Johns Hopkins and Navy: mirror images of each other?
When No. 15 Johns Hopkins and Navy meet at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis on Saturday, it would not be a surprise for players and coaches on both sides to react with a slight double-take.
Both teams enter the game with losing records, dwindling postseason hopes and a sense of desperation.
Both sides have also suffered significant injuries, especially those of the season-ending variety. The Blue Jays lost senior attackman Chris Boland, last year’s leading scorer, to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee and has recently welcomed back junior long-stick midfielder Orry Michael and sophomore midfielder Marshall Burkhardt from a fractured patella and compartment syndrome, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Midshipmen were forced to bid farewell to senior attackman Tim Paul after he tore the ACL in his right knee in the team’s second game of the season. And senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel, the Patriot League’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year has missed four games because of a nagging right hamstring injury.
When asked about the eerie similarities between both teams, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala chuckled.
Meade also noted the similarities, but with a different twist.
"It’s certainly not the way it’s been," he conceded. "That being said, I think it’s going to be the same. The intensity and the commitment from both teams is going to be high. … If you’re a Navy lacrosse player, one of the things you prepare for all year is the opportunity to play against Johns Hopkins. And I would think that if you’re a Johns Hopkins lacrosse player, I think they look forward to playing at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium against Navy. That’s not going to change. They’re a very good lacrosse team. They’re a young team, and they’ve had to deal with injuries and disappointment. Based on the way they came out and played against Maryland last week, they’ve handled that very well. … To me, it’s Johns Hopkins, and at Johns Hopkins, they coach lacrosse, and they coach lacrosse and play lacrosse with unbelievable passion and commitment to upholding their tradition, and so do we."