The Game: Johns Hopkins (5-1) heads to the University of Virginia (6-2) for a key top-10 battle with the Cavaliers. Faceoff is set for 4:30 pm with a live national television broadcast on ESPNU.
A Look Back: Johns Hopkins slipped from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 12-10 loss to Syracuse at Homewood Field last Saturday.
Virginia dropped its second straight as the Cavaliers fell at Notre Dame, 18-9 on Sunday.
Series History: Johns Hopkins and Virginia are meeting for the 87th time in a series that dates to a 9-0 Johns Hopkins victory in 1904. The Blue Jays have currently won three straight against the Cavaliers, including an 11-10 win in 2012 in JHU’s last trip to Charlottesville.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Virginia with an all-time record of 938-304-15 (.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 eighth in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll as well. Virginia enters this week’s game against Johns Hopkins ranked 10th in the coaches poll and 10th in the media poll.
Playing for the Cup: The winner of this week’s game between Johns Hopkins and Virginia will be presented with the Doyle Smith Cup, which goes to the winner of the annual regular season game between the two teams.
Doyle Smith arrived at Johns Hopkins from Corvallis, Oregon in 1962 and served as the manager of the lacrosse team throughout his tenure at Homewood. He graduated from Johns Hopkins Phi Beta Kappa and worked under the guidance of Hall of Fame coach Bob Scott before moving to the University of Virginia, where he served as the Director of Media Relations for the men’s lacrosse program for 30 years.
Doyle’s devotion to the sport of men’s lacrosse was remarkable. He served as the information director for the USILA for many years and was the official statistician at the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships for over two decades. He also was responsible for the standardization and accuracy of men’s lacrosse statistics and became the face and voice of the USILA during his time at Virginia. In 2000, he became the first non-player, non-coach to be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
By a joint acclimation between Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia, it was established during the 2006 season that the regular-season game contested between the Blue Jays and the Cavaliers be known as the game for the Doyle Smith Cup.
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 152-51 (.749) 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 175-68 (.720). 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 Virginia averaging 13.17 goals per game and the Blue Jays have scored at least 10 goals in every game this season. JHU ranks ninth in the nation in scoring offense, third in assists per game (8.17) and fifth in points per game (21.33).
Class Rank: The Blue Jays have gotten production from each of their four classes through six games. Each class has registered at least 11 points thus far, with the sophomore (52 points), junior (34 points) and senior (31 points) classes 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 22-13 scoring advantage in the first quarter and a 25-14 scoring margin in the third quarter. In the second and fourth quarters, JHU is a combined +7 in scoring margin (31-24).
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 13th in the nation in scoring defense (8.5) and has held five of its six opponents to nine goals or less. Eric Schneider continues to impress in goal as he sports an 8.10 goals against average and a .581 save percentage.
Attack Driven: Johns Hopkins’ starting attack unit of senior Brandon Benn, junior Wells Stanwick and sophomore Ryan Brown will be 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 nine points in all six 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).
Kennedy Shines: Junior faceoff specialist Drew Kennedy continues to enjoy a standout season for the Blue Jays as he is 93-of-136 (.684) through six games and also has a team-high 64 ground balls thus far. He ranks third in the nation in faceoff winning percentage and first in ground balls per game (10.67) after winning 21-of-25 faceoffs with 15 ground balls in last week’s game against Syracuse. The 21 faceoff wins and 15 ground balls 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.
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: Johns Hopkins improved to 20-10 all-time in overtime under head coach Dave Pietramala with the 10-9 triple overtime victory against Ohio State. The Blue Jays have now won four of their last five 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.