There doesn't need to be any long build up. It's really that simple - it's Hopkins Week!
We'll get into some of the history of the Maryland-Hopkins series and look at this year's match-up. We'll also take a quick peek back at the Navy game and catch everyone up on the ACC tournament seeding scenarios.
Maryland and Johns Hopkins: A One-Goal History
Dating back to a 7-6 Maryland win in 1940 (sorry I don't have any details on that one), the Terps and Blue Jays have played 18 one-goal games in the 106 games in the series. Overall, Johns Hopkins holds a 10-8 advantage in one-goal games in the series.
Prior to 2004's 14-10 Hopkins win, the previous three games in the series were one-goal affairs -- with the two going to overtime. The two teams returned to the one-goal decisions in 2007 when the Blue Jays won 8-7 in OT in College Park. The last two games between the long-time rivals were both one-goal games with the same 10-9 final. Hopkins took the 2009 meeting, while Maryland won in 2010. Overall, seven of the last 13 have been one-goal games.
The most famous one-goal game in the series was the 1973 NCAA title game that Maryland won, 10-9, in double-overtime to claim the Terps' first NCAA Championship. The Terps capped off an undefeated season thanks in large part to freshman midfielder Frank Urso. The Long Island, N.Y., native bounced a 15-yard shot off of Blue Jay defender Bob Barbera past Hopkins goalie Les Matthews, who was screened on the play, at 1:18 of overtime to give the Terps their first NCAA Championship.
Urso told Sports Illustrated at the time, "I figured if I couldn't see him, then he couldn't see me."
Urso wasn't the only hero for Maryland in overtime. Terp goalie Bill O'Donnell came out of the goal on a missed shot by Hopkins, but Blue Jay attackman Jack Thomas caught up with the ball and flipped it blindly over his shoulder to the crease. Dale Kohler caught the pass and fired a shot at what normally would have been an empty net. But Maryland defender Ed Glatzel stepped into the crease and knocked the potential game-ender away.
Earlier in the season, Maryland decimated Hopkins, handing the Blue Jays a 17-4 defeat, which was the worst of coach Bob Scott's 19-year career. With that loss fresh in their minds, the Blue Jays slowed the tempo down in the national title game. That strategy paid off in the first half as Hopkins took a 5-2 lead into the intermission.
But the Terps stormed out at the beginning of the third quarter, scoring four goals in a three-minute span to take a 6-5 lead, the sixth coming on the first of three goals by Urso. Hopkins rallied with three goals of its own to take an 8-6 lead. Attackman Pat O'Meally cut the lead back to one with an over-the-shoulder shot, but the Blue Jays responded with a goal of their own for a 9-7 advantage.
Goals by Urso and attackman Doug Schreiber, as time wound down, tied the match, sending it to overtime.
Lacrosse's Greatest Rivalry Renews for the 107th Time
I made the argument last year in the Hopkins edition of the blog why Maryland-Johns Hopkins was, is and always will be Lacrosse's Greatest Rivalry. You can click the link and read what I wrote then because I'm not going to rehash that this year.
There's no need to - this is what Maryland-Hopkins is all about.
For the first time since 2004 both teams are ranked among the top five teams in the nation. One could make an argument that the winner of this game could be in line to be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
This is also the first time since 2007 that this game will be played in Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. It will be the only time for Maryland's juniors and seniors to play their archrival on their home field in front of their home crowd.
There are some similarities and some differences in these two teams, so lets take a look at a few of them.
• The biggest difference between the two clubs is experience. The Terps have seven starters that are either seniors or juniors, while eight of the Blue Jays starters are sophomores or freshmen.
But, let's take a closer look at the "inexperience" of the Blue Jay starters. Five of the eight are sophomores who have now taken part in 25 collegiate games and those games include two games at the Face Off Classic, two vs. Syracuse, one vs. Maryland in the 2010 Day of Rivals, two vs. North Carolina (including one in this year's Big City Classic in the New Meadowlands) and an NCAA tournament game vs. eventual national champion Duke. That's a lot of high-level lacrosse, which gives them a lot of experience to draw upon.
Of course I shouldn't forget to mention the fact that those freshmen and sophomores are really, really talented. Seven of the eight were high school All-Americans, including five Under Armour All-Americans. The only one of the eight that wasn't couldn't and that's because Zach Palmer is from Canada and all he's doing is leading the team in assists and is tied for the team lead with 29 points.
And, let's not forget that in the position many would call the most important on the field in a big game like this the Blue Jays actually have an experience advantage. Sophomore Pierce Bassett has played 18 career games in goal for the Blue Jays, including 17 starts. For his career he has a .580 save pct. and a 7.74 goals-against average. Maryland's Niko Amato only has 10 games of experience in cage.
• Both teams boast some of the best young midfielders in the nation in sophomores John Haus (Terps), John Greely and John Ranagan (Hopkins). It might be premature, but that group could be together on an All-America list in the future.
Haus has been the most complete middie this season for the Terps, scoring 10 goals, adding a career-best nine goals and playing acceptable defense.
Ranagan and Greely are among the "new breed" of midfielders with each checking in at 6-foot-3 and weighing in at more than 200 lbs. They will be a handful no matter which Maryland defender draws their number. Combined, Ranagan and Greely have totaled 21 goals and 17 assists so far in 2011.
• The Terps are known for their physical brand of defense and some of that is because Maryland has had some of the most physically imposing close defenders of recent memory. Take a look:
Max Schmidt (2011) - 6-4, 220
Mike Griswold (2009) - 6-4, 230
Joe Cinosky (2008) - 6-3, 225
Ray Megill (2007) - 6-1, 200
Steve Whittenberg (2007) - 6-1, 210
Gavin Webb (2005) - 6-3, 230
Chris Passavia (2004) - 6-1, 210
Lee Zink (2004) - 6-4, 200
Michael Howley (2003) - 6-1, 205
And while the groups of Cinosky, Megill and Whitenberg (2005, 2006 & 2007) and Howley, Passavia and Zink (2002, 2003 & 2004) played together, those groups don't stack up to the "measurables" of Hopkins' 2011 trio of sophomores Tucker Durkin (6-2, 210) and Chris Lightner (6-2, 205) and freshman Jack Reilly (6-3, 215).
I've heard stories of the nightmares Howley, Passavia and Zink caused opposing attackmen and I was here to witness the Cinosky-Megill-Whittenberg years, so I'm not ready to put this year's Hopkins group with those two trios, but from all accounts this Blue Jay close defense is very, very good.
For the record, Howley, Passavia and Zink combined for eight All-America honors and two Schmeisser Memorial Cup winners, while Cinosky, Megill and Whittenberg totaled seven All-America certificates.
• This game will also feature two of the game's top face-off men in Maryland's Curtis Holmes and Hopkins' Matt Dolente.
Dolente is currently No. 1 in the NCAA with a .702 winning pct., while Holmes ranks 11th at .618.
Dolente has taken 77.8% of the Blue Jays' draws this season. Ranagan has taken 27 face-offs with 14 wins for a .591 winning pct. Hopkins' other option is sophomore Mike Poppleton, who has won 62.5% of the 16 face-offs he has taken this season.
Holmes is Maryland's top option and has been the Terps' only option over Maryland's last three games. Against UNC, Virginia and Navy, Holmes has taken every face-off and has won 65% in those three games.
If either team can significantly control face-offs that could be the deciding factor in the game. Of course, face-offs are a team effort and this one could be decided by wing play.
To Annapolis and Back
Maryland travelled to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium last Friday and came out with a 10-4 win.
The margin of victory (the most for a Maryland team vs. Navy since 1994) and Maryland holding the Mids to just four goals (the lowest output by a Navy team vs. the Terps in Annapolis since 1957) were interesting tidbits coming out of the game, but aside from two outstanding goals by senior long pole Brian Farrell this one will be remembered more for what happened before the game.
Prior to face-off the Navy SEALs Foundation honored former Navy lacrosse player Brendan Looney by presenting an American flag to the Looney family. This was especially emotional for Coach Tillman, who coached all three Looney brothers while he was an assistant at Navy and remains close to the family. The embrace between Brendan's mother, Maureen, and Tillman at the end of the ceremony was tangibly heartfelt by everyone in the stadium.
That just added another level of emotion to the week, which thankfully is in the rearview mirror.
If you want to get some insight into some of what was on Tillman's mind going back to play at Navy on the night Looney was to be honored take a look at Maryland journalism student Brendan Ponton's (who also covers the Terps for WMUC, the Maryland student radio station) story.
ACC Tournament Scenarios
Nothing will be official until the Virginia-Duke game is played, but Maryland will end up with either Virginia or North Carolina in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament next Friday in Durham.
There are only two senarios:
If Duke beats Virginia the Terps would be the No. 3 seed and would play North Carolina. Duke would be 3-0 in the conference and the Tar Heels, Terps and Cavaliers would all end up with 1-2 records. The tiebreaker would be goals allowed vs. the other two tied teams. UNC would get the two-seed based on allowing just 17 goals to Maryland and Virginia. Maryland would be the three by allowing 18 goals. Virginia gave up 12 to the Terps and 10 to the Tar Heels.
If Virginia wins, Maryland would be the four-seed and would play the Cavaliers in the semis. Virginia and Duke would both be 2-1 and the Wahoos would get the No. 1 seed based on head-to-head. Carolina and Maryland would both be 1-2 in ACC play and UNC would get the three-seed due to its victory over the Terps on March 26.
Again - this is unofficial until it's announced by the conference following the Duke-UVa. game on Saturday. The ACC will also announce game times for the semis following that result.
Following The Terps
This is a Maryland men's lacrosse blog, so I'm sure that just about everyone reading this knows about the Maryland Men's Lacrosse facebook page (if not, click on the link and "LIKE!" now).
And chances are that if you like the men's lacrosse page you're probably a fan (even if just a casual fan) of other Maryland athletic programs. If that's so then you should also "LIKE!" the new official Maryland Terrapins facebook page. Eventually there will be exclusive offers for Facebook followers and more, so "LIKE!" today!
This "LIKE!" box will make it even easier for you.
The Color Purple
In case you missed it, here's the link (With Mom In Mind) to Jakob Engelke's touching story on Ryan Young and his mother Maria.
By now you probably know that Maria is living with pancreatic cancer and that the Terps have adopted purple (the color for pancreatic cancer) as an honorary team color. Every Terp wears a purple ribbon on the back of their helmet to show their support for Maria, Ryan and their family.
As always, I encourage all Terp fans to support the Lustgarten Foundation, which has as its mission to advance the scientific and medical research related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of pancreatic cancer.
Maria's story is one that has touched everyone involved with the Maryland men's lacrosse program. So far we have had tremendous success spreading the word about the foundation with some help from ESPN, WMAR and CBS Sports Network on the Duke, Towson and Navy broadcasts, respectively.
In case you're wondering here are some facts about pancreatic
cancer from the American Cancer Society:
• More than 43,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer present each year
• There are more than 36,000 deaths from pancreatic cancer each year
• The lifetime risk of having pancreatic cancer is about 1 in 71. • The risk is about the same for both men and women.
That does it for this week's edition of the Maryland Men's Lacrosse Blog. Game notes will be posted on Thursday. Our video (or Multimedia and Video Production) department is finishing up highlights from the Navy game and I'll post those as soon as the video is done.
I cannot stress enough that fans should make every effort to purchase tickets for this week's game vs. Johns Hopkins in advance either on-line or by calling 1-800-462-TERP (8377). More ticket and parking information for Saturday's game will be in the game notes on Thursday.
Until then, as always - Be The Best!