The Game: Johns Hopkins (5-2) returns home for the first of three straight games at Homewood Field as the Blue Jays welcome North Carolina (7-2) to Baltimore.
A Look Back: Johns Hopkins fell for the second week in a row as the Blue Jays dropped an 11-10 overtime decision at Virginia.
North Carolina improved to 7-2 with its second straight win, an 11-8 victory against top-ranked and previously unbeaten Maryland.
Series History: Johns Hopkins and North Carolina are meeting for the 43rd time in a series that dates to a 16-9 Johns Hopkins victory in 1977. The Blue Jays lead the series 24-18, but the Tar Heels have had the better of it lately as UNC has won six of the last seven, including an 11-10 overtime decision in Chapel Hill last season.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against North Carolina with an all-time record of 938-305-15 (.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 ninth in this week’s USILA Coaches Poll and 10th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. North Carolina enters this week’s game against Johns Hopkins ranked fifth in the coaches poll and fifth in the media poll.
Honoring Chris Gardner: For the 17th straight year, Johns Hopkins will continue its fight against cancer and this weeks’ game against North Carolina is the Blue Jays’ designated game to support the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in honor of Chris Gardner. Gardner was a member of the Blue Jay lacrosse team in 1996 when he was diagnosed with cancer. He received treatment at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center before losing his battle in 1997.
Every year since then, members of the team make visits to the Children’s Center to visit kids who are battling cancer and a game is selected each year to be played in Chris’s honor. One dollar is added to the cost of all tickets for the game and the proceeds from this ticket increase are donated to the Children’s Center in Chris’s honor.
In addition, a player from both teams is honored as the Chris Gardner Player of the Game and Chris’s mom, Kaki Van Haverbeke, will be on hand for the 17th straight year to present the awards.
Champions Day: Head coach Dave Pietramala and the Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team will welcome the 1959, 1969, 1974, 1979 and 1984 national championship teams for this week’s game against North Carolina. These five teams are celebrating “5-year” anniversaries of their championships and will enjoy a pregame reception next to the Cordish Lacrosse Center and members of the teams will be honored in a special pregame ceremony. These five teams posted a combined 56-5 record in winning the five national championships, with the 1959 and 1969 teams claiming USILA titles, while the 1974, 1979 and 1984 teams won NCAA crowns.
Closing on Mr. Scott: Dave Pietramala picked up his 152nd victory as the head coach at Johns Hopkins with the recent 15-8 victory at UMBC 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 175: In addition to notching his 152nd victory as the head coach at Johns Hopkins with the win against UMBC, Dave Pietramala also reached a milestone as the win against the Retrievers was the 175th of his coaching career. In addition to his 152-52 (.746) mark as the head coach at JHU, Pietramala also postd a 23-17 record in three seasons as the head coach at Cornell and now boasts an overall record of 175-69 (.717). Pietramala’s 175 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), Bronson Kelly(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 North Carolina averaging 12.17 goals per game and the Blue Jays have scored at least 10 goals in every game this season. JHU ranks 10th in the nation in scoring offense, third in assists per game (8.29) and sixth in points per game (21.0).
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 seven games, 58 of JHU’s 89 goals have been assisted, or 65.2%. 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 four-of-six extra-man opportunities last week at Virginia and is now 11-of-20 (.550) for the year. The Blue Jays rank fourth in the nation in extra-man offense with Brandon Benn (4 EMO goals), Ryan Brown (3) and Holden Cattoni (3) leading the way.
Must be the Speech: There must be something about the speech that head coach Dave Pietramala gives before the Blue Jays take the field at the start of the game and at halftime. For the year, Johns Hopkins holds a 26-17 scoring advantage in the first quarter and a 27-16 scoring margin in the third quarter. In the second and fourth quarters, JHU is a combined +7 in scoring margin (35-28).
Schneider, Defense Growing: While the offense has grabbed a majority of the headlines this season, the Blue Jay defense has been consistent thus far as well. Johns Hopkins is currently ranked 14th in the nation in scoring defense (8.86) and has held five of its seven opponents to nine goals or less. Eric Schneider continues to impress in goal as he sports an 8.45 goals against average and a .559 save percentage.
Holding Them Down: The Blue Jays have held the opposition scoreless for long stretches at key points this season. The seven teams Johns Hopkins has played thus far have nine scoreless droughts of 11 minutes or longer and seven of 15 minutes or longer.
Kennedy Shines: Junior faceoff specialist Drew Kennedy continues to enjoy a standout season for the Blue Jays as he is 109-of-161 (.677) through seven games and also has a team-high 75 ground balls thus far. He ranks fifth in the nation in faceoff winning percentage and first in ground balls per game (10.71) after winning 21-of-25 faceoffs with 15 ground balls against Syracuse and following that with a 16-of-25 performance with 11 ground balls at Virginia. The 21 faceoff wins and 15 ground balls against the Orange are both career highs. Kennedy won 18-of-22 (.818) faceoffs in the season opener against Ohio State and came back and won 16-of-23 with 10 ground balls against Towson. After winning just 1-of-6 in the first quarter, he was 15-of-17 over the final three quarters against the Tigers. In Overtime: With last week’s 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 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.