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."
*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."