February 21, 2011

Hopkins Looks to Stay Perfect vs. Delaware

from press release

Ninth-ranked Johns Hopkins (1-0) hits the road for the second straight game to open the season as the Blue Jays make the short trip up Route 95 to take on 16th-ranked Delaware (3-0). This will be Delaware's fourth straight home game to start the season.

Last Time Out: Johns Hopkins won its season opener for the ninth time in 11 tries under head coach Dave Pietramala as the Blue Jays knocked off Towson, 10-6, on Saturday. Delaware made it three straight in the win column to open the season as the Blue Hens edged Marist, 8-7.

Series History: Johns Hopkins and Delaware are meeting for the eighth time in a series that dates to a 19-6 Johns Hopkins win in 1980. Johns Hopkins has won all seven previous meetings between the two teams. This will be the third time the teams have played at Delaware - JHU won 18-9 at UD in 1981 and 15-10 at UD in 1983. Four meetings have taken place at Homewood Field and the teams also met in the 2007 NCAA Semifinals at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.

At Delaware Stadium: In addition to the two wins against the Blue Hens at Delaware in 1981 and 1983, the Blue Jays also won the 1984 NCAA Championship at Delaware Stadium with a 13-10 win against Syracuse. JHU dropped its last game at Delaware Stadium, 10-9 in overtime, to North Carolina in the 1986 NCAA Semifinals. Current JHU head coach Dave Pietramala was a freshman on that 1986 Johns Hopkins team. Larry Quinn, who has been a member of the radio broadcast team at Johns Hopkins for more than 15 years and will be on the call for this week's JHU-Delaware game, was the starting goalie for Johns Hopkins in that 1984 NCAA Championship game. That was the first of two straight NCAA titles JHU won with Quinn in goal.

These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week's game against Delaware with an all-time record of 900-291-15 (.752). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.

First to 900: Johns Hopkins' 10-6 win at Towson last Saturday not only got the 2011 season off on the right foot for the Blue Jays, but also made history. The win was the 900th all-time in school history, making Johns Hopkins the first program to record 900 all-time wins. Syracuse ranks second all-time with 807 all-time victories to its credit.

That's 609 Games Over .500: The Blue Jays' all-time record is now 900-291-15 (.752) ... that's 609 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 nine games over .500.

Check the Calendar: This week's game against Delaware will be JHU's second this season in the month of February, but just the 12th all-time for the Blue Jays in February. Including the win at Towson the Blue Jays are 8-3 all-time in games played in the month of February.

For Openers: 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 90-27 in its last 117 regular season games dating back to the end of the 2001 season and 106-34 overall since the start of the 2002 season.

Poll Position: The Blue Jays check in at number nine in both the USILA Coaches Poll and the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll this week. 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.

More Poll Position: Including this week's USILA Poll, there have been 372 weekly polls since the inception of the poll in 1973. Amazingly, JHU has been ranked in the top 20 in 370 of those 372 polls. The Blue Jays have been in the top 10 in 351 of the 372.

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. Including the season-opening win at Towson, JHU is 49-4 (.925) 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. How much younger? The entire 47-man roster for Johns Hopkins this season had a combined total of just 91 career starts to its credit entering the season.

Wharton Records 10th Career Hat Trick: Senior attackman Kyle Wharton didn't take long - 25 seconds to be exact - to get his 2011 season off and rolling. Wharton netted the first of his three goals against Towson on JHU's first shot of the season to jump-start the Blue Jays. The hat trick is the 10th of Wharton's career and improves his career totals to 65 goals and 20 assists for 85 points.

O Canada: Sophomore attackman Zach Palmer and freshman attackman Brandon Benn, who both hail from north of the border, provided a little Canadian flair in the 2011 season opener for the Blue Jays. Palmer scored two goals and added a career-high three assists to tie his personal best with five points, while Benn added one goal and one assist in his first collegiate game. The pair hooked up twice for goals as Benn assisted on Palmer's extra-man goal midway through the third quarter, while Palmer got the helper on Benn's first career goal with just under five minutes remaining in regulation.

Boland Returns: The sight of senior attackman Chris Boland on attack was certainly welcome by the Blue Jay faithful last Saturday at Towson. Boland didn't disappoint in his return to the lineup as he scored twice and added an assist in the victory. Boland missed virtually the entire 2010 season with an injury after leading the team in scoring with 28 goals and 18 assists for 46 points in 2009.

Defense Fares Well in Debut: Despite counting three sophomores and one freshman among its starting goalie and close defense, the Johns Hopkins defense fared well in the 2011 season opener. The Blue Jays held Towson to just six goals on 29 shots and sophomore goalie Pierce Bassett posted nine saves in the win. In addition, after the Tigers struck for four goals in the first 19 minutes of the game, the JHU defense clamed down and held them scoreless for a span of 35:22. Last season, JHU held the opposition scoreless for a stretch of 10 minutes or longer a total of 23 times.
Joining Bassett as the anchors of the JHU defense were sophomores Tucker Durkin and Chris Lightner and freshman Jack Reilly, who all got the nod as starters on close defense.

Ground Balls Tell the Story: Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala was vocal in his thoughts that the Blue Jays needed to be better with the ball on the ground this season after struggling on ground balls a year ago. If the first game of the season is any indication, consider the message delivered. Johns Hopkins dominated the ground ball war against Towson with a commanding 36-23 advantage. Only once last season - in the season opener against Manhattan - were the Blue Jays +13 or better on ground balls. Five different players had at least three ground balls in the win at Towson.

That's Odd: Dating back to last season, Johns Hopkins has allowed exactly six goals in three straight regular season games. Taking it a step farther, the Blue Jays have never allowed more than nine goals in a season opener under head coach Dave Pietramala and have allowed just 17 goals in their last four openers.

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