The Game: Johns Hopkins (6-3) welcomes long-time rival Maryland (9-1) to Homewood Field for the 111th meeting in the greatest rivalry in college lacrosse. Faceoff is set for 2 pm with a capacity Homecoming crowd expected.
A Look Back: Johns Hopkins snapped a three-game losing streak with a 13-8 victory against Albany last Friday night at Homewood Field.
Maryland didn’t play last weekend as the Terps had the weekend off. UM enters this week’s game with a two-game winning streak after topping Robert Morris, 19-6, in its last game on April 2.
Series History: Johns Hopkins and Maryalnd renew the greatest rivalry in college lacrosse for the 111th time this weekend. JHU leads the all-time series 69-40-1 after last season’s 7-4 win at then top-ranked Maryland last season.
Close games have been the norm of late in the head-to-head matchup as three of last five have been decided by a goal and the last five games have been decided by a total of nine goals.
As might be expected in a rivalry like this, rankings haven’t always predicted the winner. The higher-ranked team has won 32 of the 53 since 1973, but the lower-ranked team has won 12 of the last 22. Including last season’s win at then top-ranked Maryland, Johns Hopkins is 13-7 against Maryland when entering the game against the Terrapins as the lower-ranked team. Currently, JHU has won nine of the last 12 when entering the game ranked lower than the Terps.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Maryland with an all-time record of 939-306-15 (.751). 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 ninth in this week’s USILA Coaches Poll and eighth in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Maryland enters this week’s game against Johns Hopkins ranked third in the coaches poll and third in the media poll.
Closing on Mr. Scott: Dave Pietramala picked up his 153rd victory as the head coach at Johns Hopkins with the 13-8 victory against Albany 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 176: In addition to his 153-53 (.743) mark as the head coach at JHU, Dave Pietramala also postd a 23-17 record in three seasons as the head coach at Cornell and now boasts an overall record of 176-70 (.715). Pietramala’s 176 wins rank 10th among active Division I coaches.
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 Maryland averaging 12.33 goals per game and the Blue Jays have scored at least 10 goals in all but one game this season. JHU ranks 11th in the nation in scoring offense, second in assists per game (8.11) and eighth in points per game (20.44).
Class Rank: The Blue Jays have gotten production from each of their four classes through nine games. Each class has registered at least 15 points thus far, with the sophomore (74 points), senior (48) and junior (47 points) classes leading the way.
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 nine games, 73 of JHU’s 111 goals have been assisted, or 65.8%. 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.
Something Special Going On: An area of emphasis for all lacrosse coaches in practice are the specialty units of extra-man offense, man-down defense and faceoffs and the Blue Jays have been excelling in all three areas this season. Below is a quick look at each unit through nine games:
Extra, Extra: Johns Hopkins converted on all three of its extra-man opportunities last week against Albany and is now 16-of-29 (.552) for the year. The Blue Jays rank third in the nation in extra-man offense with Brandon Benn (5 EMO goals), Holden Cattoni (5) and Ryan Brown (4) leading the way.
Man-Down Unit Excelling: With a lot of the focus on JHU’s offense this season, it’s easy to overlook the performance of the man-down unit, which has killed off 13-of-19 (.684) chances this season. The Blue Jays rank 23rd in the nation in man-down defense this season after finishing 11th a year ago.
Kennedy, Faceoff Unit Shines: Behind the efforts of junior Drew Kennedy, Johns Hopkins ranks third in the nation in faceoff winning percentage (144-of-227 / .634). For his part, Kennedy has been a workhorse as he is 139-of-211 (.659) through nine games and also has a team-high 95 ground balls thus far. He ranks fourth in the nation in faceoff winning percentage and third in ground balls per game (10.56) after winning 21-of-25 faceoffs with 15 ground balls against Syracuse, following that with a 16-of-25 performance with 11 ground balls at Virginia and capping a three-week run against top 10 teams with a 20-of-26 showing with 13 GBs against North Carolina. The 21 faceoff wins and 15 ground balls against the Orange are both career highs.
In his last five games, Kennedy is 85-of-126 (.675) with 58 ground balls and has won at least 16 faceoffs and grabbed 11 ground balls in four of the five games. Holding Them Down: The Blue Jays have held the opposition scoreless for long stretches at key points this season. The nine teams Johns Hopkins has played thus far have 11 scoreless droughts of 11 minutes or longer and eight of 15 minutes or longer.
More Holding Them Down: Johns Hopkins has held each of its nine opponents under its season scoring average (current average) thus far. The Blue Jays held Albany to just eight goals, just over half of what the Great Danes entered the game averaging. In all, JHU has held six of its nine opponents to nine goals or less.
Attack Driven: Johns Hopkins’ starting attack unit of senior Brandon Benn, junior Wells Stanwick and sophomore Ryan Brown is being counted on to lead the way offensively for the Blue Jays this season and the trio has been up to the task thus far. They have combined for at least four goals and seven points in all nine games this season, with 11 goals against UMBC and nine goals against both Towson and Princeton. The trio has a pair of 16-point games to its credit (Towosn, UMBC) and a 14-point effort as well (Princeton).
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.
State Rivalries: Johns Hopkins improved its record to 63-8 (.887) under head coach Dave Pietramala in games played against teams from the state of Maryland with the recent 15-8 victory against UMBC.
Including the game against the Retrievers, the Blue Jays will play six games this season against in-state rivals.
Poll Position: The Blue Jays are ranked ninth 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.
Mount St. Mary’s Game Rescheduled: The Johns Hopkins-Mount St. Mary’s game, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 4 in Emmitsburg, was postponed due to unplayable field conditions after a winter storm blew through Maryland on March 3. The game against the Mountaineers has been rescheduled for Monday, April 14 at 4 pm (at Mount St. Mary’s).