Loyola gets top seed, will open NCAA Tournament against Canisius

May 06, 2012 | WNST Staff

BALTIMORE, MD — Johns Hopkins earned the number two seed in the 2012 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament and will host Stony Brook in the first round on Sunday, May 13 at 3 pm it was announced by the NCAA Selection Committee on Sunday night. Johns Hopkins (11-3) earned an at-large bid to the tournament, while Stony Brook (7-9) earned an automatic bid as the champion of the America East Conference. The game, the first-ever meeting between Johns Hopkins and Stony Brook in men’s lacrosse, will be televised live from Homewood Field on ESPNU.

The winner of the Johns Hopkins-Stony Brook first round game will play the winner of the Lehigh-Maryland game on Saturday, May 19 as part of a quarterfinal doubleheader at Navy’s Marine Corps Stadium. Lehigh, which earned the number seven seed, will host Maryland in the first round on Sunday, May 13 at 7:30 pm.

This is the 11th time Johns Hopkins has been seeded second in the tournament. Johns Hopkins was most recently seeded second in 1999 and the Blue Jays advanced to the NCAA Semifinals that season. Three times Johns Hopkins has parlayed the number two seed into a national championship (1980, 1978, 1974).

Johns Hopkins boasts a 66-31 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament with nine NCAA titles to its credit. The Blue Jays’ 66 wins and 18 championship-game appearances are both national records. In addition, JHU’s current streak of 41 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament in men’s lacrosse is the longest of any team in any Division I men’s team sport. The next longest active streak of qualifying for the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament is 10 (Maryland).

Johns Hopkins, which reached the 11-win mark for the eighth time in 12 seasons under head coach Dave Pietramala, features a solid defense and an opportunistic offense.

The Blue Jay offense is led on attack by senior Chris Boland, junior Zach Palmer and sophomore Brandon Benn. Palmer leads the team points (46) and assists (23) and ranks second in goals (23), while Benn counts a team-high 24 goals to his credit. Boland missed seven full games, but still ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points in seven games played.

Five active midfielders have totaled 10 or more points for the Blue Jays with sophomore Rob Guida leading the way with 16 goals and seven assists. John Ranagan (14g, 7a), Wells Stanwick (8g, 13a) Lee Coppersmith (14g) and Mark Goodrich (8g, 2a) have all reached double figures in scoring as well.

Defensively, the Blue Jays are led by junior Tucker Durkin, one of the top one-on-one defenders in college lacrosse. He counts 30 ground balls and a team-high 18 caused turnovers to his credit and teams with fellow junior Chris Lightner and senior Gavin Crisafulli on close defense. The trio anchors a unit that is allowing just 7.0 goals per game and has held 12 of 14 opponents under 10 goals. Johns Hopkins is surrendering less than 29 shots per game.

Junior goalie Pierce Bassett ranks among the national leaders with a 7.08 goals against average and is 27-10 in 37 career starts, including 24-6 in his 30 starts since the beginning of the 2011 season. He will be making his fourth career start in an NCAA Tournament game on Sunday against Stony Brook.

Stony Brook, which is making its second appearance in three years in the tournament, has won six of its last eight games since starting the season at 1-7. The Seawolves topped Hartford (9-8) and Albany (14-8) in the America East Tournament to grab the league’s automatic bid and have played nine one-goal games this season.

The Seawolves are led offensively by five players with 26 or more points. Leading the way is freshman attackman Mike Rooney with 33 goals and 12 assists, while junior attackman Jeff Tundo counts 16 goals and a team-high 26 assists to his credit. Stony Brook is averaging 9.88 goals per game on the year, but has bumped that mark to 11.1 during the recent eight-game surge.

Playing at home has been good for Johns Hopkins in its NCAA Tournament history. The Blue Jays are 43-4 all-time at Homewood Field in NCAA Tournament games, including a perfect 10-0 under Pietramala.