Here’s the final installment of a new series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Next week, we’ll unveil our take on next season’s top-20 poll. Today, we take a spin with Johns Hopkins.
The good: For all of the consternation emoted when the Blue Jays graduated standouts Paul Rabil, Stephen Peyser, Kevin Huntley and Michael Doneger, this year’s offense fared just fine. The unit averaged 11.3 goals, which is the most since the offense averaged 12.1 in 2004. … The starting attack of juniors Chris Boland (28 goals and 18 assists) and Steven Boyle (21, 17) and sophomore Kyle Wharton (34, 11) was a potent group as the trio finished in the top five in scoring for the team. The combined 129 points was 31 more than last season’s starting attack of Huntley, Boyle and Doneger compiled. … Rabil and Peyser headlined last year’s midfield, but senior Brian Christopher and junior Michael Kimmel more than covered their departure. Kimmel (20, 25) and Christopher (30, 11) combined for seven more points than the duo of Rabil (36, 14) and Peyser (19, 10). … Replacing Peyser on face-offs wasn’t going to be easy as he won 57.4 percent of his face-offs (139 of 242) and collected 113 groundballs. But sophomore Matt Dolente and junior Michael Powers held their own, winning 54.1 percent (185 of 342) and scooping up 107 groundballs.
The bad: Much like Maryland and UMBC, the Blue Jays really could have used more production from a second midfield line. Sophomores Tim Donovan and Mark Goodrich and junior Max Chautin combined for just eight goals and six assists. … The program’s long-standing tradition of defense suffered a blow this past season. The unit struggled to make quick slides and was often exposed by speedier offenses. The defense surrendered an average of 10.2 goals and permitted nine opponents to score 10 goals or more – both of which were the most by a Dave Pietramala-coached team. … Junior goalkeeper Michael Gvozden was at times inconsistent. After making the spectacular save, he was just as likely as to surrender what some might consider a soft goal. And as the goal totals climbed, Gvozden’s self-confidence suffered.
Personnel changes: The good news for Johns Hopkins is that four of the top five scorers will return, including the entire starting attack. The bad news is that Kimmel is the only returning starter in the midfield. The question is whether Donovan, Goodrich or Chautin can rise to the occasion and fill in the holes created by the graduation of Christopher and Mark Bryan. Maybe one of the team’s incoming three Under Armour All American midfielders will earn a starting spot. (More on them later.) … A battered defense gets a little weaker as defenseman Michael Evans, long-stick midfielder Charlie Wiggins and short-stick defensive midfielder Andrew Miller graduate. Long-stick midfielders Orry Michael and Greg Harrington would appear to be the most immediate candidates to move down to close defense, but the Blue Jays must find a short-stick defensive midfielder to pair up with junior Dave Spaulding. … Gvozden would appear to be a lock for the starting goalie job, but talent-in-waiting and freshman Steven Burke is poised to play if asked.
Outlook for 2010: Complicated. The Blue Jays return a dangerous offense that gains another year to gel and raise its scoring average. But even that unit might not have enough firepower to overcome a defense that loses three starters. Maybe Under Armour All Americans Tucker Durkin and Chris Lightner can bolster the defense. The team also welcomes three more Under Armour All-American midfielders in John Greeley, John Ranagan and Chase Winter.