Eric Schneider’s first career start in the net in Johns Hopkins’ 19-9 rout of Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday night may not have been a one-time appearance after all.
In his post-game conference, coach Dave Pietramala announced that there would be an open competition between incumbent Pierce Bassett and Schneider. It was a jaw-dropping revelation considering that Bassett has been the undisputed starter since overtaking Mike Gvozden on March 27, 2010.
“There is an open competition,” Pietramala said. “Nothing happens because of one game. A guy doesn’t earn a starting position because of one game and a guy doesn’t lose a starting position because of one game. It’s something that’s over practice and over time and Eric’s been doing a very good job in practice. Obviously, we have the utmost confidence in Pierce. I think at this point, it’s in our best interest that we need to create a little more competition. I think we’ve gotten a little comfortable there, and I think this will help us moving forward.”
Bassett, a senior who was suspended for Tuesday night’s contest for violating an unspecified team policy, had recorded a 7.61 goals-against average and a .594 save percentage this season, propelling the No. 10 Blue Jays to a 3-1 start. He had made 27 consecutive starts.
Schneider, a redshirt sophomore, made four saves against the Mountaineers and doesn’t have nearly the resume that Bassett does. But Pietramala said his primary responsibility is to produce a starting lineup that will yield success.
Pierce has been a starter, and Pierce has been a wonderful player for us,” Pietramala said. “Make no mistake, I don’t feel like we’ve lost any confidence in him. I think Eric has done a good job in practice, and you’ve got to always look to improve your team – whatever way that may be. In 2005, we took Greg Peyser off the first midfield. He had done nothing wrong and played well. We moved him to the second midfield and moved Matt Rewkowski to the first midfield because that was what was best for our team and gave us the best chance to be successful. I think right now, we’ve been inconsistent in the goal, and I think we’ve got to challenge our personnel there to be better each and every day. Hopefully, this will do that. I know they’re both mentally tough kids, both team guys that will do what is exactly best for the team. But sometimes competition is good.”
Schneider, an Under Armour All American as a senior in2010, said the open competition won’t affect his mindset.
“I approach every day the same way,” he said. “It’s not going to really change my approach, but it gives you a little sense of urgency. I’m just really excited, and I just want to do whatever my place is for the team, to be honest. That’s all I’m worried about.”
*The Blue Jays’ offensive explosion was powered by sophomore attackman Wells Stanwick’s five-goal, four-assist performance and junior attackman Brandon Benn’s four-goal effort. But the unit also got some help from the first midfield. Senior John Ranagan recorded two goals and one assist, junior Rex Sanders scored twice, and senior John Greeley finished with four assists. “I think we did our job today,” Greeley said. “I think we dodged hard. We knew they were going to press out a little bit. We ran by and we drew slides. They came pretty quick. We moved the ball. We did what we were supposed to do and the attack finished the ball today, which was awesome. I think we played pretty well, and it’s a good confidence booster going into Friday night for the rest of the season.” Sanders’ goal 73 seconds into the third quarter of Tuesday night’s game was the first goal by a starting midfielder since his goal with 11:49 remaining in the fourth quarter of the team’s 17-8 rout of Michigan on Feb. 23.
*The last time Mount St. Mary’s (2-4) went through at least three goalies in a game, the team switched from freshman Will Rego to sophomore Adam Borgogelli for the next contest. But Tuesday night’s shellacking did not change coach Tom Gravante’s assessment of Borgogelli. “I’m very happy with Adam Borgogelli’s performance,” Gravante said. “There just comes a point when it’s out of reach, and it’s time to go to the rest of your team and give other kids a chance to play. We knew that if things got out of hand, we addressed him and came in with some other guys to give them a little more experience. We’re still going to share the ball in practice, but he’s still the guy we’re going to look to start on Saturday against Manhattan.”
*The numbers for the Mountaineers’ senior-laden attack of Andrew Scalley, Brett Schmidt and Cody Lehrer dipped slightly after Tuesday night. That trio accounts for 69.0 percent of the offense’s goals (down from 69.4 percent), 78.4 percent of the assists (down from 81.8 percent) and 72.6 percent of the points (down from 74.4 percent). But the threesome is still Mount St. Mary’s most potent option on offense and could use a little assistance from the midfield. But Scalley said the attackmen aren’t fretting about carrying the load. “As an offense, there’s always pressure to score, but it is nice to get the team going, and hopefully, we can spark guys in the midfield to develop some points for our team,” he said. “But we just go out there and play the same game every game no matter who we’re playing. We’ve kind of grown together as a unit over the past four years, and it’s definitely helped us.”