The Game: Johns Hopkins opens the 2014 men’s lacrosse season by welcoming Ohio State to Homewood Field. Faceoff is set for 11:30 am with a live national television audience on ESPNU.
A Look Back: Johns Hopkins posted a 9-5 record and finished the 2013 season ranked 14th by the USILA (final regular season poll) and 17th in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Ohio State enjoyed one of the finest seasons in school history as the Buckeyes finished 13-4, won the ECAC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Series History: This week’s game between Johns Hopkins and Ohio State will be the fifth all-time meeting between the two teams. The previous four games took place between 1999-2002 with Blue Jays winning all four. The first three of those four wins came at Homewood Field and the last came in Columbus. In the 12-9 win at Ohio State on April 6, 2002, current Blue Jay offensive coordinator Bobby Benson totaled five goals and two assists to lead the way for the Blue Jays.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters the 2014 season with an all-time record of 933-303-15 (.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 opens the 2014 season ranked 11th in the USILA Preseason Coaches Poll and 13th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Ohio State enters the season ranked 14th in the coaches poll and ninth in the media poll.
For Openers: Johns Hopkins is 11-2 under head coach Dave Pietramala in season-openers with six of the 13 games being decided by three goals or less.
In February: Johns Hopkins has played just 19 all-time games in the month of February and the Blue Jays are 16-3 in those 19 games. The Blue Jays have currently won 12 straight games played in the month of February.
First Big Ten Game: Well, kind of. This week’s game against Ohio State will be the first of three games this season the Blue Jays will play against future Big Ten opponents. Johns Hopkins announced last June that it would join the Big Ten for men’s lacrosse starting with the 2015 season. The Blue Jays will also take on Michigan and Maryland, both future Big Ten opponents, later this season.
New Blue: Johns Hopkins enters the season with 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/John Kelly/Nick Fields (two of the three with start on D), Bronson Kelly (M), Connor Reed (M) and Ryan Brown (A). Brown did start four games at midfield last season, but makes the move to his natural attack position this season.
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 will field 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.
Class Rank: Despite a heavy turnover to the roster, the Blue Jays do return key contributors to an offense that averaged 11.5 goals per game last season. Each returning class contributed at least 23 goals and 31 points last year. Below is a breakdown of JHU’s scoring by returning class:
Class (Gls. • Assts. • Points)
Seniors (56 • 8 • 64)
Juniors (30 • 26 • 56)
Sophomores (23 • 8 • 31)
What it Means in 2014: With the above breakdown of goals, assists and points in mind, the Blue Jays return 67.7% of their goals (109-of-161), 45.7% of their assists (42-of-92) and 59.7% of their points (151-of-253) from last season.
For Starters: The entire 49-man Johns Hopkins roster counts 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) account 114, or 86.7%. No other returning player has 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.
Attack Driven: Johns Hopkins’ tentative 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. The trio combined for 75 goals and 28 assists last season, with Stanwick leading the team in points (47) and assists (23) and Benn pacing the team in goals (34). The trio also combined for 20 of Johns Hopkins’ 27 extra-man goals on the year.