Critics who wondered how Johns Hopkins would respond to a 2013 season in which the program failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1971 may have been placated by the team's 10-9 triple overtime victory over then-No. 13 Ohio State on Sunday.
The win featured senior attackman Brandon Benn overturning his reputation as a standstill sharpshooter with a dodge from the left wing that led to his game-winning goal 59 seconds into the third extra session, junior attackman Wells Stanwick setting the pace with six points on one goal and five assists, and senior goalkeeper Eric Schneider turning aside a game-high 13 shots.
The victory was the team’s first in overtime since 2012, but coach Dave Pietramala said the warm, fuzzy feelings from that game are no longer relevant as the No. 13 Blue Jays prepare to host No. 18 Towson on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Homewood Field.
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“The page turned,” he said Wednesday morning. “The outcome of the last game is long over, and now there’s another quality opponent ahead that we have to do some different things against this team and we have to do things better against this team to be successful. That is the focus. What happened against Ohio State, the page has been turned. If anything, you hope you can take confidence from that game as to how following the process and doing those things can help you.”
With just one practice in the books, Pietramala said it was difficult to sense a greater level of confidence among the players after beating a Buckeyes team that had captured the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament and was a quarterfinalist in last year’s NCAA tournament. But he said that he hoped the confidence would not be found in the players’ words, but in their actions.
“We think we’ve talked enough around here,” Pietramala said. “We just need to do things. When you do the things you need to do to be successful, then sure, you take confidence from that. Our hope moving forward is that the things that we did in Sunday’s game … hopefully, our guys will look at that and say, ‘These are the things we did to achieve success. We did them, we did them well, and we should take confidence from that.’ The hope is that every time you do that and positive things happen, you gain more confidence in how you’re doing things.”
Because Johns Hopkins played on Sunday and the Tigers defeated High Point, 11-8, on Saturday, the team has one fewer day than Towson to recover physically and emotionally. But Pietramala said one indication of the Blue Jays’ development is how the team can be fresh physically and mentally.
“We talked about that at great length yesterday,” he said. “What did we do to be successful? What were the qualities? That’s the focus. Can a game like that – because there’s drama in it – be mentally taxing? Absolutely. And that’s why we keep talking about how one of the parts of the process is not only physical toughness but also mental toughness. … I thought we took a step, and it was just a step. It was a growth process. But we took a step in showing that we are developing our mental toughness. Now we have to show that we can put that behind us and be mentally tough and focus on the things that we’ll need to be successful against Towson University.”