Postscript from Johns Hopkins at UMBC
Omitted from today’s article on No. 8 Johns Hopkins’ 14-11 victory over No. 4 UMBC last night because of deadline and space constraints was the impact junior attackman Chris Boland had on the Blue Jays' offense.
The Columbia native and Boys’ Latin graduate earned his first career start last night, and he validated coach Dave Pietramala’s decision by recording a career-best four points on two goals and two assists.
Boland, who filled in for senior and team tri-captain Josh Peck, had previously compiled just one goal and one assist in Johns Hopkins’ first two games.
"It was fun," Boland said of his start. "Josh was well-deserving of being out there. He’s a good leader and captain. I just tried to get into the groove of things and the flow of the game. It happened to work out a little bit."
Boland was declared academically ineligible before last season and was forced to sit out. But Boland has returned in good shape and given the Blue Jays another weapon on offense.
"Chris brings us a great field sense and a presence on the field," Pietramala said. "He sees the play happening before it does. He sees one pass ahead, and that’s a gift. It’s not something you teach. It’s an innate sense, and Chris really brings that to our offense. And when you have a shooter like [sophomore attackman] Kyle [Wharton] and a dodger like [junior attackman] Steven [Boyle], it’s a nice combination when you have three different guys that do three different things."
*The Retrievers won just seven of 26 faceoffs last night, but might have found a faceoff specialist in a guy who already does plenty for them. Junior midfielder Kyle Wimer, the team’s second-leading scorer with 15 points who also plays defense, won six of nine faceoffs. Compare that with the 1-for-17 outing of three teammates who also took faceoffs and you can see why coach Don Zimmerman vowed to have Wimer begin practicing faceoffs as soon as this afternoon’s session. "Kyle’s a scrapper. Technique’s one thing, but scrapping’s another thing," Zimmerman said. "And it was also our wing play. I thought our wing play improved. I thought [junior] J.D. Harkey was holding his own as far as making it a neutral groundball, but we just got out-ground-balled by their wings. That’s something we have to work on. I don’t know that I just want to point to the face-off guy and say, ‘That’s where the responsibility lies.’ Part of that is true, but we have to do a better job with our wings and get in there and scrap. I think that was the story of the game."
*Johns Hopkins sophomore faceoff specialist Matt Dolente won his first two faceoffs last night and even scored the team’s first goal off a faceoff win, but he did not return to the game. Without delving into specifics, Pietramala said the decision to replace Dolente with junior Michael Powers was precautionary. "Matt got banged up, but he’ll be fine," Pietramala said. "Not a season-ending injury or anything like that. It was something that was in the best interest of the student-athlete, to not play him at least for the rest of this game."
*I wasn’t able to stick around for UMBC’s news conference (big thanks to Inside Lacrosse’s Geoff Shannon for monitoring my tape recorder while I was trying to make my 10:20 p.m. deadline on a game that ended at 9:40), but it was pretty easy to sense the frustration building within senior midfielder Alex Hopmann and Zimmerman. Asked about what the Blue Jays did to limit a Retrievers offense that had been averaging 14.67 goals per game, Hopmann, an Annapolis native and graduate, answered: "The thing was, today we didn’t come out and play UMBC lacrosse. We came out and I don’t even know what lacrosse we played. It wasn’t us. We were undisciplined. We weren’t us. That’s the biggest thing. It’s not who we’re playing. I don’t care if we’re playing Hopkins or Vermont. We’ve got to play our ball, and that’s the reason why we lost this game." Zimmerman followed up with a little flare of his own, saying, "I think Alex hit the nail on the head. We were not a disciplined lacrosse team, and that’s unacceptable. If you don’t have discipline, then you can forget about everything else. I thought we lost our composure, and it almost got away from us. The silver lining is, instead of ending the game on a totally embarrassing note, our guys decided to play our game and made it a ballgame. But too little, too late."