Tuesday night's 7-5 loss at Towson was a troubling result for a Johns Hopkins team tabbed by many as a Final Four contender.
But it was even more frustrating for the players and coaches within the program, and coach Dave Pietramala said he anticipates a team eager to blow off some steam at Villanova (0-0) on Saturday.
"I would hope that we're an angry team," he said Thursday morning. "That's my hope. We had to take a day off, and we took a day off yesterday, which we needed physically and emotionally. But I can tell you this. We didn't practice, but I looked down on that field and I would tell you that a majority of our team was on the field on their own either throwing or running. I know guys went in on their own and lifted. I saw a bunch of them up here with their iPads watching film of Villanova.
"So I would hope that we'll be a much more focused team, a team that plays with greater excitement and emotion, and I would hope that we play a bit angry."
Pietramala is hoping for a different level of emotion than the one he saw from the Blue Jays (1-1) against the Tigers (1-0). He said the players appeared too loose and casual during the pregame warm-ups and asserted that the absence of enthusiasm contributed to the team's effort.
"The takeaway is, we've got to have a healthier level of respect for our opponent, we've got to play with a little bit more emotion," Pietramala said. "I understand that for our guys, Saturday was an extremely emotional day. But the schedule is what it is and we had to turn around for Tuesday. I'd like to tell you that having two days of preparation mattered, but quite frankly, I don't think it did. …
"At the end of the day, they did their job better than we did. They were more excited to play, they were hungrier than we were, they had more respect for us than we had for them. You add all of that stuff up, and you wind up with a 7-5 loss."