For each of the first three games of the season, No. 3 Johns Hopkins sent out the same starting midfield. That formula changed in Saturday’s 15-9 victory over then-No. 6 Princeton.
Rather than sending junior Bronson Kelly to join senior Rob Guida and sophomore Connor Reed on the first line, the Blue Jays (4-0) opted to have sophomore Holden Cattoni team with Guida and Reed. The trio of Guida, Reed and Cattoni is not an unfamiliar grouping, according to coach Dave Pietramala.
“In games up until the Princeton game, we’ve mixed and matched,” he said Wednesday. “We’re not real big on saying, ‘This is the first midfield and this is the second midfield.’ You go into it with guys in specific spots, but how the game unfolds and matchups unfold and how guys are performing present themselves. If you watched us late in some games, we were mixing and matching, and the group we were putting out there late in games was Cattoni, Guida and Connor Reed. We just felt like that was a group that was playing well together. We had talked about maybe doing it a few weeks earlier because we had begun to mix and match. I wouldn’t read too much into it. It doesn’t mean that it will stay that way or that it won’t stay that way. I think we’re evolving, and we just felt like going into that game, having those guys together gave us our best chance to be successful. It gave us some balance on the midfields and an ability to be a little bit more versatile with both midfields.”
If results are any indication, the move worked. Guida and Reed recorded season highs in points with four and three respectively, and Cattoni also scored a goal.
Kelly joined freshmen John Crawley and Cody Radziewicz on the second line, and Radziewicz was the only player to post a point as he scored a goal early in the fourth quarter against the Tigers.
So could Guida, Reed and Cattoni start when Johns Hopkins visits Retrievers Stadium in Catonsville on Saturday at 1 p.m. for another installment of its annual rivalry with UMBC (2-1)?
“It could happen, but there are no guarantees it could happen,” Pietramala said. “Probably more importantly, the question is, will it stay that way? How the game goes and how they perform will dictate that more than anything. If one of the guys is playing really well and what we’re doing offensively better suits one group, we’ll run that group together, and we will mix and match. I think you’re seeing that a lot these days.”