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2017 Men's Lacrosse Preview - Defense & Goalies

Feb. 3, 2017


2017 Johns Hopkins Roster | 2017 Johns Hopkins Schedule

BALTIMORE, MD - In the first of a three-part series breaking down the 2017 Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team, HopkinsSports.com take a look at the Blue Jay defense, including the goalies.

The Leader:  The unquestioned leader of the Blue Jay defense is senior Nick Fields, who returns for his final season having played in 48 games with 34 starts in his career. The 2016 Honorable Mention All-American and two-time Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection is one of the most athletic Blue Jay defenders in recent history and will continue drawing the assignment of covering the opposition's top threat on attack. He has 59 career ground balls and 24 caused turnovers to his credit and is adept at jump-starting the transition game. With two first-year starters joining him on close defense this season, he will be tasked with taking on an even greater role in the Blue Jays' defensive scheme.

First-Time Starters: Freshman Jack Rapine will hold down one of the other starting spots alongside Fields as he quickly emerged in the fall as a future leader of the group. The number three ranked incoming freshman defenseman by Inside Lacrosse, Rapine has good size, is strong with the ball on the ground and has demonstrated the poise necessary to excel early in his career.

The third starting spot will likely be filled by either senior Trevor Koelsch or freshman Owen Colwell. Koelsch is the latest in a line of Blue Jay defenders who has emerged late in his career to grab a prominent role (Eddie Schurr, Matt O'Keefe), while Colwell has good size and simply needs experience to develop as a top-flight defender.


 

 

Rope Unit Runs Deep: There is no shortage of depth on the Blue Jay rope unit, which could go six deep on a regular basis after a thin group was taxed heavily last season. The unit is athletic and talented and should give the Blue Jays an advantage between the boxes.

The long-stick midfield position will be shared by senior Austin Spencer and sophomore Robert Kuhn, who may rank among the top tandems in the nation at the position. Spencer was pressed into a role on close defense last season, but returns to his more natural spot up top. He grabbed 28 ground balls and had seven caused turnovers last season, but those numbers should increase this season at LSM and as a key member of the Blue Jay faceoff unit.

Kuhn made the switch the LSM prior to last season and was forced to learn on the fly as the Blue Jays' number one player at the position. Despite a lack of experience here, he proved to be a threat in transition (1g, 2a) and added 26 ground balls and eight caused turnovers; sharing the position with Spencer should allow both to stay fresh and be more productive.

No less five players could see time in the regular rotation as short-stick defensive middies with junior Tal Bruno, senior Joe Carlini and sophomore Danny Jones likely to handle the top three spots.

Bruno emerged last season as one of the top young players in the nation at the position and the deeper rotation should only benefit his ability to get out in transition. A solid one-on-one defender, Bruno had two goals, one assist, 20 ground balls and four caused turnovers last season.

Carlini is among the most experienced players on the team as he's played in 49 games in his career (just 15 shy of the JHU career record). Carlini has a strong understanding of the Blue Jay defense and is active in transition (9 career assists).

Jones played in just one game last season, but returned in the fall ready for an increased role and appears poised for a breakout season. He has the athleticism to defend one-on-one, assist in the clearing game and get out in transition; his ability to take a key spot in the rotation will make this unit a team strength.

Junior Chris Hubler and sophomore Lane Odom also figure into the team's plans here. Head coach Dave Pietramala has made it clear that he would like to go four-deep in this spot with Hubler and Odom battling for that fourth position as the regular season draws closer.

Two-Man Battle in Goal: Junior Brock Turnbaugh and graduate transfer Gerald Logan have taken their battle for the starting spot in goal down to the final week before the season opener. Either could emerge and both bring different strengths to the Blue Jay defense.

Turnbaugh started all 15 games for Johns Hopkins last season and posted an 11.51 goals against average and a .471 save percentage in his first year as the starter. Under the guidance of second-year volunteer assistant and former Blue Jay All-American Larry Quinn, Turnbaugh has worked hard in the offseason and the year of experience should only benefit him.

Logan played three seasons at Michigan and is a proven shot-stopper and an asset out of the cage. He was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection in 2015 and totaled more than 500 saves in his three seasons as the starter.

The competition between Turnbaugh and Logan has benefitted both in the race for the starting nod and having both on the roster gives the Blue Jays two players with extensive experience at the position.

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