Johns Hopkins-Towson Men's Lacrosse Notes
Feb. 17, 2011
The Game: Johns Hopkins opens its 124th season with a trip up Charles Street to take on Towson. The Blue Jays return five starters from last season's team that posted a 7-8 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 39th consecutive season. Towson also posted a 7-8 record last season and narrowly missed out on a trip to the NCAAs as the Tigers fell to Delaware in the CAA title game.
Series History: Johns Hopkins and Towson are meeting for the 39th time in a series that dates to a 15-8 Johns Hopkins victory in 1975. Johns Hopkins is 35-3 all-time against the Tigers and the Blue Jays have currently won 15 straight games their Charles Street rivals. This is the second time JHU has opened a season against the Tigers as the Blue Jays scored a 16-8 win at Towson in the 1979 season opener. JHU parlayed that win into a perfect 13-0 record en route to winning the second of its three straight NCAA titles from 1978-80.
Brotherly Love: Johns Hopkins fresman midfielder Eric Ruhl will make his collegiate debut on Saturday. Ruhl is listed on JHU's second midfield and should see extensive playing time. In addition to it being his first game as a Blue Jay, he will also have to deal with playing against his older brother, Scott, who is a junior midfielder for the Tigers.
Program Ties: Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala served as the defensive coordinator at JHU from 1995-97, when the Blue Jays were coached by current Towson head coach Tony Seaman. Seaman coached current JHU associate head coach Bill Dwan during Dwan's senior year at JHU (1991). Pietramala and Dwan arrived to lead the JHU program in 2001. Current Towson associate head coach/defensive coordinator Shawn Nadelen was a senior co-captain on Pietrmala's first team at JHU. Dave Allan, currently a volunteer assistant at Towson, served in the same capacity at JHU from 2005-10.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters the 2011 season with an all-time record of 899-291-15 (.752). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.
The Race to 900: With its next win, Johns Hopkins will become the first men's lacrosse program in the nation to reach the 900-win mark. Syracuse, with 806 all-time wins, is the only other team with more than 800 all-time victories.
That's 608 Games Over .500: The Blue Jays' all-time record is now 899-291-15 (.752) ... that's 608 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 120 straight seasons, they would still be eight games over .500.
Check the Calendar: This year's season-opener against Towson will match the earliest game played in the history of the Blue Jay lacrosse program. Johns Hopkins opened the 2010 season against Manhattan on February 19.
In February: Johns Hopkins has played just 10 all-time games in the month of February and the Blue Jays are 7-3 in those 10 games. Three of JHUs 10 all-time February games were played last season - JHU won all three (Manhattan, Delaware, Siena).
For Openers: Johns Hopkins is 8-2 under head coach Dave Pietramala in season-openers and close calls have been the norm as six of the 10 games have been decided by three goals or less. This is the fourth time JHU has opened the season on the road under Pietramala. The Blue Jays are 2-1 under Pietramala when opening on the road.
Another Opener: Johns Hopkins will open the 2011 season with back-to-back road games at Towson and at Delaware. Since the inception of the NCAA Tournament in 1971, JHU has opened a season with consecutive road games just twice before (1979, 1987). In each of those two years, the Blue Jays won the national championship.
Streaking: Johns Hopkins is 89-27 in its last 116 regular season games dating back to the end of the 2001 season and 105-34 overall since the start of the 2002 season.
Poll Position: The Blue Jays check in at number 11 in both the USILA Preseason Coaches Poll and the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Preseason Media Poll. The Johns Hopkins Sports Information 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.
Strength of Schedule: Johns Hopkins will once again face perhaps the most challenging schedule in the nation. Using the USILA Preseason Rankings as a reference, JHU will play each of the top four teams in the nation, five teams ranked in the top 10 and eight teams ranked in the top 17.
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. JHU is 48-4 (.923) against teams from Maryland under head coach Dave Pietramala. JHU had won 23 straight games against teams from Maryland until the loss to Maryland last season.
Youth Shall Be Served: It's no secret that Johns Hopkins lost five players (Steven Boyle (A), Michael Kimmel (M), Matt Drenan (D), Sam DeVore (D), Michael Gvozden (G)) who were mainstays in the JHU lineup over the last four years. The group helped the Blue Jays to a national championship in 2007 and a runner-up finish in 2008. Collectively they combined for 238 starts during their career. Fast forward to 2011 and makeup of the Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team is much different, and much younger. Consider:
Head coach Dave Pietramala counts 47 players on his 2011 team. While the five players listed above accumulated 238 combined starts among them, the entire 2011 team counts a combined total of 91 career starts to its credit.
Sophomore Sensations: While it will take the entire 47-man team to get the Blue Jays where they want to go this season, it doesn't take long to realize that much of JHU's success this season will be traced to the performance of the sophomore class, which gained valuable experience a year ago. Six members of this class are listed as starters (see depth chart on page 2) and several others (Lee Coppersmith-M, Mike Poppleton-FO, Chase Winter-M) could also play prominent roles this season.
Boland and Goodrich Return: Despite the much talked about youth on the 2011 JHU men's lacrosse team, the Blue Jays do have the benefit of returning two players who lost virtually the entire 2010 seaso to injury in senior attackman Chris Boland and senior midfielder Mark Goodrich. Boland led the team in scoring in 2009 with 28 goals and 18 assists, while Goodrich had earned a spot on the first midfield before suffering his season-ending injury just prior to the start of the 2010 season.
Wharton Among Nation's Top Shooters: Senior attackman Kyle Wharton is JHU's leading returning scorer s he punched up 24 goals and nine assists last season and has 62 goals and 20 assists to his credit overall. He made national headlines last season against Towson when he rifled a shot home that blew a large hole in the net on national television. Wharton did not play in either of JHU's preseason scrimmages and his status for Saturday's game is uncertain.
Bassett Back in Goal: Sophomore Pierce Bassett started the final seven games of the 2010 season and posted a 9.90 goals against average and a .536 save percentage. He punched up a career-high 20 saves in JHUs 9-6 win at Loyola in the regular season finale that helped secure JHU's 39th straight bid to the NCAA Tournament. He became just the fifth true freshman to start a game in goal for the Blue Jays since freshmen became eligible in 1972 (Kevin Mahon-1974, Quint Kessenich-1987, Jonathan Marcus-1993, Jesse Schwartzman-2004).
Dolente Cracks Top 10, Leads Faceoff Contenders: Senior faceoff specialist Matt Dolente enters his final season ranked eighth in school history in career faceoff attempts (514) and needs just 52 faceoff wins to became the eighth player in school history to win 300 career faceoffs.
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