Hopkins tries to stay perfect Saturday with rivalry battle against Syracuse

March 14, 2014 | WNST Staff

Television:  ESPNU

The Game: Johns Hopkins (5-0) returns home and welcomes Syracuse (3-2) to Homewood Field for a nationally-televised game against the Orange.

A Look Back: Johns Hopkins improved to 5-0 on the year with a 15-8 victory at UMBC last Saturday.
Syracuse moved its record to 3-2 on the year with a 14-8 victory against St. John’s. The win over the Red Storm snapped a two-game losing streak for the Orange.

Series History: Johns Hopkins and Syracuse are meeting for the 52nd time in a series that dates to a meeting in 1921 that ended in a 4-4 tie. Johns Hopkins leads the all-time series 27-23-1, although Syracuse has won six of the last seven meetings.

These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week’s game against Syracuse with an all-time record of 938-303-15 (.753). 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 second in this week’s USILA Coaches Poll and third in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Syracuse enters this week’s game at Johns Hopkins ranked 10th in the coaches poll and 10th in the media poll.

Closing on Mr. Scott: Dave Pietramala picked up his 152nd victory as the head coach at Johns Hopkins with last week’s 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 last week’s 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 152-50 (.752) 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 175-67 (.723). Pietramala’s 175 wins rank 10th among active Division I coaches.

About 5-0: Johns Hopkins is 5-0 for the second time in three years and the fourth time under head coach Dave Pietramala. The Blue Jays previously started 5-0 under Pietramala in 2004, 2005 and 2012. The 2004 team dropped its sixth game (9-8 in overtime at Virginia), while the 2005 and 2012 teams both won their sixth games. The 2005 team went on to finish 16-0, while the 2012 team eventually moved to 8-0 before suffering its first loss.

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 Syracuse averaging 13.8 goals per game and the Blue Jays have scored 14 or more goals in each of their last four games. JHU ranks eighth in the nation in scoring offense and has scored 14 or more goals in four straight games for the first time since 2003, when the Blue Jays scored 14+ in seven straight games late in the season. Ironically, a key member of that 2003 offense was current offensive coordinator Bobby Benson, who led the team in goals with 41 that season.

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 21-10 scoring advantage in the first quarter and a 22-11 scoring margin in the third quarter. In the second and fourth quarters, JHU is a combined +7 in scoring margin (25-18).

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 tied for eighth in the nation in scoring defense and has held all five of its opponents to nine goals or less. Eric Schneider continues to impress in goal as he sports a 7.33 goals against average and a .622 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 five 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 Drew Kennedy has gotten off to a quick start at the X for the Blue Jays as he is 72-of-111 (.649) through five games and also has a team-high 49 ground balls thus far. He ranks fourth in the nation in faceoff winning percentage and tied for first in ground balls per game (9.8) after winning 18-of-26 faceoffs with 12 ground balls in last week’s win against UMBC.
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 second in this week’s USILA Preseason 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.