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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #15 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays

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Looking like a team that was not going to make the NCAA Tournament, Johns Hopkins earned two big wins over archrival Maryland late in the season.

Johns Hopkins Athletics

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review with the teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament!

#15 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays

Conference: Big Ten
2019 Record: 8-8 (3-2 in Big Ten)
Postseason: Defeated Maryland in Big Ten semifinals, lost to Penn State in Big Ten Championship, lost to Notre Dame in NCAA First Round
Head coach: Dave Pietramala (19th Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Joey Epstein (48)
Assists: Joey Epstein (25)
Points: Joey Epstein (73)
Faceoffs: Kyle Prouty (132-of-229; 57.6%)
Ground balls: Kyle Prouty (66)
Caused turnovers: Patrick Foley (16)
Goals against average: Ryan Darby (13.04)
Save percentage: Ryan Darby (44.8%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: D Patrick Foley (16 CTs, 32 GBs, 1 G, 3 As), A Kyle Marr (28 Gs, 11 As, 23 GBs, 9 CTs, SSDM Danny Jones (11 CTs, 8 GBs, 1 G, 2 As), LSM Robert Kuhn (10 CTs, 36 GBs, 5 Gs, 1 A)
Senior scoring departing: 47 of 311 points (15.1%)
Senior starts lost: 32 of 160 (20%)

Season Summary

Johns Hopkins looked like they took a big step forward in 2018 with a trip to the quarterfinals. Some people thought the Blue Jays had a good chance of even reaching Championship Weekend in 2019.

But that got off to a very rough start in their first two games, beginning with Towson on the road. Despite taking a 4-2 lead after the opening quarter, Hopkins gave up nine straight goals to the Tigers, including all eight in the second quarter. After Taite Cattoni scored the team’s first goal in a span of over 19 minutes, Towson responded with a 4-0 run to go on and win 17-8. Then came Pat Spencer and Loyola to Homewood for the home opener, which saw Spencer record seven points and freshman Chase Scanlan record six in a 18-12 Greyhound win. All of a sudden, Hopkins was 0-2 and unranked to start the year.

They got two much-needed wins the following two weeks in close games against North Carolina and Princeton. After edging the Tar Heels at a muddy Kenan Stadium, the Blue Jays scored seven of eight goals in a span of 14:31 to get past Princeton and get to .500 as they made the trip up to take on rival Syracuse. Things looked good early as Hopkins took a 5-1 lead in the first quarter but ended up being tied or up a goal as the fourth quarter approached. That’s when the Orange went off, scoring six of the seven goals in the final frame to earn a four-goal victory. After beating Mount St. Mary’s in a midweek game, Hopkins then edged Delaware in a come-from-behind win. The Jays were down two goals after giving up four straight to the Blue Hens before scoring four tallies in the final 6:35.

Hopkins’ non-conference slate ended by getting outscored 10-5 by Virginia in the second half, watching the Cavaliers also take home the Doyle Smith Cup. Big Ten play began with Hopkins going 2-0 with wins over Michigan and Rutgers. Their best win was against North Carolina, a fringe top 20 team at the time. With Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland, and perhaps the Big Ten Tournament on the horizon, the Blue Jays needed to make a statement sometime soon. They thought they did with an 8-3 first half against the Buckeyes, but Ohio State outscored the Jays 11-5 in the second half to take a one-goal win. Penn State then blew out Hopkins on Easter Sunday in Happy Valley, leaving archrival Maryland left.

That’s when the team’s season turned for the better. Despite trailing 5-1, the Blue Jays were able to get things going on all sides of the ball. Hopkins was able to score 11 of the next 13 goals from eight different scorers in a span of 30:51 to take a five-goal lead, one they would not lose, to get their biggest victory of the season. The narrative was very similar a few days later in the Big Ten Tournament against the same Terps. Trailing 6-2 at halftime. the Blue Jays scored 10 of 11 goals in the final 30 minutes to take another five-goal win and earn another marquee win for their resume.

Against Penn State in the conference title game, Hopkins entered halftime with a three-goal lead before the Nittany Lions came back and appeared to be on their way to their first Big Ten title. But Joey Epstein’s two goals in nine seconds late in regulation forced overtime, where Penn State’s Mac O’Keefe was able to find the back of the net past Ryan Darby to get the automatic qualifier for the Nittany Lions. Hopkins drew Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and could not get things going in the opening half, falling 10-2 entering halftime en route to a 16-9 season-ending defeat.

Johns Hopkins had the same 10 starters throughout the entire season. And it started at attack with freshman Joey Epstein, who was one of the best freshman in the country with 73 points and the initiator of the team’s offense. Cole Williams and Kyle Marr returned at attack for another season. Luke Shilling also saw some time as a reserve, especially on the man-up unit. The midfield was very inconsistent throughout the season, as Alex Concannon, Forry Smith, and Connor DeSimone were the top midfield trio. Brett Baskin was very solid as the top middie on the second line that also included Jack Keogh and Evan Zinn, who also played some wing on faceoffs. Matt Stagnitta also saw some reps.

Patrick Foley led the close defense unit with 16 caused turnovers and 32 ground balls. Juniors Jack Rapine and Owen Colwell accompanied the senior yet again. Robert Kuhn was the team’s top long stick midfielder and was also pretty good taking the ball to the other side of the field and scoring. He finished with five goals and an assist on 15 shots. Sophomore Jared Reinson was the secondary LSM. Danny Jones, Matt Hubler, Owen McManus, and Ryan Coulter were the main short stick defensive midfielders. Kyle Prouty and Matt Narewski split the bulk of the draws, each of them finishing above 50% on faceoff win percentage, while Ryan Darby started his first season in net with a 13.06 goals against average and a 44.8% save percentage.

Looking Ahead

Defense gets hit the hardest by senior graduation. Foley, Kuhn, and Jones all depart. Rising junior Brandon Shure played in eight games last season, recording only a ground ball, but could be a returning option. Logan Blondell could see more time as Reinson looks to be the team’s top long stick midfielder, and the same for McManus at short stick. Keep an eye on the goalie battle and see if Darby can improve on his sophomore year numbers.

Personnel wise, the offense just needs to replace Kyle Marr. They have a lot of options, including moving one of their Smith, Baskin, and Keogh down to their normal position. They could slot Shilling there as well. Concannon returns for a fifth-year, while Cattoni entered the transfer portal this summer. He played in four games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Poll

How many wins will Johns Hopkins get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    0-5
    (5 votes)
  • 19%
    6-7
    (24 votes)
  • 53%
    8-9
    (66 votes)
  • 23%
    10+
    (29 votes)
124 votes total Vote Now