In hindsight, the saves that Eric Schneider made against Ohio State sophomore attackman Carter Brown (Calvert Hall) on a curl around the right post with about two minutes left in the fourth quarter, junior attackman Turner Evans with less than one minute left in the first overtime, and then sophomore midfielder Charlie Schnider from 12 yards away with less than a minute left in the second extra session were momentum-turning plays that played a role in No. 15 Johns Hopkins’ 10-9 triple overtime decision over the No. 13 Buckeyes at Homewood Field in Baltimore Sunday.
But that’s not how the senior goalkeeper saw them.
“I’m just playing and doing my job,” said Schneider, who finished with a game-best and career-high 13 stops. “My defense did their job. They kept the guys in areas where we wanted them to be, and I wanted to make the saves that I should. If I do make a good save, I feel like there are one or two that I should have had. So I’m kind of making up for it and kind of moving forward.”
Schneider has become the full-time starter after serving as an understudy behind Pierce Bassett for the past three years. Schneider is more emotional than Bassett, whose stoicalness was at times interpreted as indifference. But Schneider said Bassett was a valued role model for the other goalies.
“He was always calm, cool and collected,” Schneider said. “Coach [Dave Pietramala] has always been telling me, ‘You’ve been doing this your whole life. Just go out there and have fun.’ His support along with the support of the staff in Coach [Bill] Dwan and Coach [Bobby] Benson definitely gave me a lot of confidence to approach this season and take the reins. I’m going to keep working hard and move forward.”
Schneider made seven saves in the fourth quarter and first and second overtimes to prevent Ohio State (0-1) from earning its first win in five games against the Blue Jays. The Buckeyes’ unfamiliarity with Schneider, who made one start last season, also may have helped Johns Hopkins.
“We didn’t have any film on him going into game,” Ohio State coach Nick Myers said. “He made one start prior to this. So just a little bit of film. We don’t focus on goalies a whole lot. … I thought we kind of showed him some shots in terms of how long we took to get the ball out of our sticks. We hit him a few times. You’ve got to credit the goalie. He played his position well.”
*Johns Hopkins got a boost from the return of junior defenseman Robert Enright and junior faceoff specialist Drew Kennedy, both of whom were considered significant question marks for Sunday’s contest due to unspecified injuries. Enright limited Buckeyes sophomore attackman Gordie Koerber (Gilman) to one goal on four shots, and Kennedy won 18-of-22 faceoffs. “It’s great to have them back,” Pietramala said. “It gives us depth at those positions. It gave other guys a great experience. It gave a guy like [freshman defenseman] Nick Fields tremendous experience, and we do feel like Nick can help us and will play for us. It was great for us to have other guys face off. Injuries are going to happen. Our medical staff did a great job of getting these guys ready because a couple days ago, we weren’t. We gave guys days off, we gave guys time to heal, and they did a great job. And to those young men’s credit, they showed some toughness, came back, and played through it. So we were happy to be at just about full strength today.”
*Despite the positive outcome, the Blue Jays still have a few issues to address, including a spate of turnovers. They gave the ball away 20 times, which was the most in a single game since March 19, 2011 when they committed 20 turnovers in a 5-4 double overtime loss to Syracuse. Pietramala recognized how lucky the team was to escape with the victory despite being so generous with the ball against the Buckeyes. “Fortunate to win with 20 turnovers,” he said. “We’ll clean that up. I think part of that is it’s the first game. I know this. I thought they did a good job of pushing down in their ride off of a loose ball. We hadn’t seen a lot of that. So we’ll practice a little bit more of that. I don’t think we handled that particularly well. And I think by halftime, we had three failed clears. That was area that we talked about at halftime and did a better job. We’ve got to value the ball a little bit more. But I’ve kept preaching that we’re going to be a little more patient with this group and that we’re going to make mistakes. It’s going to happen, and I thought the guys played through those mistakes and found a way to win as a team.”
*Ohio State won just 5-of-24 faceoffs. Freshman Jake Withers went 3-of-13, while senior defenseman Dominic Imbordino went 2-of-11. Faceoffs figured to be one to watch after the graduation of Trey Wilkes, who won 58.0 percent (174-of-300) last spring, and coach Nick Myers said the team will continue to scrutinize the position. “It’s a concern,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any gray area there. I think a few of those faceoffs we won off of ground balls and that was part of our strategy, but it’s an area where we’ve got to develop. We’ve got a young man there that’s coming along. We didn’t know whether Kennedy was going to play today or not. He did and he played well, and credit him for that. I thought our staff did a nice job of putting us in the best position based on our personnel and theirs to create as many 50-50s as possible, and we did in a lot of cases. So that’s an area we certainly have to work on.”