The Game: Johns Hopkins (9-3) welcomes Villanova (5-7) to Homewood Field for the Blue Jays’ regular season home finale. This is the first game in a two-game series the Blue Jays will have with the Wildcats as JHU will visit Villanova next season. Faceoff is set for 7 pm with a live national television audience on ESPNU.
A Look Back: Johns Hopkins ran its winning streak to four games as the Blue Jays topped Navy, 6-5, in Annapolis last Friday night.
Villanova fell in overtime for the second time in three games as the Wildcats dropped an 11-10 decision at St. John’s on Saturday.
Series History: Johns Hopkins and Villanova are meeting for the seventh time in a series that dates to a 17-9 Johns Hopkins victory in 1997. The Blue Jays have won each of the previous six meetings with four of the six taking place at Homewood Field.
Johns Hopkins won the last meeting, 10-7, in 2002 at Villanova Stadium and the last two meetings were the closest as JHU pulled out an 11-7 win in 2001 and then the three-goal victory a year later. Prior to those two meetings, each of the previous four games in the series were decided by at least eight goals.
Johns Hopkins and Villanova were tied together closely at the formation of the series as the Wildcats were coached by Randy Marks, whose oldest son, David, played for him for two years before transferring to Johns Hopkins to play his final two seasons.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Villanova with an all-time record of 942-306-15 (.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 seventh in this week’s USILA Coaches Poll and fifth in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Villanova is not ranked this week in either poll.
Closing on Mr. Scott: Dave Pietramala picked up his 156th victory as the head coach at Johns Hopkins with the 6-5 victory at Navy and he continues to close in on the record for most career coaching victories at Homewood. Only Bob Scott, who won 158 games as the head coach at JHU from 1955-74, has won or coached (214) more games than Pietramala at Johns Hopkins.
Career Win Number 179: In addition to his 156-53 (.746) mark as the head coach at JHU, Dave Pietramala also posted a 23-17 record in three seasons as the head coach at Cornell and now boasts an overall record of 179-70 (.719). Pietramala’s 179 wins rank 10th among active Division I coaches.
Career Game Number 250: This week’s game against Villanova willl be the 250th for Dave Pietramala as a head coach at the collegiate level.
New Blue: The Johns Hopkins lineup features 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), Holden Cattoni (M), Connor Reed (M) and Ryan Brown (A). Brown did start four games at midfield last season, but made 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 is fielding 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.
An Offensive Group: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Villanova averaging 12.08 goals per game and the Blue Jays have scored at least 10 goals in all but two games this season. Entering the game against Wildcats, JHU ranks 12th in the nation in scoring offense, fifth in assists per game (7.83) and 10th in points per game (19.9).
Sharing the Ball: An effective part of the Blue Jay offense this season has been the ability to move the ball and that has shown up in the percentage of the team’s goals that have been assisted thus far. Through 12 games, 94 of JHU’s 145 goals have been assisted, or 64.8%. Only three times since 2003 has Johns Hopkins finished a season with more than 60% of its goals being assisted. The 2003 team assisted on 67.4% of its goals, while the 2004 (64.3%) and 2009 (62.4%) teams also eclipsed the 60% mark.
Extra, Extra: Johns Hopkins converted on a pair of extra-man opportunities against Navy and is now 23-of-43 (.535) for the year. The Blue Jays rank fourth in the nation in extra-man offense heading into the Navy game. Brandon Benn (7 EMO goals), Holden Cattoni (6), Ryan Brown (5) and Wells Stanwick (3) have combined to score 21 of JHU’s 23 EMO goals this season.
Kennedy, Faceoff Unit Shine: Behind the efforts of junior Drew Kennedy, Johns Hopkins ranks 10th in the nation in faceoff winning percentage entering this week’s game against Villanova. On the year, the Blue Jays have won 172-of-285 (.604) as a team.
For his part, Kennedy has been a workhorse as he is 154-of-246 (.626) through 12 games and also has a team-high 109 ground balls thus far. He ranks among the national leaders in faceoff winning percentage (8th) and ground balls per game (8th / 9.1).
Holding Them Down: The Blue Jays have held the opposition scoreless for long stretches at key points this season. The 12 teams Johns Hopkins has played thus far have 17 scoreless droughts of 11 minutes or longer and 12 of 15 minutes or longer. JHU held Maryland scoreless for stretches of 20:11 to open the game and 18:52 immediately after the Terps scored their first goal and then held Mount St. Mary’s off the board for 44:56 to open the game.
More Holding: Johns Hopkins has held each of its 12 opponents under its season scoring average thus far. Recently, the Blue Jays held Albany to just eight goals (just over half of what the Great Danes entered the game averaging) and Maryland to just six goals (less than half the Terps’ average entering the game). In all, JHU has held nine of its 12 opponents to nine goals or less.
A Final Holding: The Johns Hopkins defense did not allow a first-quarter goal against Albany, Maryland or Mount St. Mary’s and surrendered just one at Navy. The Blue Jays led Albany, 5-0, Maryland, 1-0, and Mount St. Mary’s, 2-0, at the end of the first quarter. Dating back to the March 29 game against North Carolina, the Blue Jays have allowed just two goals in the last 70:25 of the first quarter.
Second Quarter Defense Nearly the Same: While the Blue Jays have allowed just one first quarter goal in the last four games, they’ve been nearly as effective in the second quarter over the same period of time. In wins against Albany, Maryland, Mount St. Mary’s and Navy, the Blue Jays have allowed a total of just four goals in the second quarter. The Great Danes and Terps both managed a second-quarter goal against the Blue Jays after being held scorelessin the first. Mount St. Mary’s was held off the board in the second quarter, while Navy did score twice in the second frame against the Blue Jays.
Schneider Rolling: A key part of the recent surge by the Blue Jay defense has been the play of senior goalie Eric Schneider, who has gotten hot as the weather has gotten better. In the last three games against Maryland, Mount St.Mary’s and Navy, Schneider has played 165 of the team’s 180 minutes and bosts a 4.36 GAA and a .727 save percentage over that time. With his recent performances, which include a 17-save performance at Navy, Schneider now has a 7.85 GAA and .569 save percentage on the year. He ranked eighth in the nation in GAA and 10th in save percentage.
Welcome to the Club: Senior Brandon Benn became the 17th player in school history to reach the 100-goal mark with his four-goal effort at Navy. Benn is now tied for 15th with Dave Huntley (1976-79) and Brian Wood (1984-87) on JHU’s career goal-scoring list.
Another Welcome: Brandon Benn’s four goals against Navy pushed his season totals to 31 goals and five assists for 36 points. This marks the third consecutive season he has scored 30+ goals, making him the first Johns Hopkins player since Terry Riordan (1992-95) to score 30 or more goals in three straight seasons. Riordan scored more than 30 goals in each of his four seasons and remains the only player in school history to turn that trick.
Second-Longest Game in School History: The triple overtime game against Ohio State in the season-opener 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: With the 11-10 loss at Virginia, Johns Hopkins is now 20-11 all-time in overtime under head coach Dave Pietramala; this includes the 10-9 triple overtime victory against Ohio State in the season opener. The Blue Jays have won four of their last six overtime games dating back to late in the 2011 season.
Poll Position: The Blue Jays are ranked seventh in this week’s USILA 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 this week’s USILA Poll, there have been 420 weekly polls since the inception of the poll in 1973. Amazingly, JHU has been ranked in the top 20 in 418 of those 420 polls. The Blue Jays have been in the top 10 in 391 of the 420 and the top five in 302 of those 420. Johns Hopkins has been ranked number one 104 times since the poll debuted in 1973.