Matt Drenan insists that his surgically repaired left knee was healthy and sound last year. His confidence in the knee wasn't perhaps as solid.
After sitting out the 2007 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Drenan was a long-stick midfielder for the Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team. He appeared in 17 games but collected just 22 ground balls after picking up 32 in 2006 as a freshman.
"Each week that goes by, you feel more and more confident in the knee," Drenan said. "I wore a brace last year, and I felt good and confident, but I'm a year older now. I'm 22, and I just feel that much more mature. ... I feel there are no lasting effects at this point."
The redshirt junior defenseman proved his point as he helped the No. 4 Blue Jays rout Siena, 11-3, in Friday's season opener for both teams. Drenan was part of a defense that held the Saints scoreless over the final 45 minutes, 50 seconds, and he led the team with eight ground balls.
Coach Dave Pietramala said he didn't notice too many physical limitations for Drenan, a San Diego native who was the first Californian to sign with Johns Hopkins.
"But I think the greatest drawback may not be physical, it may be mental," Pietramala said. "Last year, we saw Matt start to perform a little better when we took the brace off [his left knee] after the Duke game. But he certainly looks very much like the same guy he was his freshman year where he's moving around very fluidly. He seems very comfortable on the field."
Goucher's 18-4 season-opening victory over Guilford on Saturday was notable for the number of freshmen who provided the brunt of the scoring.
Midfielder Kyle Boncaro, attackman Rory Averett, midfielder Matt Lynch, midfielder Jackson Lane and midfielder Pat Peddicord (Dulaney) combined to register 10 goals and six assists.
"Right from the start of the preseason, they've really been executing, and it's been a really good start for them so far," Gophers coach Kyle Hannan said. "You just hope that it continues."
Fairfield's season-opening 10-9 win against Delaware was a significant victory for the Stags, who defeated a team some experts had pegged as a dark-horse candidate for the NCAA tournament.
While first-year head coach and former Maryland assistant coach Andrew Copelan relished the outcome, he and his coaches were already at work preparing for Saturday's contest at No. 17 Ohio State.
"It's certainly nice to be 1-0 and not vice versa," Copelan said. "At the same time, I told the guys after the game that it's not necessarily how you start the season, but how you finish. So we still have some work to do."
What: Third installment of doubleheader featuring nine-time national champion Johns Hopkins, six-time national titlist Princeton, two-time national champion Maryland and two-time championship finalist Duke
Matchups: No. 19 Princeton vs. No. 4 Johns Hopkins, followed by No. 14 Duke vs. No. 8 Maryland
When: Saturday, first game, noon; second game, 2:30 p.m.
Where: M&T; Bank Stadium
Tickets: $20 for lower-level reserved seat, $30 for club level, $10 for groups of 10 or more. Call 410-261-RAVE or go to www.faceoffclassic.com .