Gameday: Johns Hopkins 10, Ohio State 9 (3OT)
Another day, another instant classic in the early season here for men's lacrosse, as Johns Hopkins took a 10-9 win over Ohio State at home in three overtimes. Brandon Benn scored the winner for the Blue Jays, who survived a man-down situation in the second and start of the third OT to set up the winner. Jesse King and Wells Stanwick had monster games, and the fans were treated to a great February contest here in Baltimore and on ESPNU.
We're heading down for post-game interviews, so check back later for more from LaxMagazine.com.
It's a crisp morning here in Baltimore (high 20s with some snow showers expected - which means people are probably freaking out and buying out their supermarket's water supply as we speak) - but those of us who are into such things are making our way to Homewood Field to check out an early-season Top 20 tilt between the host Johns Hopkins Blue Jays and Ohio State Buckeyes - future Big 10 opponents ranked No. 13 and No. 15 in the preseason #LMRanks, respectively.
These two squads are both expected to be solid this spring, so it'll be interesting to see how they look coming out of the gate. Obviously there are big questions for the Blue Jays after they missed the tournament for the first time ever a year ago, with whispers of a new offensive system fluttering throughout the off-season (we'll believe it when we see it). An already tough opening foe gets even tougher with news that the Jays might be short two expected starters - Ed Lee of the Baltimore Sun reported that FOGO Drew Kennedy and defenseman Rob Enright are questionable due to unspecified injuries.
For Ohio State, all eyes are on midfielder Jesse King, who takes over the alpha dog role on offense following the graduation of all-everything Logan Schuss. The Victoria, B.C. native had 55 points a year ago, but that was with teams doing their best to slow down the NLL's No. 1 overall draft pick at attack. The cupboard certainly isn't bare for Nick Myers' team, though, it'll just be interesting to see how the young Hopkins defense tries to game plan for the Buckeye O.
I'll be blogging along via the embed to the right, so follow and shoot me some questions if you fancy while watching along at ESPN3/WatchESPN.
Johns Hopkins Game Notes
The Game: Johns Hopkins opens the 2014 men's lacrosse season by welcoming Ohio State to Homewood Field. Faceoff is set for 11:30 am with a live national television audience on ESPNU.
A Look Back: Johns Hopkins posted a 9-5 record and finished the 2013 season ranked 14th by the USILA (final regular season poll) and 17th in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Ohio State enjoyed one of the finest seasons in school history as the Buckeyes finished 13-4, won the ECAC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Series History: This week's game between Johns Hopkins and Ohio State will be the fifth all-time meeting between the two teams. The previous four games took place between 1999-2002 with Blue Jays winning all four. The first three of those four wins came at Homewood Field and the last came in Columbus. In the 12-9 win at Ohio State on April 6, 2002, current Blue Jay offensive coordinator Bobby Benson totaled five goals and two assists to lead the way for the Blue Jays.
These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters the 2014 season with an all-time record of 933-303-15 (.752). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.
Poll Position: Johns Hopkins opens the 2014 season ranked 11th in the USILA Preseason Coaches Poll and 13th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. Ohio State enters the season ranked 14th in the coaches poll and ninth in the media poll.
For Openers: Johns Hopkins is 11-2 under head coach Dave Pietramala in season-openers with six of the 13 games being decided by three goals or less.
In February: Johns Hopkins has played just 19 all-time games in the month of February and the Blue Jays are 16-3 in those 19 games. The Blue Jays have currently won 12 straight games played in the month of February.
First Big Ten Game: Well, kind of. This week's game against Ohio State will be the first of three games this season the Blue Jays will play against future Big Ten opponents. Johns Hopkins announced last June that it would join the Big Ten for men's lacrosse starting with the 2015 season. The Blue Jays will also take on Michigan and Maryland, both future Big Ten opponents, later this season.
New Blue: Johns Hopkins enters the season with six new starters after a large senior class departed Homewood last spring. The six are spread throughout the lineup and include Eric Schneider (G), Rob Enright/John Kelly/Nick Fields (two of the three with start on D), Bronson Kelly (M), Connor Reed (M) and Ryan Brown (A). Brown did start four games at midfield last season, but makes the move to his natural attack position this season.
New Blue II: In addition to the six new starters in the lineup, the overall Blue Jay roster is also vastly different than a year ago. Gone are 11 seniors who exhausted their eligibility and in their place are 17 freshmen.
Youth Will be Served: Johns Hopkins will field one of the youngest rosters in the nation this season as 17 of the team's 49 players are freshmen and 29 are either freshmen or sophomores. Only nine of the 49 are seniors and two of those nine - Eric Schneider and Phil Castronova - have an extra year of eligibility and are planning to return for the 2015 season.
Class Rank: Despite a heavy turnover to the roster, the Blue Jays do return key contributors to an offense that averaged 11.5 goals per game last season. Each returning class contributed at least 23 goals and 31 points last year. Below is a breakdown of JHU's scoring by returning class:
Class (Gls. • Assts. • Points)
Seniors (56 • 8 • 64)
Juniors (30 • 26 • 56)
Sophomores (23 • 8 • 31)
What it Means in 2014: With the above breakdown of goals, assists and points in mind, the Blue Jays return 67.7% of their goals (109-of-161), 45.7% of their assists (42-of-92) and 59.7% of their points (151-of-253) from last season.
For Starters: The entire 49-man Johns Hopkins roster counts a total of 132 combined career starts to its credit. Of those 132, Rob Guida (38), Jack Reilly (30), Brandon Benn (29) and Wells Stanwick (17) account 114, or 86.7%. No other returning player has started more than five games for the Blue Jays. By contrast, last year's 11-man senior class graduated with a combined 321 starts with six of those 11 players earning 45 or more starts during their careers.
Attack Driven: Johns Hopkins' tentative starting attack unit of senior Brandon Benn, junior Wells Stanwick and sophomore Ryan Brown will be counted on to lead the way offensively for the Blue Jays this season. The trio combined for 75 goals and 28 assists last season, with Stanwick leading the team in points (47) and assists (23) and Benn pacing the team in goals (34). The trio also combined for 20 of Johns Hopkins' 27 extra-man goals on the year.
Ohio State Game Notes
The No. 14-ranked Ohio State men's lacrosse team (0-0, 0-0 ECAC) opens the 2014 regular season Sunday against No. 9-ranked Johns Hopkins (0-0). The teams will meet at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Homewood Field in Baltimore.
The game between Ohio State and Johns Hopkins will be televised by ESPNU and available on WatchESPN.com (go.osu.edu/osujhuespn020914). Eamon McAnaney, Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra will be on the call.
Links for live stats can be found on the men's lacrosse schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com and on the Buckeye Lacrosse Gameday page (go.osu.edu/mlaxgameday). Updates also will be available on the men's lacrosse Twitter feed: @OhioState_MLAX.
Ohio State returns eight starters and 32 letterwinners from the 2013 squad that was 13-4, won the ECAC tournament title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Starters returning include senior goalie Greg Dutton and the close defense trio of seniors Joe Meurer and Dominic Imbordino and sophomore Robby Haus, midfielders juniors Jesse King and David Planning and attackmen sophomoreCarter Brown and junior Turner Evans. Other key returnees include LSM senior Darius Bowling, junior Evan Mulchrone and sophomore Chris Mahoney and SSDM senior Michael Italiano and sophomore Kacy Kapinos. Buckeyes back and expected to contribute from the midfield include sophomore Charlie Schnider, junior Reegan Comeault and senior Rick Lewis, with senior Adam Trombley, who started four games at attack last year, also back.
In 2013, Ohio State averaged 11.18 goals a game in 2013 while allowing 8.82 a contest. The squad converted 46 percent of its man-up chances to rank fourth nationally and scored on 33.2 percent of its shot attempts. The Buckeyes return five of their Top 7 leading scorers from a season ago, including King (32g, 23a, 55p in 2013), Brown (27g, 16a, 43p), Evans (26g, 8a, 34p), Planning (17g, 9a, 26p) and Trombley (6g, 4a, 10p). Meurer led the 2013 team with 18 caused turnovers, with Bowling second with 14, and Italiano was second on the team with 49 groundballs, followed by Dutton and Bowling with 40 each.
• This is the third year in a row Ohio State is opening its season Feb. 9, hosting Detroit on the date in both 2013 and '12. The earliest regular-season game for the squad was a matchup vs. Detroit Feb. 7, 2009.
• Ohio State is 5-0 in season openers under head coach Nick Myers, including wins over Detroit to start the last three years (14-8 in 2013, 11-6 in 2012 and 4-3 in 2011). The team beat Villanova 10-8 in 2010 and topped Detroit, 21-1, in 2009 in Myers' first game at the helm. All five games were in Columbus.
• This is the first time in eight years Ohio State is opening the campaign away from home. The squad lost to North Carolina, 14-5, in Baltimore to start 2006 and fell to Penn State, 9-7, to open 2005 in State College. The team's last win in a season opener away from Columbus was 11-9 at Rutgers in 1999. Ten of the 15 season lidlifters since that game have been in Columbus. All-time, Ohio State is 25-35-1 in season openers.
FUTURE B1G FOES
The next regular-season meeting between Ohio State and Johns Hopkins will be a conference game, as the Big Ten Conference adds men's lacrosse for the 2015 season. Johns Hopkins will join the conference as a sport affiliate member and will join the Buckeyes, Michigan and Penn State, along with new conference members Rutgers and Maryland, to form the six-team B1G.
IN THE POLLS
• In the first USILA poll of the year, Ohio State is ranked No. 14, while it is No. 9 in the Warrior Inside Lacrosse media poll. In Face-Off Yearbook, the Buckeyes were slotted seventh, the first time the team has been in the Top 10 of the poll, produced each year by Inside Lacrosse.
• Four of Ohio State's 2014 regular-season opponents are ranked by USILA: Johns Hopkins (11), Denver (4), Notre Dame (5) and Penn State (9). In addition, Fairfield, UMass, Hofstra and Air Force Academy are all receiving votes.
• In the IL poll, Johns Hopkins (13), Denver (4), Notre Dame (5) and Penn State (7) are all in the Top 20, with UMass receiving votes. In Face-Off Yearbook, Johns Hopkins (14), Denver (5), Notre Dame (4) and Penn State (8) were all in the preseason Top 20.
BUCKEYES VS. BLUE JAYS
Ohio State is looking for its first win over Johns Hopkins, with losses in the first four meetings between the teams, all from 1999 through 2002. The first three matchups were in Baltimore, with the last a 12-9 Blue Jay win in Columbus April 6, 2002.
OSU VS JHU CONNECTION
Jamison Koesterer, who is in his second year as an assistant coach for Ohio State, is a 2007 graduate of Johns Hopkins. He was a two-time NCAA champion with the Blue Jays (2005, '07) and spent two seasons (2011, '12) on the staff of his alma mater as a volunteer assistant coach.
Twelve Buckeyes call Maryland home: Greg Dutton (Timonium), Nick Doyle (Phoenix), John Kelly (Towson), Joe Meurer(Towson), Carter Brown (Bel Air), Chad Strittmatter (Potomac), Charlie Schnider (Bethesda), Gordie Koerber (Baltimore),Bryan Lichtenauer (Reisterstown), Kacy Kapinos (Fallston), Luke Howard (Potomac) and Robby Haus (Lutherville).
AT THE HELM
Nick Myers, who agreed to a five-year contract extension over the summer, is in his sixth year at the helm of the Buckeyes and as a collegiate head coach. He has a career record of 44-35 and led Ohio State to just the second NCAA quarterfinal appearance in school history a season ago. Under Myers', Ohio State has had nine players garner USILA All-America honors, 21 earn all-conference nods and five collect conference player of the year accolades. Under his tutelage, members of the lacrosse program have earned 87 Academic All-Big Ten accolades, 124 Ohio State Scholar-Athlete awards and 27 Academic All-ECAC honors, along with the first five USILA Scholar All-America selections in program history.
A native of Kennebunk, Maine, Myers is a 2001 graduate of Springfield College, where he was the 2000 NEWMAC Player of the Year and a 2001 All-American, finishing his career with 221 points (including 91 as a senior). Myers began his coaching career as the volunteer assistant coach at Ohio State in 2002 and '03 before serving as an assistant coach at Butler for two years. He returned to the Ohio State sidelines as a full-time assistant in 2006, remaining in that position for three seasons until he was named Ohio State's 13th head coach in July 2008. Myers was on staff for the Buckeyes' first NCAA tournament appearance in 2003 as well as when the squad reached the NCAA quarterfinals in 2008.
OHIO STATE 1ST IN ECAC COACHES POLL
The Ohio State men's lacrosse team was slotted first in the 2014 ECAC Lacrosse preseason poll, as voted by the conference coaches. The Buckeyes, who were 13-4 last season and reached the NCAA quarterfinals, are the defending league tournament champions.
Fairfield was second in the preseason coaches poll, followed by Air Force, Bellarmine and Michigan. The Top 4 teams in the regular-season standings earn a spot in the 2014 ECAC Tournament, which will be hosted by Ohio State May 1 and 3 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. The tournament winner receives the league's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
PRESEASON HONORS FOR THE BUCKEYES
Junior midfielder Jesse King and senior defenseman Joe Meurer were recognized as Preseason First Team All-Americans, the first time Ohio State has had two players named to the first team and the first Buckeyes to receive first-team honors since Joel Dalgarno in 2009. Seniors long stick midfielder Darius Bowling, goalie Greg Dutton and defenseman Dominic Imbordino all were Honorable Mention All-Americans in Face-Off Yearbook.
KING RETURNING LEADING SCORER
Junior midfielder Jesse King is the leading returning scorer for the Buckeyes after posting a career-best 32 goals, 23 assists and 55 points last season en route to First Team All-ECAC and USILA Honorable Mention All-America honors. He carries a 23-game point streak, with 40 goals, 29 assists and 69 points in the stretch, into the 2014 campaign. King has 80 points as a Buckeye, with 48 goals and 32 assists.
Ohio State was 5-1 on the road and 3-1 in neutral-site games a season ago. The team's lone road loss was at Notre Dame March 20, with its neutral site loss to Cornell in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals. The squad posted wins at Penn State, Virginia, Bellarmine, Michigan and Air Force and neutral-site victories against Jacksonville in the Moe's Classic and Loyola and Denver in the ECAC Tournament.
LEADING THE WAY
Seniors goalie Greg Dutton and defenseman Joe Meurer were selected after a vote by the team to serve as captains of the 2014 Buckeye squad.
Dutton is a two-time Second Team All-ECAC selection and was a 2013 ECAC All-Tournament Team choice, backstopping the Buckeyes to the league tournament title and an NCAA berth. He was 16th nationally in goals-against average in 2013 (8.96) and had a .523 save percentage, while in 2012 he ranked in the Top 7 in the NCAA in both goals-against average (6.92) and save percentage (.575). Dutton has started 44 games as a Buckeye, with a career goals-against average of 8.11 and save percentage of .536, along with 25 wins.
Meurer was voted the team's Defensive MVP in 2013 when he was a USILA Honorable Mention All-American and a First Team All-ECAC selection. He started all 17 games a season ago in his first year playing close defense, leading Ohio State with 18 caused turnovers, and helping the squad to a Top 15 national ranking in team defense (8.82 goals allowed per game). He has played in 47 career games for the Scarlet and Gray and has 90 groundballs and 32 caused turnovers, along with two goals and 10 faceoff wins. Meurer, a finance major, is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten choice and a three-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete. He was drafted by the Florida Launch in the second round of the 2014 MLL Collegiate Draft with the No. 10 pick, the second-highest draft choice in program history.
Ohio State will travel to Jacksonville to play in the Moe's Southwest Grill Classic at Everbank Field for the third time. The team will take on UMass at 9 p.m. Feb. 16 in a game televised by NBCSN.
FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES
Keep up with Ohio State men's lacrosse all season long through social media, including facebook (OhioStateMensLacrosse) and Instagram (@OhioState_MLAX). The team's official Twitter feed is @OhioState_MLAX and you can keep up with Coach Myers (@MyersJMZ), Coach Dobbins (@DobbinsDave), Coach Koesterer (@squirerockwell), Coach Hall (@judsonhall) and Coach Bergey (@MBergey11).