The Game: Johns Hopkins (5-3) welcomes Albany (4-4) to Homewood Field for the second of three consecutive home games for the Blue Jays. Faceoff at Homewood Field is set for 7 pm on Friday, April 4.
A Look Back: Johns Hopkins dropped its third consecutive game to a team ranked in the top 10 as the Blue Jays fell to fifth-ranked North Carolina, 13-9, last Saturday. Albany turned in a strong showing on both sides of the field as the Great Danes topped visiting Vermont, 20-9, last Saturday at home in a game not as close as the score would indicate.
Series History: Johns Hopkins and Albany are meeting for the 13th time in a series that dates to a 10-4 Johns Hopkins victory in 2002. The Blue Jays have won 10 of the previous 12 meetings, although Albany grabbed a 10-9 decision last season. Every meeting between the two teams has taken place at Homewood Field.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Albany with an all-time record of 938-306-15 (.751). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.
Wouded Warrior Partnership: Johns Hopkins will team with the Wounded Warrior Project for this week’s game against Albany. With an aim to raising awareness and funding for the organization, a number of Johns Hopkins lacrosse items will be available via raffle at the game. All proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, whose purposes include:
• Raising awareness and enlisting the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.
• Helping injured service members aid and assist each other.
• Providing unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
Poll Position: Johns Hopkins is ranked 10th in this week’s USILA Coaches Poll and 10th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Albany enters this week’s game against Johns Hopkins ranked 16th in the coaches poll and 18th in the media poll.
Third of Three: This week’s game against Albany marks the third of three games the Blue Jays will play against teams who are coached by Johns Hopkins graduates. Johns Hopkins previously defeated Towson (Shawn Nadelen ‘01) and UMBC (Don Zimmerman ‘76), while Albany is coached by Scott Marr ‘91.
Closing on Mr. Scott: Dave Pietramala picked up his 152nd victory as the head coach at Johns Hopkins with the 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 152-53 (.741) 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 175-70 (.714). 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: Despite being held under 10 goals for the first time this season with last week’s 13-9 loss to North Carolina, Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Albany averaging 12.25 goals per game and the Blue Jays have scored at least 10 goals in all but one game this season. JHU ranks 12th in the nation in scoring offense, fifth in assists per game (8.00) and eighth in points per game (20.25).
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 eight games, 64 of JHU’s 98 goals have been assisted, or 65.3%. 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. In fact, Johns Hopkins is the only team that ranks in the top 10 in the nation in all three categories.
Below is a quick look at each unit through eight games:
Extra, Extra: Johns Hopkins converted on two-of-six extra-man opportunities last week against North Carolina and is now 13-of-26 (.500) for the year. The Blue Jays rank fifth in the nation in extra-man offense with Brandon Benn (4 EMO goals), Holden Cattoni (4) and Ryan Brown (3) 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 12-of-16 (.750) chances this season. The Blue Jays rank eighth 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 second in the nation in faceoff winning percentage (134-of-203 / .660). For his part, Kennedy has been a workhorse as he is 129-of-187 (.690) through eight games and also has a team-high 88 ground balls thus far. He ranks third in the nation in faceoff winning percentage and first in ground balls per game (11.0) 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.br> In his last four games, Kennedy is 75-of-102 (.735) with 51 ground balls and has won ast least 16 faceoffs and grabbed 11 ground balls in each of those four games.
Holding Them Down: The Blue Jays have held the opposition scoreless for long stretches at key points this season. The eight teams Johns Hopkins has played thus far have 10 scoreless droughts of 11 minutes or longer and seven of 15 minutes or longer.
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 eight 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 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 10th 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.