month of March (5-0) since 2005, when they also won all five of their games played in the month. Since 1972, JHU has posted a perfect record in the month of March 15 times (not including this season). In six of those years the Blue Jays went on to win the national championship and in seven other instances JHU finished as national runner-up.
April Reign: Flipping the calendar to April has usually been a good sign for the Blue Jays, who are 48-8 (.857) under head coach Dave Pietramala in games played in April. JHU is 27-3 at home, 19-3 on the road and 2-2 on a neutral field in April under Pietramala’s guidance.
Streaking – Part 1: In case you didn’t notice, Johns Hopkins is 16-2 in its last 18 games, 21-4 since the start of the 2011 season and 23-6 in its last 29 games.
Streaking – Part 2: Johns Hopkins is 109-30 (.784) in its last 139 regular season games dating back to the end of the 2001 season and 126-38 (.768) overall since the start of the 2002 season.
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 11 games with the 11-7 win over sixth-ranked Syracuse on March 17. 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. Hopkins sports a gaudy 78-12 (.867) 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 11-game home winning streak is the fourth home streak of seven wins or more since he arrived.
More Home Cookin’: In addition to boasting the second-longest home winning streak of the Dave Pietramala era, Johns Hopkins’ current 11-game winning streak at Homewood Field is also the second longest active home winning streak in the nation. Only Cornell, which has won 12 straight at Schoellkopf Field, has a longer current streak in the home whites than Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins’ win at Virginia on March 24 snapped UVA’s 14-game home winning streak, which had stood as the longest in the nation.
Balancing Act: Johns Hopkins has employed virtually the same first and second midfield units throughout the first nine games and those units have proven to be steady in terms of production. JHU’s first unit of Rob Guida (11), John Ranagan (8) and John Greeley (6) has combined for 25 goals, while the second unit of Lee Coppersmith (10), Mark Goodrich (5) and Greg Edmonds (2) has 17 goals to its credit. The major difference between the two groups has been with assists. The unit of Guida, Ranagan and Greeley has combined for 16 assists. Edmonds’ assist against North Carolina was the first assist of the season from the trio on the second midfield.
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 was 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 and duplicated that effort in the win over UMBC.
Bassett Now 21-4 in Last 25 Starts: Junior goalie Pierce Bassett picked up his 24th career victory in goal with the 11-10 win at Virginia as he posted nine saves in the overtime victory. Including the loss to UNC he is 21-4 in his last 25 starts dating back to the start of the 2011 season and counts a 24-8 career record to his credit. Through nine games Bassett currently ranks fifth in the nation in goals against average (6.82) and 14th in save percentage (.565).
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. Bassett’s 7.07 goals against average is the second best by a JHU goalie since 1993 (Jesse Schwartman’s 6.68 GAA in 2005 is the best since records became available in ‘93).
Boland Returns: Senior attackman Chris Boland returned to the lineup against North Carolina after missing seven consecutive games with an injury he suffered 35 minutes into the season opener against Towson. Boland scored twice and dished out a pair of assists to push his season totals to six goals and two assists in just two games. Boland’s two-goal, two-assist showing vs. North Carolina pushed his career totals to 72 goals and 40 assists for 112 points. It was also his 26th career multi-point game and 17th game with four points or more.
Poll Position: The Blue Jays check in at number three 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 391 weekly polls since the inception of the poll in 1973. Amazingly, JHU has been ranked in the top 20 in 389 of those 391 polls. The Blue Jays have been in the top 10 in 368 of the 391 and the top five in 294 of those 391. Johns Hopkins has been ranked number one 104 times since the poll debuted in 1973.
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 wins this season vs. Towson and UMBC, JHU is 55-4 (.932) against teams from Maryland under head coach Dave Pietramala.
Offensive Notes of Interest: Below are several notes of interest about the JHU offense:
• JHU has scored at least one goal in 34 of 36 quarters this season and two or more in 29 of the 36 quarters.
• For all the talk about JHU being a slow down team, the Blue Jays are averaging 36.1 shots per game. That number compares favorably to JHU’s averages in 2005 (38.1) and 2007 (36.3) – the most recent years in which Johns Hopkins won the national championship.
• Johns Hopkins ranks 20th in the nation in scoring offense (10.33), 14th in extra-man offense (.455) and ninth in scoring margin (+3.66).
Defensive Notes of Interest: Below are several notes of interest about the JHU defense:
• Hopkins held Towson to just 18 shots and Manhattan to just 14. Hopkins is surrending an average of just 29.9 shots per game.
• Johns Hopkins has held each of its nine opponents scoreless for a stretch of at least 14:52 – eight of the nine have gone scoreless for 19:30 or longer.
• JHU has held the opposition scoreless in 12 of 36 quarters this season (33.3%).
• The Blue Jays rank fourth in the nation in scoring defense (6.67), 22nd in man-down defense (.677) and ninth in scoring margin (+3.66) this season.
Now That’s a Drought: The Johns Hopkins defense did not allow an even-strength goal for an amazing stretch of 116:37 from late in the win at Princeton through early in the fourth quarter of the win over UMBC. The Retrievers did score a pair of extra-man goals in the first half, but the first six-on-six goal they scored came 34 seconds into the fourth quarter.
About the Shutout: Shutouts in college lacrosse are rare, but JHU notched one with the 11-0 victory over Manhattan on March 6. Prior to that, the Blue Jays had last posted a shutout on March 26, 1988, when they knocked off Princeton, 9-0. The shutout vs. Manhattan was the 61st in school history with 57 of those 61 shutouts coming prior to 1950.
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 920 all-time wins.
That’s 625 Games Over .500: The Blue Jays’ all-time record is now 920-295-15 (.754) … that’s 625 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 five games over .500.