For the first time in his career, Rob Guida is running Johns Hopkins’ first midfield without John Greeley and John Ranagan by his side. Now the senior, as the wise veteran of the group, is starting with junior Bronson Kelly and sophomore Connor Reed.
“I’ve been running with those guys forever,” Guida said of Greeley and Ranagan. “So it’s definitely a little different with the new guys out there, but I feel like Connor Reed and Bronson Kelly have done a great job so far. I think it’s just continuing to build week after week that chemistry, and hopefully our offense can continue to do what it’s doing.”
Guida did his part in the No. 12 Blue Jays’ 14-5 demolition of visiting Michigan on Saturday. He tied senior attackman Brandon Benn with a game-high two goals and added an assist. It was a welcome outcome for Guida, who had just one goal on 12 shots in the team’s wins against then-No. 13 Ohio State and No. 18 Towson.
“I think that maybe in this game, I was able to settle down a little bit,” he said. “Our offense is very skilled, and there are a lot of guys that can contribute. Our attack is great with the ball. It’s kind of just finding your spot, I guess. I guess I was able to put myself in a good position today to capitalize a few times.”
Coach Dave Pietramala stressed that the offensive emphasis this season has been on getting contributions from a variety of sources. But he conceded that seeing Guida play as he did Saturday was encouraging.
“I was just happy for Rob because I thought he shot the ball better,” Pietramala said of Guida, who was 2-for-4 against the Wolverines. “He put it on goal. In the last game, if you look at the game, he had some great opportunities. He just didn’t put it on goal. Maybe this is something that kind of breaks him out of the shell a little bit and gives him a little bit more confidence.”
As the only senior in the top two midfield lines, Guida understands that there is a certain amount of pressure on him to set an example. That’s why he isn't complaining about his numbers.
“What I’ve learned is, you can’t force things,” he said. “Kind of let the offense come to us, instead of making every single play.”
* A trio of Blue Jays (3-0) scored the first goals of their careers, and one was sophomore faceoff specialist Craig Madarasz. He won a draw, scooped up the ground ball and fired it past Wolverines freshman goalkeeper Robbie Zonino when no defender slid to him. Madarasz said he had planned to pass the ball to junior attackman Wells Stanwick (Boys' Latin), but changed his mind after noticing that a defender was not budging. “I saw the opening and I just took a shot,” said Madarasz, who won three of six faceoffs. He added: “It’s very exciting. I was just hoping to get my opportunity and I just shot it, and it went in.”
* Senior goalie Eric Schneider finished with a career-best 19 saves and made some head-turning stops against Michigan. He lowered his goals-against average from 7.50 to 6.56 and raised his save percentage from .568 to .667, but also had some miscues on clears. He had a hand in at least two failed clears, and a poor outlet pass that was pushed out of bounds by a Wolverines player late in the first quarter helped him avoid a third. Afterward, Schneider got some pointed reminders from Pietramala. “I’m real disappointed with myself,” Schneider said. “Usually, that’s a part of my game that I pride myself on, and I think I let some balls get away from me. The one down there [in the fourth quarter], the ball just falls out of my stick. It’s just careless. I’ve got to be more attentive in that area and not just be careless throwing the ball around. I’ll work on that this week.”
* When Schneider was pulled with 4:56 left in the fourth quarter, the net duties did not go to freshman Ryan Feit, who played against Towson on Feb. 15. That role went to sophomore Will Ryan, who was told by the coaches before the game that he would be second on the depth chart. Ryan, who made two saves and allowed one goal, said that after practicing against teammates such as Stanwick, Benn and sophomore attackman Ryan Brown, he had no anxiety about playing. “We practice out here every day, and the guys we see are really good players," he said. "Those nerves are gone when you’re practicing all day with some of the best players in the country. When you come out here, you’re just trying to stay organized and get everyone in their spots.”
* The one bright spot for Michigan (2-2) was the play of Brad Lott. The sophomore faceoff specialist took all 23 faceoffs, winning 14 and collecting a game-high nine ground balls. His play caught the attention of his coach. “We feel like Brad Lott is one of the top faceoff guys in the country,” Wolverines coach John Paul said. “I think maybe he’s sneaking up on some people. Last time, he was 0-for-16 against [former Blue Jay Mike] Poppleton. He had missed the entire fall, and that was his first time with the stick in his hands all year. He had a year to get ready, and that’s Brad Lott.” Madarasz said Lott was quick enough to time his moves on the whistle. “He was pretty good today,” Madarasz said. “We’ve had success in other games. We weren’t as good on ground balls today as we were in other games, but that’s kind of the way faceoffs go. Some days, one guy is hot, and this kid was feeling it a little bit.”