The Game: Second-ranked Johns Hopkins (6-0) welcomes sixth-ranked Syracuse (3-1) to Homewood Field for the 50th all-time meeting between the two most storied programs in college lacrosse history.
Last Time Out: Johns Hopkins improved to 6-0 with a 12-5 victory over UMBC in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic last Saturday. Syracuse (3-1) won its BIG EAST opener, 9-8, at St. John’s last Saturday.
Series History: Johns Hopkins and Syracuse are meeting for the 50th time in a series that dates to a 4-4 tie in 1921. The Blue Jays lead the all-time series, 26-22-1, although Syracuse has won five straight against JHU, including last season’s 5-4 double-overtime victory at the Carrier Dome.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Syracuse with an all-time record of 918-294-15 (.754). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.
Career Win Number 150: Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala picked up career win number 150 with the 12-6 victory vs. Towson in the season opener. He now sports an all-time record of 155-58 (.728), including a 132-41 (.763) record at Johns Hopkins. He ranks second all-time in school history in career coaching victories as only Hall of Fame coach Bob Scott (158 wins from 1955-74) has more victories than Pietramala while patrolling the sidelines at Homewood.
About the 6-0 Start: Johns Hopkins is 6-0 for the first time since 2005 and just the second time under head coach Dave Pietramala (2004). Prior to opening at 6-0 in 2005, JHU hadn’t opened a season with six straight wins since 1995. Since 1977 the Blue Jays have opened a season with six straight wins eight times (including this season). JHU has won the national championship four times in those seven years, made two other trips to the title game and advanced to the NCAA semifinals the other year.
Noting JHU in the NCAA Tournament: Johns Hopkins made its 40th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season. By comparison, the next six longest active streaks of qualifying for the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament add up to exactly 40 consecutive appearances (Maryland-9, Cornell-8, Virginia-7, Notre Dame-6, Duke-5, North Carolina-5).
First to 900: Johns Hopkins’ 10-6 win at Towson in the 2011 season opener not only got the season off on the right foot for the Blue Jays, but also made history. The win was the 900th all-time in school history, making Johns Hopkins the first program to record 900 all-time wins. JHU now has 918 all-time wins.
That’s 624 Games Over .500: The Blue Jays’ all-time record is now 918-294-15 (.754) … that’s 624 games over .500. To put this in perspective: JHU has played an average of just over 15 games per season under head coach Dave Pietramala. Using a 15-game season as a reference, if the Blue Jays posted a 5-10 record for 125 straight seasons, they would still be four games over .500.
Streaking – Part 1: In case you didn’t notice, Johns Hopkins is 14-1 in its last 15 games, 19-3 since the start of the 2011 season and 21-5 in its last 26 games.
Streaking – Part 2: Johns Hopkins is 107-29 (.787) in its last 136 regular season games dating back to the end of the 2001 season and 124-37 (.770) overall since the start of the 2002 season.
13-Win Seasons: With a 13-3 record last season, Johns Hopkins reached the 13-win mark for the fifth time under head coach Dave Pietramala and the 12th time in school history.
Home Cookin’: Johns Hopkins ran its home winning streak to 10 games with the 11-0 win over Manhattan on March 6. The streak is the second-longest under head coach Dave Pietramala, who picked up his 75th career victory at Homewood Field with the win earlier this season against Delaware and sports a gaudy 77-12 (.865) record in home games during his career at JHU.
JHU won a school and national-record 37 straight home games from 2001-06 under Pietramala’s guidance and the current 10-game home winning streak is the fourth home streak of seven wins or more since he arrived.
More Home Cookin’: In addition boasting the second-longest home winning streak of the Dave Pietramala era, Johns Hopkins’ current 10-game winning streak at Homewood Field is also the third longest active home winning streak in the nation. Only Virginia, which has currently won 14 straight at Klockner Stadium, has a longer current streak in the home whites than Johns Hopkins.
Thirteen Straight: Johns Hopkins ran its regular season winning streak to 13 games with the 12-5 win over UMBC. This is the longest regular season winning streak for JHU since a 19-game run that bridged the 2004 and 2006 seasons. Hopkins’ last loss during the regular season … a 5-4 double-overtime setback at Syracuse last season.
Striking the First Blow: Johns Hopkins scored on its first shot of the game seven times in 2011 and has already turned the trick twice this season. JHU has scored on its first show of the game twice and its second shot of the game three times already this season. Ironically, the only game JHU failed to score on one if its first two shots was against Manhattan. In that game, JHU didn’t score until its fourth shot, but then scored on five of its next seven shots.
Balancing Act: Johns Hopkins has employed virtually the same first and second midfield units throughout the first six games and those units have proven to be virtually identical in terms of production. JHU’s first unit of Rob Guida (6), John Ranagan (5) and John Greeley (4) has combined for 15 goals, while the second unit of Lee Coppersmith (8), Mark Goodrich (5) and Greg Edmonds (1) has 14 goals to its credit.
Attack Oriented: Despite being forced to start five different players in three different combinations, the starting attack units the Blue Jays have trotted out have been effective and efficient. The unit has combined for 32 goals and 23 assists (9.17 points per game) through six games.
On the Flip Side: While the Blue Jay attack is averaging better than nine points per game collectively, the Blue Jay defense has not been nearly as giving. In fact, the starting attack units Johns Hopkins has faced this season have totaled just 13 goals and 11 assists – or one less point than junior Zach Palmer has accumulated himself.
Jumping Right In: Junior John Kaestner had played in 12 career games and hadn’t so much as taken a shot before getting the starting nod at Princeton with freshman Wells Stanwick out. No worries, all Kaestner did is stick the first two goals of his career during a 4-1 fourth-quarter run that fueled JHU’s 10-8 win. He came back with one goal and one assist in the win vs. Manhattan and duplicated that effort in the win over UMBC. Most impressively, he has scored on four of his six shots this season.
Bassett Now 19-3 in Last 22 Starts: Sophomore goalie Pierce Bassett picked up his 22nd career victory in goal with the 12-5 win vs. UMBC as he posted nine saves and allowed a goal to improve to 22-7 in his 29 career starts. He is 19-3 in his last 22 starts dating back to the start of the 2011 season.
Through six games Bassett currently ranks second in the nation in goals against average (5.23) and fifth in save percentage (.615).
Bassett concluded his first full season as the starter for the Blue Jays last season and posted a 7.07 goals against average and a .570 save percentage. He finished fifth in the nation in GAA and 10th in save percentage. His fifth-place finish in GAA is the highest by a JHU goalie since Jesse Schwartzman led the nation in 2005 (6.68), while he is just the third Blue Jay to finish in the top 10 in save percentage since the NCAA began tracking men’s lacrosse statistics in 2000. Bassett’s 7.07 goals against average is the second best by a JHU goalie since 1993 (Schwartman’s 6.68 GAA in 2005 is the best since records became available in ‘93).
Poppleton, Kennedy Fuel Success at the X: Freshman Drew Kennedy did a solid job on faceoffs in the season-opener vs. Towson as he won 9-of-14 in the absence of junior Mike Poppleton. Poppleton returned against Delaware and has been solid in five games since. After winning 10-of-16 vs. Delaware, he won 15-of-18 against Siena, 11-of-21 at Princeton, 10-of-12 vs. Manhattan and 11-of-21 vs. UMBC. He is now 57-of-88 (.648) on the year and ranks seventh in the nation in faceoff winning percentage. As a team, JHU is 67-of-115 (.583) on faceoffs this season and ranks 11th in the nation in FO winning percentage.
Poll Position: The Blue Jays check in at number two in both the USILA Coaches Poll and the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll this week. 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.
More Poll Position: Including this week’s USILA Poll, there have been 388 weekly polls since the inception of the poll in 1973. Amazingly, JHU has been ranked in the top 20 in 386 of those 388 polls. The Blue Jays have been in the top 10 in 365 of the 388 and the top five in 291 of those 388.
State Rivalries: Without question the Blue Jays play one of the most difficult schedules in the nation and a big part of the schedule are the in-state rivalries the Blue Jays have. Including wins this season vs. Towson and UMBC, JHU is 55-4 (.932) against teams from Maryland under head coach Dave Pietramala.
Offensive Notes of Interest: Below are several notes of interest about the JHU offense:
• JHU has scored at least one goal in 23 of 24 quarters this season and two or more in 20 of the 24 quarters.
• For all the talk about JHU being a slow down team, the Blue Jays are averaging 36.8 shots per game. That number compares favorably to JHU’s averages in 2005 (38.1) and 2007 (36.3) – the most recent years in which Johns Hopkins won the national championship.
• Johns Hopkins ranks 22nd in the nation in scoring offense (10.33), 26th in extra-man offense (.389) and sixth in scoring margin (+5.33).
Defensive Notes of Interest: Below are several notes of interest concerning the JHU defense:
• Hopkins held Towson to just 18 shots and Manhattan to just 14. Hopkins is surrending an average of just 23.8 shots per game.
• Johns Hopkins has held each of its six opponents scoreless for a stretch of at least 19:30.
• JHU has held the opposition scoreless in 10 of 24 quarters this season (41.7%).
• The Blue Jays rank second in the nation in scoring defense (5.00), ninth in man-down defense (.765) and sixth in scoring margin (+5.33) this season.
Now That’s a Drought: The Johns Hopkins defense did not allow an even-strength goal for an amazing stretch of 116:37 from late in the win at Princeton through early in the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s win over UMBC. The Retrievers did score a pair of extra-man goals in the first half, but the first six-on-six goal they scored came 34 seconds into the fourth quarter.
About the Shutout: Shutouts in college lacrosse are rare, but JHU notched one with the 11-0 victory over Manhattan. Prior the that, the Blue Jays had last posted a shutout on March 26, 1988, when they knocked off Princeton, 9-0. The shutout vs. Manhattan was the 61st in school history with 57 of those 61 shutouts coming prior to 1950.
Taking Out the Finalists: Johns Hopkins defeated eventual national champion Virginia and eventual national runner-up Maryland during the 2011 regular season.
We’re Honored: Johns Hopkins produced six USILA All-Americans last season, four of which return in 2012. Headlining the group is returning First Team All-American John Ranagan (M), while classmates Tucker Durkin (defense) and Pierce Bassett (G) grabbed second team honors. Senior Chris Boland (A) rounds out JHU’s four returning All-Americans as he grabbed honorable mention honors in 2011.
The four returning All-Americans are the most for JHU since 2008 and the selection of Ranagan, Durkin and Bassett marked the first time Johns Hopkins had three sophomores earn All-America honors since 1989, when Matt Panetta (A/1st Team), Brian Voelker (M/3rd) and Bill Dwan (D/HM) were selected.