Holes for Jays

The Baltimore Sun

More than 30 minutes after Johns Hopkins' 13-10 loss to Syracuse on Monday, Michael Kimmel was the only player still wearing his jersey in the Blue Jays' locker room at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

The reason was purely sentimental.

"I don't want to take my jersey off because it's the last time I put it on with these guys," the sophomore midfielder from Loyola said. " ... You can't describe with words how close this team is, and it's because of the way the seniors led us. I'm truly going to miss that."

There are many reasons why this year's senior class will be missed.

The 11 seniors, nine of whom have worn Johns Hopkins jerseys for the past four years - defenseman Matt Bocklet transferred from Fairfield before the 2007 season and goalkeeper Trey Sheain came from North Carolina for the 2008 season - leave behind a trail of success that includes national titles in 2005 and 2007, three NCAA final appearances and an NCAA-record 12 tournament wins.

Coach Dave Pietramala acknowledged that next year's squad will have a different look.

"We're going to have to do different things," he said. "Other guys will assume new roles, and our team will adjust to the personnel and our staff will adjust to our personnel."

Johns Hopkins will be saying goodbye to the program's all-time leading scoring midfielder (Paul Rabil), the No. 8 goal scorer (Kevin Huntley), the No. 1 faceoff specialist (Stephen Peyser) and two of its top three defensemen (Bocklet and Eric Zerrlaut).

Throw in the exodus of starting attackman Michael Doneger and top defensive midfielder George Castle, and the Blue Jays have some huge holes to fill. But that doesn't concern junior defenseman Michael Evans.

"You lose people every year, and you just hope that they've done a great job in training the guys underneath of them to step up and assume roles," Evans said. "I think our senior class has done a great job of that, so, hopefully, guys will fill that void."

The team could start sophomore Steven Boyle with junior Tom Duerr (five goals and one assist in 14 games) and freshman Kyle Wharton (three man-up goals in 15 games) on attack.

Kimmel (13 goals, 18 assists) will join junior Mark Bryan (four, five) as starting midfielders, with juniors Bryan Christopher (six, five) and Austin Walker (eight goals) competing for the third starting position. Freshman Matt Dolente will succeed Peyser as the team's primary faceoff specialist.

Hopkins' strength could be its defense. Sophomore Sam DeVore, who started eight games this season, and junior Matt Drenan, who started three, will likely start alongside Evans. Sophomore goalkeeper Michael Gvozden anchors what should be a solid unit.

Rabil seemed confident the program will continue its successful ways. During Monday's post-game news conference, Boyle was asked about filling the void of the departing senior class.

"They've taught us so many things over the past few years," he said. "Hopefully, we can carry on the stuff that they've left us, and hopefully, we can move forward."

Rabil then interjected, saying: "They'll be back. They're strong guys."


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