It's been this way for the past 35 years and for at least one more this is the week that the annual four-week stretch of Carolina-Virginia-Navy-Hopkins begins. This week's Blog takes a closer look at "The Stretch" and a look at this week's opponent - UNC. There's also a quick look at Terps who have scored at least 50% of the team's goals in a victory with regards to Jay Carlson's five-goal outing at Villanova.
The reason the string of games of Carolina-Virginia-Navy-Hopkins gets some special recognition is two-fold: the length of the series and the fact that all four are historical rivals.
First, lets take a look at how long "The Stretch" has been going on. This year is the 36th straight year that Maryland will play these same four opponents from the end of March to mid-April. That's a long time; a really long time - dating back to 1978.
There is no disputing that these four teams are four of Maryland's biggest rivals. Here are the opponents Maryland had played the most in its 88-year history (including 2013 for Duke):
- 100, Johns Hopkins
- 86, Navy
- 86, Virginia
- 79, Duke
- 62, North Carolina
Collectively, Maryland has played 334 games against its next four opponents, which is 33.5% of its total number of games played in its history.
Here are some facts about "The Stretch":
- In the 35-year span only four times has the stretch been interrupted with another game added in between one of these traditional four (1981, 1997, 2001, 2003).
- Overall, Maryland is 64-76 (.457) since 1978 vs. those four teams during "The Stretch".
- The Terps have swept the four games only once - in 1987.
- Only twice (1981 & 1988) has Maryland lost all four games.
- Six times (1978, 1979, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001) the Terps have won three of the four games. Johns Hopkins broke up the Terps' bid for a perfect stretch four times, while Carolina and Virginia broke it up one time each.
- Maryland has defeated Navy 24 times during "The Stretch," more than any other opponent. UNC is next with the Terps winning 22 times. However, Maryland has not started "The Stretch" with a win over Carolina since 2009 and have not beaten UNC at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium since 2007. Here's hoping those streaks can be snapped on Saturday.
Carolina as alternated wins and losses throughout this season, starting with a 16-8 home win over Air Force and most recently a 13-5 win over Dartmouth yesterday in Chapel Hill for a 4-3 record.
The Tar Heels have played four one-goal games already this season and are 2-2 in those tight games with wins over Fairfield and Princeton and losses to UMass and Notre Dame (in 3OT).
The Tar Heels' attack of senior Marcus Holman and sophomores Joey Sankey and Jimmy Bitter have each totaled double-digit goals this year and Holman and Bitter also have double-digit assists (and Sankey is sitting on nine assists). As a group that trio is shooting .324 on the season and are putting 63.4% of its shots on goal.
UNC has one of the best faceoff men in the country in All-American R.G. Keenan. In the Tar Heels' four wins he has won 56-of-92 (.609), but in three defeats Keenan is 26-of-58 (.448). Keenan has taken 150 of UNC's 180 draws (.835) and has taken 811 in his two-plus-year career at North Carolina.
50 Percent Or More
His five-goal outing at Villanova (click here for the game recap) isn't the first time Jay Carlson put up a bunch of goals in a game (four goals vs. Marist last season). And it's not even the first time this season we've seen a Terp score five goals in a game (Owen Blye put up five at Hartford earlier this year). So what is it about Carlson's performance that makes it stand out?
Well, check this out ... Carlson scored five of the Terps' 10 goals in a 10-7 win. The last time a Maryland played scored at least half of the team's goals in a victory in which the Terps scored at least 10 goals was on April 15, 2006 when Joe Walters scored six in Maryland's 11-4 win at Johns Hopkins.
Two other times in that 2006 season a Terp scored more than 50% of the team's goals, but neither of those saw the team get to double-digits. Walters had five goals in a 9-6 win at North Carolina and Xander Ritz scored five in the 8-7 overtime win at Duke.
Here's a look at Terps who have scored 50% or more of the team's goals (min. 5 goals) in wins since 1998:
- Jay Carlson, 5 goals in 10-7 win at Villanova (3/16/13)
- Joe Walters, 6 goals in 11-4 win at Johns Hopkins (4/15/06)
- Joe Walters, 5 goals in 9-6 win at North Carolina (3/25/06)
- Xander Ritz, 5 goals in 8-7 OT win at Duke (3/4/06)
- Joe Walters, 6 goals in 12-11 win vs. Virginia in ACC finals (4/25/04)
- Buggs Combs, 6 goals in 10-4 win at Delaware (3/17/01)
- Scott Hochstadt, 6 goals in 9-4 win at Yale (5/1/99)
- Scott Hochstadt, 7 goals in 14-11 win at Virginia in ACC finals (4/19/98)
Here are a couple others earlier than 1998, which includes a minimum of six goals scored (which is the minimum for the single-game records):
- Rob Wurzburger, 6 goals in 12-7 win at Towson (3/26/88)
- Dick Corrigan, 9 goals in 17-10 win over Navy (4/26/58)
That's it for this week. We all know that weather forecasting is iffy at best, but according to the Weather Channel (48 degrees, partly cloudy) Saturday looks like a terrific day to come to College Park and watch some lacrosse. The game is a noon start, so plan on coming out early and perhaps making it a breakfast tailgate.
Fans should be aware that Maryland is a host for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, which begins on Saturday at 11:15 a.m.
Saturday's game vs. UNC will be streamed on ESPN3.com, so if you can't get here you'll be able to fire up your computer and watch it live.
As always - Be The Best!