Hopkins opens lacrosse season Friday against Siena

February 07, 2013 | WNST Staff

The Game: Johns Hopkins welcomes Siena to Homewood Field for the season opener for both teams. This will be the second time the teams have met in the first game of a season (2009).

Series History: Johns Hopkins and Siena are meeting for the fifth time in a series that dates back to 2009. All five meetings have taken place at Homewood Field and the Blue Jays have won each of the previous four meetings. Every meeting between the two teams has taken place in February.

Check the Calendar: This year’s season opener against Siena will be the earliest game played in the history of the Blue Jay lacrosse program. Previously, the earliest game in school history was played on February 17, 2012 when the Blue Jays knocked off Charles Street rival Towson, 12-6.

In February: Johns Hopkins has played just 16 all-time games in the month of February and the Blue Jays are 13-3 in those 16 games. The Blue Jays have currently won nine straight games played in the month of February.

For Openers: Johns Hopkins is 10-2 under head coach Dave Pietramala in season-openers and close calls have been the norm as six of the 12 games have been decided by three goals or less.

These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Siena with an all-time record of 924-298-15 (.753). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.

A Look Back: Johns Hopkins closed a successful 2012 season with an overall record of 12-4 and the program’s 41st consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Program Ties: Lacrosse is a close-knit sport and it doesn’t take much to tie two teams together when they play, but Johns Hopkins and Siena are tied in a much different way this season.

Did you know that Johns Hopkins freshman Derrick Kihembo’s father ran cross country at Siena and is a member of the Saints’ Hall of Fame? His dad, Joe Rukanshagiza, was a four-time All-American at Siena (track & cross country) and the 1975 NCAA College Division Champion in the 5,000-meter run.

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.

Welcome Back: Head coach Dave Pietramala welcomes back eight starters from last season’s team, which posted a 12-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Of note…
• The Blue Jays return two starters on attack – Zach Palmer and Brandon Benn – who combined for 57 goals and 33 assists last season.
• JHU’s entire first midfield returns with seniors John Ranagan and John Greeley and junior Rob Guida all back in the fold. This trio totaled 40 goals and 25 assists despite Greeley missing the final four games of the season.
• Seniors Tucker Durkin and Chris Lightner return on close defense after they started all 16 games together a year ago.
• Senior goalie Pierce Bassett returns after grabbing his second All-America nod last season. He finished seventh nationally with a 7.47 goals against average in 2012.

Did You Know That …
… Pierce Bassett ranks 10th in school history with 355 saves and sports a 25-7 record in his last 32 starts?

… Brandon Benn scored at least one goal in 15 of 16 games last season and had eight multi-goal games to his credit?

… Phil Castronova returns to the lineup after missing the 2012 season? He totaled four goals, three assists and 42 ground balls as a SSDM as a freshman in 2011.

… 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.

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.

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 2012 season opener. He now sports an all-time record of 161-62 (.722), including a 138-45 (.754) 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.

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 20-5 in its last 25 games and 25-7 since the start of the 2011 season.

Poll Position: The Blue Jays are tied for fourth in the USILA Preseason Coaches Poll and rank fifth in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media 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 year’s Preseason USILA Poll, there have been 397 weekly polls since the inception of the poll in 1973. Amazingly, JHU has been ranked in the top 20 in 395 of those 397 polls. The Blue Jays have been in the top 10 in 374 of the 397 and the top five in 296 of those 397. 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. He ran his career totals to 59 goals and 56 assists for 115 points with his effort a year ago.

Palmer is 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).