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Postscript from Johns Hopkins at Duke

Johns Hopkins’ regular-season finish with two victories earned the school its 39th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but it couldn’t mask the team’s deficiences against a top-tier opponent.

The Blue Jays got pounded by No. 5 seed Duke, 18-5, in the first round on Saturday, absorbing the program’s worst loss in the postseason. And Johns Hopkins’ weaknesses were on full display as the Blue Devils won almost every major statistical category.

"The things that we struggled with throughout the year came back to haunt us, and when you get to the playoffs, you’re playing against very good teams no matter what seed you have or they have," coach Dave Pietramala said. "When you get to this point in the season, teams are capable of exploiting your weaknesses, and the things that we struggled with were exploited in that game. We struggled between the boxes this year. We had difficulty off the ground, off face-offs, off the wings, and all three of those places were detrimental to us in that game."

Pietramala said the team had pointed to five areas for success against Duke: winning face-offs, collecting groundballs, limiting attackmen Ned Crotty, Max Quinzani and Zach Howell, preventing transition, and clearing the ball.

The Blue Devils won 18-of-27 face-offs, scooped up 20 more groundballs, scored goals off transition, and got a combined eight goals and eight assists from Crotty (2, 6), Quinzani (4, 1) and Howell (2, 1). The only area that Johns Hopkins thrived in was clears, where the team succeeded on 19-of-20 attempts.

Pietramala said the re-emegence of the Blue Jays’ flaws was disheartening.

"The outcome is a result of the play, so I’m disappointed by our play," he said. "Early on, I felt like we were hanging around, and I felt like that’s what we needed to do against this team. It was 6-3, and then bang, bang, we gave up two to make 8-4 at the end of the [second] quarter, and then it’s 9-4, 10-4 at the start of the third quarter. I’m disappointed that we kind of reverted back to many of the mistakes that we made throughout the year rather than what we did in the last two games."

Other notes:

*Freshman goalkeeper Pierce Bassett started the final seven games for Johns Hopkins, compiling a .536 save percentage and a 9.90 goals-against average. With sophomores Steven Burke and Guy Van Syckle and incoming Under Armour All-American Eric Schneider in the fold, Pietramala said the starting job is Bassett’s to lose. "The best guy is always going to play, but Pierce has earned himself a starting position there," Pietramala said. "I’ll be honest with you, I think the young man did a very good job. I don’t think we helped him a whole heck of a lot on Saturday, and I would not fault him one bit. We’re very confident in him, Steven Burke and Guy Van Syckle. We think we have three talented goalies and a young one coming in [Schneider], and in the end, you go into it where here’s the guy at the position and he works to keep it or someone works to take it. I don’t think we need to go in say, ‘Open competition.’ Open competition says he didn’t do a good job. He did a good job, but we’re always looking to improve ourselves in an area. So if someone comes back and proves he is the better person for the job – whether that’s at attack, midfield or defense – then that’s what we’ll do."

*2010 will likely be remembered as the worst in program history. The eight losses are a school-record high, and the 7-8 record is the first sub-.500 finish since the 1971 squad went 3-7. Pietramala acknowledged that frustration among the players and coaches boiled over. "We were all frustrated at times, and it came out in our play," he said. "For us, it’s not a matter of showing our frustration. Now it’s a matter of figuring out why it happened and what we’re going to do to fix it. And you mark my words, we’re going to fix it."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:05 PM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript


One of the best ground ball teams in the nation (Duke) vs one of the worst (Hop) is a recipe for defeat. Add to it an off day by the goalie and that is a recipe for a blowout.

What is it with the Hop? Are they losing the recruiting war? Does Petro scare players to death, so that they lock up? Is there any creativity on offense? Are they just slow? I cannot but think these are all related, linked questions. But I am guessing the Hop will rebound strongly from this down year.

Let's get Duke, Army, &/or Cornell back on the schedule & drop some of the cupcakes. Win or have a losing season, against the best.

How about the horrid outdated offense they run, as well as the pathetic and laborious and time consumimg transition from defense to offense? Ever notice how syracuse defensive middies run down field and attack the goal or at least, make a play to attack the goal OR at least run off the field in obvious settled transitions? Hopkins defensive middies robotically run down field--not even holding their sticks in a position to attack the goal or take a shot--watch the replays--I actually saw one of the defensemen running with the stick on his shoulder! Just run off the field and put on a middie. No--instead, they run to the crease, feckless, and then another 3 minutes goes on for them now to run from the crease and substitute offensive players, who can't catch, ball goes out of bounds, and then it's substitute again. Boring!!!! Gee, why don't we at least run the "wheel offense" that the champiionship teams of 78 79 80 ran if we're going to run outdated offense--at least they won!! How about a 2-2-2 offense that Ciccarone used to use--maybe the defenses wouldn't use a zone then. Here's an idea--how about we get faster players? The players are starting to look like Zim's disaster 90s teams.

Once again the Sun goes way too easy on Petro and JHU program for a profoundly embarrassing 2010 season. The gap between the elite (UVA-Cuse-Duke-UNC) and Hop is larger than it's ever been and I'm not optimistic about the future. It was shocking to watch the athleticism and skill of Duke's kids compared to ours and it may take Petro years to recover from consecutive poor recruiting classes. Optimists can talk about these promising freshmen all they want, but I don't see any of them (with the possible exception of Durkin and Lightner) as stars. Has there ever been an more overhyped frosh than Greeley?

Stop calling this a 'down year' - Hopkins has lost more games in the past 4 years than in any other 4-year period in their 100+ year history.

Last years 11 goal loss was the worst tournament loss in their history. Petro vowed to fix it and then brought back his staff in tact for 2010; limped to a 7-7 record; and lost in the first round of the tournament by a new record 13 goals. How does he 'fix it' for next year?

Listening to the broadcast of Quinn / Miller on the radio, even early in the year
it was noted that leadership would be a concern. The intangible "x" was missing from the Blue Jays this year, Much talent and potential but certainly, a unit never developed in midfield or defence, perhaps slightly and inconsistently on offence. On a young team, this could evolve with time.

During the weather delay before the start of the Carolina-Delaware game, ESPNU studio host Lowell Galindo asked Quint Kessenich what was wrong with Hopkins. Did anyone see that revealing exchange? Quint pointed to a number of areas that he thinks Pietromala needs improvement: he mentioned the strengthening program, recruiting in general ("Hopkins' recruits are over-hyped"), recruiting more speed in the midfield and on defense, reassessing the early recruitment efforts because Hopkins is not getting much bang for buck. He suggested that a lot of the program's early recruits don't pan out; that the problem with targeting HS sophomores and juniors is that they might not improve their games like others who don't seem as flashy or impressive at the same time, but who, by the time they're college sophomores and juniors, are coming on like gangbusters. Here's another issue that I would add to the discussion: when's the last time you saw Hopkins go after and nab more than one or possibly two of the best HS seniors in the MIAA, consistently rated the best HS lax conference in the country? Why are the best local guys getting away from Hopkins? Personal bias: if I were a HS junior or senior being recruited by, say, Hopkins and UVa, whose style of play would I rather go play in? I don't think I would opt to play in a slow-down, coach-controlled, static game, especially when the defense on the team is failing miserably to stop the other guys. Run and gun, pressure the other guy until he falls apart: that's the way to play lacrosse.

HopFan - Tony Seaman was the coach from 91-00, I have no idea what you are talking about Zim's disaster 90's teams.

Pointing fingers at stats like groundballs, off-days, youth, etc. is worthless. This hopkins squad was not THAT young... they had enough juniors and seniors with rings who were perfectly capable of carrying the team to a successful season. There are some fundamental problems in the program right now.

Quint said we need to upgrade the D- That's not the problem. We need speed-faceoffs-ground balls to spend some time on offense. We can't drop passes, clear into double teams and cradle three times before we pass. Agree our offense looks stilted, but bottom line, is better recruiting of better raster athletes.
From the time Harrison started until Rabil finished, we had the best player on the field. Not so the last two years.
Hope Daniello, Interlichio, Stanwick will change that.

CCJones213--the "s" was an accident on team, but the weakness of the teams was evident after the 86 fiasco in the finals. 87 was his best year coaching when his shrinking middies were able to hold on for the championship. Thank God they still had Wood and Bubier to carry the attack. 88 solid team but not overwhelming--quick, name their starting middies that weighed over 150lbs? not many. JThat's why Wood was playing middie at times. Jeff Ihm's point blank miss against UVa prevented them from going farther in the playoffs. 89 championship loss to Syracuse since they had no middie they could rely on to iso as their go to scorer, as evidenced by them running the same play they've run all year--Matt was lucky to get the ball off to the wing since his bad ankles couldn't get him to dodge, and John Dressel gets a feed of a pass too deep and too late. Worked in 85 against UVa, not in 89. Dressel was their biggest middie then. The teams were getting smaller and slower--just like Petro's teams are now. If Zim's team wasn't a disaster in 90, he wouldn't have been fired for maybe another year, but his tiny middies weren't helping him.

MIAA students do not go to Hop because the coaches in the MIAA know Petro's fear-based coaching is not going to bring out the best in their players. These MIAA coaches know that Petro is not a great coach, and not really that nice of a guy. He puts a lot of undeserved blame on his players - this year's scapegoats were Mike Gvozden and Tommy Duerr. He takes no blame for the unimaginative style of game he plays, and a neanderthal coaching style that fails to bring out the best in his players. The best thing that could happen to Hop lacrosse is to get Seth Tierney back.

What do they call lacrosse? - the fastest game on two feet. The speed advantage of Duke was evident all over the field. they won face offs b/c their wings were first to the ball; GBs won b/c they were first to the ball.

I have no insight into what/how they are recruiting but if they don't upgrade team speed they are destined to be stuck in second tier.

The sat game reminded me of watching the Frank Urso led Maryland teams run past Jays like they were pylons

What do they call lacrosse? - the fastest game on two feet. The speed advantage of Duke was evident all over the field. they won face offs b/c their wings were first to the ball; GBs won b/c they were first to the ball.

I have no insight into what/how they are recruiting but if they don't upgrade team speed they are destined to be stuck in second tier.

The sat game reminded me of watching the Frank Urso led Maryland teams run past Jays like they were pylons


Sorry, Gvozden deserved to be pulled and should have never been the starting goalie after the debacle at Hofstra and was basically living off his reputation when he got on a hot streak in '08.

It was clear he never had the mental fortitude to let a goal scored not effect him. Petro had a good record in 1 goal and OT games until Gvozden showed up and couldn't stop a pressured shot to save his life. Teams just worked his inability to stop 12-15 yard off side stick shots from up top. If you can consistently stop those shots you don't deserve to be the goalie at any DI program much less Hopkins.

Let's also not forget Gvozden was one of the worst statistical goalies in DI in 2009. I'll concede the defense didn't help him out a ton because of their lack of athleticism but he hurt his own cause to remain on the field by not performing.

As for Hopkins in general, it took 4 years to get in this mess, it is going to take more than a year to get out. I would guess 2011 is not going to be much kinder to Hopkins as 2010 given the youth of the program and the fact the rising juniors and seniors really have not contributed at all to the program.

These quotes really are in the same vein as the ones made last year -- that the best player is going to play, there's disappoinment, blah-blah-blah. Bottom line: the program is on the slide. So is this guy the one to turn things around? Don't know -- as he helped the program get into the ditch it needs to drive out of.

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About Faceoff
Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.

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