In the aftermath of No. 13 Johns Hopkins' devastating 8-4 loss to then-No. 7 Loyola last Saturday, senior defenseman Tucker Durkin said the week of practice leading up to Friday night's contest at Army would be the most important one of the season.
Coach Dave Pietramala said he has been pleased with the players’ effort and attention to detail Monday and Tuesday. But one thing the Blue Jays are not paying attention to is their tournament profile.
“We don’t really talk about it because we can’t control that,” Pietramala said Wednesday morning. “Our guys know the situation. When you sit in a press conference and you’re asked about it, when the paper discusses it, it’s out there. Do we talk about that? No. What we’ve had to talk about is Army, and that’s what we can afford to talk about. We control one thing and that is going up and performing well against Army, and that’s got to be our focus. If our focus is on something else, it’s detracting from our preparation and focus for the team we have to play. So we went through our Loyola film. We broke it down, we showed mistakes, we tried to learn from it, and then we showed brief clips of Army to kind of change the focus from the past to the present, and we went out and took care of ourselves and Army. The guys were very enthusiastic. They care. I didn’t think they wouldn’t come out and practice hard. You hope you know your team, and we were all thrilled and happy that they came out the way we thought they would.”
Johns Hopkins (8-5) is 17th in RPI and trails at-large bid contenders like Bucknell (eighth), Ohio State (10th), Penn (12th), Yale (13th) and Drexel (15th). A victory over the Black Knights (8-5) on Friday night won’t do much to improve the Blue Jays’ standing, which will be in the hands of the NCAA selection committee.
Pietramala said waiting until Sunday night for the 16-team bracket to be unveiled is an uncomfortable feeling.
“As a coach, we’re all control freaks,” he said. “… We all want to have our destiny in our own hands, but your record is what it says it is, and your performance is how you’ve performed. So right now, we control what we can do against Army. That’s what we’re going to be worried about. With regard to the big-picture stuff, that will have to be defined by other people. But it won’t matter if we don’t do our job against Army. So we have to go and focus on Army. I don’t know what’s going to happen out there. What happens if everybody that is supposed to win wins and we win? I don’t know where we fall. That will be defined by the committee.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun