Getting off to a good start was not a problem when Johns Hopkins played Northwestern last season. Holding onto the ball and sustaining the momentum was. The Blue Jays will try to fix that in tomorrow's conference meeting with the defending national champ in Evanston, Ill.
A year ago at Homewood Field, the Blue Jays took a 3-2 lead only to be run over the rest of the way as the Wildcats scored the last 10 goals and shut out the Blue Jays for 46 minutes.
That 12-3 win helped the Wildcats clinch the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament as champions of the American Lacrosse Conference. Going into tomorrow's game, both teams remain unbeaten in the conference.
While some things have changed for the Wildcats - Duke broke their 31-game winning streak earlier this month - they are still a team to be reckoned with, said Blue Jays coach Janine Tucker.
"Northwestern is not the same team as last year, however they are an excellent team," Tucker said. "They are going to be extremely tough to beat. Any team that expects to hang in there with them, much less beat them, has got to make very few mistakes."
The No. 2 Wildcats (12-1, 2-0 conference) graduated 13 seniors but return All-Americans Kristen Kjellman (44 goals, 18 assists) and Lindsey Munday (32, 30) as well as Franklin graduate Aly Josephs (31, 7).
The No. 7 Blue Jays (10-1, 3-0) have similarly balanced scoring led by All-American Mary Key (41, 31) and Sarah Walsh (20, 14).
Johns Hopkins' only loss came to Maryland, 14-11 on April 9, a setback that Tucker said could help at Northwestern.
"After my team watched our Maryland game, they were devastated at the mistakes they made and that Maryland capitalized on," Tucker said.
"I think having that game, with the poor first half and the second half in our favor, served as a wonderful wakeup call. I'm hoping, in the game with Northwestern, we will be able to sustain the momentum, keep more pressure on them and be able to handle the pressure we know is coming from them."
Rolling up the goals
A former All-Metro attacker at Notre Dame Prep, Stanwick scored four goals in the victory and added two more in Wednesday's 8-4 win over Virginia. She has scored at least two goals in 27 of the past 29 games.
The All-America junior stands seventh on the No. 4 Hoyas' all-time points list with 170 - 117 goals and 53 assists.
Two of the players she would have to pass to reach the top are her older sisters Wick Stanwick (218 points) in third place and Sheehan Stanwick (330), the Hoyas' all-time leader in points, goals and assists.
After a history-making weekend in which St. Bonaventure upset then-No. 9 Richmond, 12-10, to earn its first national ranking, the Bonnies' unbeaten streak came to an end Tuesday.
The No. 16 Bonnies had been the only Division I team to remain unbeaten after defending Northwestern lost to Duke and Johns Hopkins fell to Maryland about two weeks ago. But Duquesne dropped the Bonnies to 12-1 and ended their 13-game winning streak with a 13-9 victory.
The Bonnies fell behind 8-2 and could not recover. Goalie Eboni Preston (Westminster) had eight saves. Against Richmond, the defending Atlantic 10 Conference champs, Preston made nine of her 13 saves in the second half as her team broke out of a 6-6 tie and never surrendered the lead.