March 19, 2010

'Cuse, Hopkins Set for Prime Time Clash

from press release

- The two most storied programs in college lacrosse renew their annual rivalry on Saturday, March 20 when No. 2 Syracuse (3-1) visits No. 7 Johns Hopkins (4-2) for an 8 p.m. showdown at Homewood Field. The contest is the first scheduled night game at Homewood between these two lacrosse giants, who have met at least once in 28 straight seasons dating back to 1983.

The Orange bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 15-12 home win against No. 11 Georgetown on March 13. The Blue Jays carry a two-game losing streak into the match. After starting 4-0, Johns Hopkins has lost to Princeton in overtime (11-10) and Hofstra (14-6).

The game will be televised live nationally on ESPNU. Fans can also hear the action live on the radio home of the Orange - TK 99 (99.5 FM). Live streaming video and audio are available on as part of Orange All-Access.

Syracuse and Johns Hopkins have combined to win more than half (20) of the 39 NCAA Championships since men's lacrosse became an NCAA-sponsored sport in 1971. The Orange has an NCAA-record 11 titles. Johns Hopkins has nine.

The Orange and Blue Jays are the two winningest programs in Division I lacrosse and boast a combined record of 1,692-594-31 (.737). Johns Hopkins is the only program that currently has more than 800 all-time victories and enters Saturday's game with 896 wins since it began playing the sport in 1883. Syracuse is second on that list with 796 all-time wins dating back to 1916.

Saturday's affair is believed to be the first scheduled night game the Orange has ever played in the state of Maryland. Based on available records, the latest previous start time for a game featuring Syracuse played in the Old Line State was 4 p.m. when the Orange squared off against Maryland at Byrd Stadium in the 1979 NCAA Tournament. The contest was the first NCAA Tournament game in Syracuse history and was won by the Terps, 16-13. Syracuse head coach John Desko, assistant coach Kevin Donahue and director of operations Roy Simmons III all took part in the contest.

Saturday's game represents a clash of two of the top active coaches in the game. Desko is the active leader in winning percentage at .761. He has five national championships and a 137-43 overall record. Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala is sixth in active winning percentage (.731). He has a pair of national championships to his credit and is 133-49 overall. Pietramala owns a slight 8-7 advantage in head-to-head meetings with Desko, which includes two matchups when Pietramala was the head coach at Cornell.

Both men are coaching their alma maters. Desko played for the Orange from 1976-79 and Pietramala was a star defenseman for the Blue Jays from 1986-89.

Syracuse leads the BIG EAST Conference and ranks eighth nationally in scoring offense. The Orange is averaging 13.0 goals per game and has reached double digits in every game this year, tying its season-best with 15 goals in its conference opener against Georgetown on March 13.

Senior Chris Daniello (Cross River, N.Y.) has 13 points in Syracuse's last three games (4.3 ppg). In addition to recording two goals and three assists at Virginia, he scored a career-high four goals against Army on Feb. 28 and totaled two goals and two assists versus Georgetown on March 13. Alternating between attack and midfield, Daniello is second in the BIG EAST in points per game (3.75). He is the team's season leader in points (15), assists (6) and he's second on the squad with nine goals.

Junior longstick midfielder Joel White (Cortland, N.Y.) is tied with Jovan Miller (Syracuse, N.Y.) for the team lead in ground balls (19). White has also forced a team-best six turnovers this season. He got in the scoring column for the first time this year with an assist in the Orange's 15-12 win against Georgetown.

The Blue Jays began the season with four straight wins, but have lost to Princeton and Hofstra in their last two outings. Hopkins faces a brutal upcoming schedule that will see them take on the top three teams in the nation over the next three weeks beginning with Syracuse on Saturday. The good news for the Blue Jays is that two of the three contests (vs. Syracuse and vs. North Carolina on April 3) are at Homewood Field where they are unbeaten in 2010.

The Blue Jays don't take a lot of shots, but they are accurate. Hopkins is averaging 11.5 goals per game, while taking just 29.8 shots per contest. For the season, the Blue Jays are converting on 38.5 percent (69-179) of their attempts. They've also made their opponents pay for taking penalties, scoring on 12-of-22 (.545) man-up opportunities.

Senior attackman Steven Boyle leads the team in goals (19) and assists (10). He is flanked by junior Kyle Wharton (9g, 7a) and senior Tom Duerr (5g) up front. Duerr is playing in place of Chris Boland, who is out with an injury. Senior Michael Kimmel is one of the best offensive midfielders in the country. He has 11 goals and nine assists on the season. Kimmel has a point in each of the last 28 games.

Seniors Matt Drenan, Sam DeVore and freshman Tucker Durkin have started all six games at close defense. Senior goaltender Mike Gvozden has started all six games in the cage, but exited the Hofstra game after allowing three goals in less than nine minutes. He was replaced by Steven Burke, who played the remainder of the contest. Gvozden has 48 saves and a 7.7 goals-against average. Burke has totaled just under 65 minutes played in two appearances. He has 11 saves and a 12.94 goals-against average.

The Blue Jays own a 26-20-1 advantage in the all-time series. Hopkins dominated the rivalry's early years, winning 12 of the first 15 meetings. The Orange has been victorious in four of the last five matchups and its current three-game series winning streak is tied for its longest against the Blue Jays. SU has traditionally struggled at Homewood Field where the Blue Jays are 14-5 against the Orange.

Hopkins is Syracuse's most familiar postseason foe with the Orange holding an 8-4 advantage in NCAA contests between the two teams. Five of those have come with the championship on the line (1983, 1984, 1985, 1989, 2008). SU is 3-2 against the Blue Jays in title tilts, defeating Hopkins to win NCAA Championships in 1983, 1989 and 2008.

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