At 5-3, No. 10 Johns Hopkins is in a position that many other programs would be envious of. But with the team mired in a three-game slide and only six more contests left on the schedule, coach Dave Pietramala knows time is running out to further polish the team’s resume and make an impression with the selection committee for the NCAA tournament.
“We still have a lot of lacrosse ahead of us,” he said Wednesday morning. “Each time an opportunity passes by, do we understand the significance of the next opportunity? We do. We understand that at some point in time, those opportunities run out. … You have to win games. We’re well aware that we have to win games. We are well aware of that. However, that will not change how we prepare, how we go about our daily business. That has never changed. Game by game, week by week, month by month, year by year, that has never changed.”
The Blue Jays are eager to return to the postseason after snapping a 41-year streak of NCAA tournament appearances last spring. They can strengthen their grip on one of just eight at-large bids in the 18-team field with wins against No. 1 Loyola Maryland (9-1) on May 3, No. 6 Maryland (8-1) on April 12 and No. 19 Albany (4-4) on Friday.
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Johns Hopkins has lost three games by a combined seven goals, including Saturday’s 13-9 setback to No. 5 North Carolina. But Pietramala said the mood in the locker room and on the practice field has been upbeat.
“Obviously, the kids are disappointed, but we’ve moved forward,” he said. “That’s been the mood of the team – disappointment that we’ve had opportunities to be successful and for whatever reason have not, but this group has shown up to work. On Monday, they showed up to practice and they practiced hard and they practiced enthusiastically. This group has not seemed to be afraid to go back to work. You could say there’s a hangover, and I don’t know if you ever really know that until you play the game, but nonetheless, they’ve given us every indication in each of the last three weeks that they understand that we’re going to try to learn from our mistakes and we’re going to turn the page and move forward and try to do a better job in the next competition.”