April 9, 2009

Courtesy of Navy and Johns Hopkins (click to jump)

Army And Navy Renew One Of The Best Rivalries In College Sports On National TV

Game Preview
• Bragging rights will be on the line this Saturday when 13th-ranked Navy (8-3, 3-2 Patriot League) battles arch rival Army (5-6, 1-3 PL) in the opening game of the Smartlink Day of Rivals ... the 87th edition of the Army-Navy game is slated for an 11:30 am faceoff at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
• Inside Lacrosse has taken the two most storied rivalries in college lacrosse and paired them up for a spectacular event ... the Army-Navy game will be followed by the 105th playing of the Johns Hopkins-Maryland contest (2:00 pm) ... it's the first time the Star Game will be played on neutral ground.
• Tickets for the event may be purchased by calling 410-261-RAVE or by logging on to www.insidelacrosse.com(.)
• Senior Bruce Nechanicky led Navy with three goals and an assist, while classmates Tommy Phelan and Andy Tormey anchored a defensive effort that held Maryland to a season-low four goals as the Mids earned a 10-4 victory over No. 8 Maryland last Friday night in front of 15,109 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium ... the six-goal win was the largest margin of victory by Navy over the Terps since 1992 when the Midshipmen earned an 11-3 win ... meanwhile, the last time Navy scored double digits against Maryland was in 1995 when the Terps defeated the Mids, 19-11.
• Army is struggling to get out of a funk that has seen it drop each of its last three games, including back-to-back contests against Patriot League foes Colgate and Bucknell ... the Bison scored five straight goals to end the first half and open the second en route to capturing an 8-6 win over the Black Knights at West Point last weekend.
• Saturday's game will be televised by ESPNU with Rob Simmelkjaer (play by play), former Virginia All-American Matt Ward (analyst) and former Army head coach Jack Emmer (analyst) calling the action ... Melissa Knowles will patrol the sidelines for added commentary.
• Additionally, the contest will be broadcast over the radio waves by (WNAV 1430 AM, WFED 1050 AM) with Pete Medhurst handling the call, beginning with the Navy lacrosse pregame show at 11:00 am ... in addition, the game will be streamed online (audio only) with live stats available at NavySports.com.

Previewing Army
• Army, who owns a 5-6 record under fourth-year head coach Joe Alberici, has experienced some of the same woes as Navy this season when it comes to tight games ... four of Army's six losses have been by one point with three of the four going into extra minutes.
• The Black Knights have lost four of their last five games, including three in a row.
• They are fighting to keep their Patriot League Tournament hopes alive ... at 1-3, Army is in a must-win situation to stay in contention for one of the two final spots available in the tournament at the end of April.
• Sophomore keeper Tom Palesky has stepped in nicely this season where he owns an 8.28 goals-against average to go along with a 62.3 save percentage, the nation's sixth-best average ... as a team, Army is ranked third in the country, averaging 13.91 saves per game.
• The attack combination of Jason Peyer and Jeremy Boltus has paid dividends for Army ... Peyer has scored a team-high 26 goals and added 12 assists for 38 points, while Boltus is second on the team with 36 points on 20 goals and a team-best 16 helpers ... Peyer is ranked 15th in goals per game (2.36) and 18th in points per game (3.45).
• Senior Sean Reppard mans the faceoff load, winning 94 of the 204 draws (.461) he has taken ... he leads the team with 35 ground balls.
• Army's man down defense is ranked 56th out of 59 teams in Div. I lax ... the Black Knights are stopping just 46.2 percent of the extra-man opportunities.

Army vs. Navy -- The Series
• Saturday's contest marks the 87th edition of Army vs. Navy on the lacrosse field and the 77th consecutive year the two programs have battled one another ... it's the longest continuous lacrosse series between Navy and another team.
• Navy owns a commanding 55-27-3 series advantage that included 13-straight wins by the Midshipmen between 1998 and 2007 ... the Mids have won 13 of the last 14 contests in the series.
• The Mids also own a 51-27-3 advantage in Star Games, winning 10 of the last 11.
• Saturday's contest marks just the second time Army and Navy have met on neutral ground (2006 Patriot League Tournament in Hamilton, N.Y.), however it is the first time the Star Game has been played away from either the Army or Navy stadiums.
• The MIds defeated Army, 8-5, in the championship game of the Patriot League Tournament in 2006, the only neutral site contest between the two programs.
• Since joining the Patriot League in 2004, Navy has faced Army twice in a season three times ... there have been only five times in the 87-game history (dating back to 1924) that the two programs have battled twice in one season (1978 and 1981 in the NCAA Tournament, 2005, 2006 and 2007 in the Patriot League Tournament).
• Prior to last year's loss, Navy had scored eight or more goals in 18-straight games against Army.

The Last Time
• Sixth-ranked Navy saw its 13-game winning streak over Army come to an end, as the No. 17 Black Knights upset the Mids on senior day at Michie Stadium by a 9-6 margin. Army jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and never trailed despite Navy knotting the game up at 3-3 early in the second period.
• Senior attack Justin Bokmeyer put the Black Knights on the board just 55 seconds into the game when keeper Adam Fullerton stuffed a Joe Lennon shot and sent an outlet pass up the middle to Mike Hanna. Hanna charged down the field and found Bokmeyer anchored on the left side of the field for the goal. Less than two minutes later, junior middie Kevin LoRusso bounced a shot past Navy keeper Tommy Phelan to push the lead to two. By the 7:51 mark, the Black Knights held a 3-0 lead thanks to an Alex Rhoads unassisted tally.
• The Mids, who took just two shots in the first 10 minutes of action, finally got on the board when Phelan made a stop in goal, sending the outlet to the 50-yard line where long stick defensive midfielder Zack Schroeder awaited the pass. Schroeder sprinted straight up the middle where he stuck in his first collegiate goal with 2:08 remaining. Thirty-six seconds later, the Mids closed to within one as senior Nick Mirabito, fed attack Tim Paul  for an extra-man goal off a 10-yarder up the middle.
• Navy made it three ina row when Paul tacked on his second goal of the game, shooting at Fullerton's ankles less than two minutes into the second quarter to tie the game at three apiece.
• Army scored the remaining two goals of the second quarter, both by junior attack jason Peyer, to take a 5-3 lead into the half.
• The Mids closed the gap to one just over a minute into the second half when Mirabito found midfielder Basil Daratsos slicing down the middle who was able to get off his shot before suffering a hard shot by an Army defenseman. But that would be it for Navy in the third quarter, as four of its remaining seven shots were stopped by Fullerton.
• Army, meanwhile, built a four-goal cushion by the end of the quarter and by then had the game well within hand.

Neutral Ground
•  As a whole, neutral site games have been rare during the 102-year history at the Naval Academy ... just 18 games have been played on neutral ground.
• That said, during head coach Richie Meade's tenure, 15 games have been played at a neutral site, including three (Cornell, Holy Cross, Colgate-PL Tourney) last season.
• Navy owns an 11-7 overall record in neutral site matches, including a 10-5 mark under Meade.
• Over the last five seasons Richie Meade's Midshipmen have become accustomed to playing at least one neutral site regular-season game ... in 2004 Navy played Colgate in Orlando, in 2005, Navy opened the season against Providence by playing at Branford High School in Connecticut and later played Colgate in Orlando ... in 2006, Navy and Bucknell battled one another in San Diego at the First 4 Invitational ... in 2007, Navy faced Holy Cross in Texas ... this season, the Mids dropped a heartbreaker to Cornell in overtime in Long Island on Feb. 23 before taking down Holy Cross, 16-3, at Texas Stadium on March 15 as part of the eight-team, four-game Ford Patriot Cup ... the Mids were tripped up by unranked Colgate, 9-12, in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament on April 25.

Patriot League Success
• Since joining the Patriot League in 2004, Navy is 39-6 (.867) against opponents from the conference, including an 8-1 mark in the Patriot League Tournament.
• The Mids have lost regular-season contests to Bucknell in `05 and `09, Colgate in `06 and `09 and Army in `08, while dropping the program's first Patriot League Tournament contest last year in the semifinals against eventual champion Colgate ... all five losses were in games played either at the opponent's field or at a neutral site.
• The Mids own a 20-1 record at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium against Patriot League competition since joining the conference ... the Mids are 14-1 during the regular season, dropping a 10-9 decision to Colgate earlier this spring, and 6-0 in the conference tournament.
• The Mids have produced undefeated marks in conference action twice, 7-0 in 2004 and 6-0 in `07.
• Navy has won at least a share of the Patriot League regular-season title in each of its first five years as a member of the league.
• Additionally, the Mids have claimed the league's tournament crown four times (2004-05-06-07).
• 28 different Mids have garnered All-Patriot League recognition, while 16 of the 28 have earned honors multiple times.
• Last year, three-time All-American Jordan DiNola was selected as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year ... though Navy has fielded the nation's top-ranked scoring defense four times since joining the league, DiNola is the first Midshipman who has been named the league's top defensive player.
• Richie Meade was named the 2004 Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading the Mids to a flawless 7-0 mark in league competition ... he received the award a second time after guiding Navy to a 6-0 record in 2007.

National Leader Board
• According to the latest national statistics released on Monday by the NCAA, the Mids are among the top 10 in four categories and among the top 20 in six categories.
• Navy's man-down defense has surrendered just four goals this season on 30 attempts and is ranked No. 1 in the country, stopping 86.7 percent of the extra-man opportunities.
• After holding Maryland to a season-low four goals, the Mids' scoring defense improve one spot in the rankings where it has nestled in at No. 3, giving up 6.73 goals per game.
• Navy (9/1) and Syracuse (1/4) are the only two teams in the country whose extra-man and man-down units are ranked among the top nine ... it's the third straight year Navy has put both units in the top 11.

Take Note

•  Second-line midfielder Brian Striffler owns the team's longest active point-scoring streak having produced a goal or an assist in each of the last seven contests.
• Junior middie Patrick Moran had his 10-game goal-scoring streak snapped by Maryland.
• Along with Moran, attackmen Brendan Connors and Tim Paul have added points in 10 of the 11 games ... Paul was held without a point against Mount St. Mary's (3-3) and Connors was stymied by Holy Cross (3-14).
• Five different Navy players have produced hat tricks this season, including one in each of the last two contests ... Brendan Connors turned in a career-high three goals against Georgetown, while Bruce Nechanicky matched his career high with three goals in the win over Maryland (4-3).
• Patrick Moran and Evan Sullivan are responsible for a combined nine of the Mids' 12 extra-man goals this season.
• Junior midfielder Evan Sullivan has produced eight points (5-3) this season with seven of those eight (4-3) having been recorded during extra-man opportunities.
• Tim Paul has scored multiple points in 23 contests during his three-year career at Navy, however, the Bucknell game (2-28) marked the first time the multiple points didn't come from the goals column ... he scored one goal and added a pair of assists ... the other 22 games he has had multiple points, he has also scored multiple goals.
• With its come-from-behind win at Holy Cross (3-14), Navy managed to snap a 65-game losing streak when trailing after three quarters of play.
• Navy has outscored its opponents by a narrow 45-40 margin in the first half, but comes out a much different team in the second where it owns a 60-34 advantage.
• Senior Tommy Phelan has put together back-to-back career-high save days over the last two weeks ... he stopped 15 shots against Georgetown and turned away 16 shots against Maryland ... it was the best save day by a Navy player against Maryland since Mickey Jarboe made 17 saves in 1999 ... meanwhile, it's the most saves by a Navy player overall since Seth DiNola stopped 21 shots by Penn State.
•  Navy improved to an amazing 47-1 when holding its opponents to six or fewer goals since 2004.
•  Navy owns a 39-2 record when scoring 10 or more goals since 2004, including a 5-0 mark this season.
•  The Mids have won 13 in a row when leading at the half, including a 5-0 mark this season ... Navy has won 15 straight when leading after three quarters, including a 7-0 mark this spring.

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Johns Hopkins, Maryland Meet In 105th Edition of Rivalry At M&T Bank

The Game: Johns Hopkins (4-4) takes the short four-mile trip down Martin Luther King Boulevard to M&T Bank Stadium to take on Maryland (6-4) in the second game of the Smartlink Day of Rivals. The annual Army-Navy game will lead off the event at 11:30 am with the Hopkins-Maryland game to follow.

A Look Back: Johns Hopkins snapped a three-game losing streak with a 14-9 victory over Albany last Saturday at Homewood Field. Maryland dropped its second straight game last Friday night as the Terrapins lost at Navy, 10-4.

These are the Facts: Johns Hopkins enters this week's game against Maryland with an all-time record of 886-282-15 (.755). The Blue Jays own nine NCAA titles, 29 USILA titles and six ILA titles for a total of 44 national championships.

That's 604 Games Over .500: With the win over Albany, the Blue Jays' all-time record is now 886-282-15 (.755) ... that's 604 games over .500. To put this in perspective: JHU has played an average of just over 15 games per season under head coach Dave Pietramala. Using a 15-game season as a reference, if the Blue Jays posted a 5-10 record for 120 straight seasons, they would still be four games over .500.

Home Away From Home: This week's game against Maryland will be the ninth Johns Hopkins has played at M&T Bank Stadium. The Blue Jays are 5-3 all-time at the home of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. JHU won all three of its games at M&T in 2007, including a 7-6 double-overtime win against Princeon in the Face-Off Classic and a 12-11 win against Duke in the NCAA Championship game. The Blue Jays added a 14-9 win over Princeton in the Face-Off Classic last season, before falling to Princeton, 14-8, in the Face-off Classic earlier this season.

April Reign: Flipping the calendar to April has usually been a good sign for the Blue Jays, who won four-of-five games in April last season to jump-start their run to the national championship game. The Blue Jays are 37-4 (.902) under head coach Dave Pietramala in games played in April. JHU is 21-2 at home in April under Pietramala's guidance and 16-2 on the road.

A Brutal Stretch: This week's game against 12th-ranked Maryland is the eighth straight for the Blue Jays against teams currently ranked in the top 20 in the nation. Using this week's USILA Coaches Poll as a reference, the Blue Jays played second-ranked Princeton, seventh-ranked UMBC, fifth-ranked Hofstra, sixth-ranked Syracuse, top-ranked Virginia, 10th-ranked North Carolina and 18th-ranked Albany in their last seven games. All seven of those teams were ranked in the top 18 in the nation at the time of the game.
After this week's game against Maryland, the Blue Jays will take on Navy (currently ranked 13th) next week at Homewood Field. How difficult is the Blue Jays' schedule? Consider ...
• The cumulative record of JHU's first eight opponents is currently 65-18 (.783).
• The last seven teams Johns Hopkins has played (Princeton, UMBC, Hofstra, Syracuse, Virginia, North Carolina, Albany) currently have a combined record of 60-13 (.822).
• This week's game against Maryland will be JHU's eighth straight against a team ranked in the top 18 at the time of the game (all are still ranked in the top 18 as well). According to research conducted by the Johns Hopkins Sports Information Office, no other team in the country has played more than four consecutive games against teams in the top 20.
• While it's hard to guage how the remainder of the season will play out, it's not out of the question that 12 of JHU's 13 games this season will be against teams ranked in the top 20 at the time of the game.
• Exactly one of JHU's 13 opponents this season (Mount St. Mary's) currently has a record below .500.

Hitting the Century Mark: JHU head coach Dave Pietramala reached a milestone with last week's 14-9 win over Albany as the victory was his 100th as the head coach at Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays are now 100-29 (.775) on his watch (he's 123-46 (.728) overall) and his is just the third coach in school history to win 100 games (Bob Scott-158, Henry Ciccarone-105).

Poll Position: Johns Hopkins enters this week's game against Maryland ranked ninth in the USILA Coaches Poll. The Blue Jays are also ranked ninth in the Inside Lacrosse/Nike Media Poll. Maryland is ranked 12th in the Coaches Poll and 13th in the Media Poll.

More Poll Position: Records indicate that the USILA began sponsoring a weekly coaches poll during the 1973 season. Since then there have been 353 weekly polls. Amazingly, Johns Hopkins has been ranked in the top 20 in all 353 of those polls and has been in the top 10 in 341 of the 353.
Below is a breakdown of the Blue Jays' in the USILA Coaches Poll since its inception on March 19, 1973:

Total Weeks: 353
Total Weeks at #1: 102
Weeks in top 5: 276
Weeks in top 10: 341
Weeks in top 20: 353
Most Consecutive at #1: 14: 4/12/04-5/9/05
Most Consecutive in top 5: 130: 3/19/73-3/23/87
Most Consecutive in top 10: 158: 3/19/73-3/25/90
Most Consecutive in top 20: 353: 3/19/73-present

Poll Notes: In some years a preseason poll was not conducted • In some years a preseason poll was conducted, but the second poll of that season may have been held until after several weeks of the season passed • In some years a poll was conducted after the NCAA Tournament.

Lucky Number Nine: Years ending with the number nine have been kind to the Blue Jays since the program's inception in 1883. Johns Hopkins has played 13 seasons in years ending in nine (including 2009) and has compiled a 93-23-2 record with seven national championships in those 13 years. The Blue Jays also played in the 1989 national championship game and advanced to the final four in 1999.

Streaking: Johns Hopkins is 77-20 in its last 97 regular season games dating back to the end of the 2001 season and 92-25 overall since the start of the 2002 season.

Attack Emerges: With the loss of standouts Paul Rabil and Stephen Peyser at midfield, it was no secret that the Blue Jay offense was likely to become more attack oriented. While the group was held in check in the losses to Princeton and UNC, it has more than held its own thus far. Starters Steven Boyle, Kyle Wharton and Chris Boland combined for seven goals and five assists against UMBC, seven goals and two assists against Hofstra, six goals and six assists at Syracuse, 10 goals and three assists against top-ranked Virginia and seven goals and three assists against Albany. Boland currently leads the team in goals (18) and points (26), while Wharton (17g, 8a) and Boyle (14g, 9a) are not far behind.
Boland's 26 points have all come in the last seven games and 24 of the 26 have come in the last six. He dropped a six-goal, two-assist masterpiece on top-ranked Virginia with his eight-point showing the most by a JHU player since Kyle Barrie had nine against Navy in 2003. Since Boland entered the starting lineup against UMBC, the starting trio has combined for 37 goals and 21 assists (9.67 ppg.).
Wharton, Boland and Boyle are currently the top three scorers on the team. The last time JHU's top three scorers were all attackmen was in 2001, when Bobby Benson, Adam Doneger and Conor Ford led the way.

Young Guns: A year ago the Blue Jay offense was a senior-laden group that was led by Paul Rabil, Kevin Huntley, Stephen Peyser and Michael Doneger, who combined for 108 goals and 34 assists. Fast forward to this season and the experience has been replaced by youth. Through eight games, 71 of the Blue Jays' 94 goals (75.5%) have been scored by players who will return next season, while 47 of the team's 57 assists (82.5%) have been accumulated by players with at least one year of eligibility remaining.

Defensive Notes of Interest: • Johns Hopkins held Albany scoreless for streaks of 20:32 and 11:32. The streak of 20:32 is the second longest scoring drought for an opponent this season.
• Despite the loss, Johns Hopkins held North Carolina scoreless for stretches of 13:18 and 11:08.
• Johns Hopkins held Hofstra scoreless for stretches of 16:49, 11:56 and 11:21 in the 12-7 victory against the Pride. The Pride scored consecutive goals just once (late in the first quarter) against the Blue Jays.
• Johns Hopkins held Siena to just three goals in the season-opener. That's the fewest JHU has allowed in a season-opener since 1982.
• The Blue Jays held Siena scoreless for the final 45:50 and limited the Saints to just six shots in the second half, including none in the third quarter.
• Since the start of the 2007 season the Blue Jays have held the opposition scoreless for a streak of 14 minutes or longer 42 times.
• The Blue Jays have held 20 of their last 31 opponents - including 13 of 17 last season - scoreless for a stretch of at least 18 minutes.
• Hopkins has held the opposition scoreless for 25 minutes or longer 14 times since the start of the 2007 season, including seven times last season.

Offensive Notes of Interest: While the focus of any Dave Pietramala-coached team will always be defense, the Blue Jay offense has also been effective. Consider:
• Johns Hopkins ranks ninth in the nation in scoring offense (11.75), seventh in the nation in points per game (18.88) and eighth in assists per game (7.13). The Blue Jays' offensive numbers are even more impressive when you look at the national scoring defense leaders. JHU has played three of the top seven and seven of the top 20 schools in the nation in scoring defense.
• JHU has scored in double figures 24 times in its last 31 games and is averaging 11.13 goals per game during that time (345 goals in 31 games).
• The 15 goals the Blue Jays scored against top-ranked Virginia are the most by Johns Hopkins against a team ranked in the top five since March 20, 2004, when JHU knocked off then third-ranked Syracuse, 17-5.
• The Blue Jays have scored 94 goals on 275 shots this season for a shooting percentage of .342. As a team the Blue Jays scored on 31.2% of their shots last season (179-of-573). JHU connected on 28.8% of its shots en route to winning the national championship in 2007. The Blue Jays' highest shooting percentage in the Pietramala era came in 2003, when they connected on 31.7% (224-of-706) of their shots.
• Johns Hopkins is the only team in the nation with five players (Boland, Wharton, Boyle, Kimmel, Christopher) ranked among the top 90 in the nation in points per game and one of just two teams (Virginia) with four players ranked among the top 75 in the nation in goals per game (Boland, Wharton, Boyle, Christopher).

One-Goal Turnarounds: Despite one-goal losses to Virginia and North Carolina, Johns Hopkins is 31-11 in one-goal games since Dave Pietramala took over in 2001. The Blue Jays have won 18 of their last 25 and 22 of their last 30 one-goal games. In the five seasons prior to Pietramala arriving (1996-2000) the Blue Jays were 5-8 in one-goal games.

More One-Goal Notes: The Blue Jays have come from behind to win 15 times during their last 18 one-goal wins. In 10 of those 15 come-from-behind one-goal wins the Blue Jays came back from a deficit of two goals or more. The latest of these come-from-behind one-goal wins came against Duke in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, when the Blue Jays erased a 2-1 second-quarter deficit.

Extra, Extra: The at North Carolina in overtime was JHU's fourth straight defeat in extra time. Despite this, JHU is 13-6 all-time in overtime under head coach Dave Pietramala's guidance.

Players on the 2009 team who have scored game-winning goals in overtime during their career:
• Senior Brian Christopher scored 1:22 into OT against Loyola on May 6, 2006.
• Junior Michael Kimmel became the first freshman in school history to score an overtime goal in an NCAA Tournament game when he netted the game-winner one-minute into overtime against Notre Dame last season.

Evans, Drenan Named to Tewaaraton Watch List: Senior defenders Michael Evans and Matt Drenan were recently named to the 2009 Tewaaraton Watch List. The players on the list were nominaed by coaches across the country. Johns Hopkins produced the 2005 Tewaaraton Award winner (Kyle Harrison) and Paul Rabil was a finalist for the award in 2007 and 2008. The award is presented annually to the top male and famale lacrosse players in the country.