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Dave Pietramala said Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse has battled itself in its two losses

Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse coach Dave Pietramala is pictured after North Carolina defeated Johns Hopkins, 15-11, at Homewood Field on Feb. 28, 2016.
Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse coach Dave Pietramala is pictured after North Carolina defeated Johns Hopkins, 15-11, at Homewood Field on Feb. 28, 2016. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

As if trying to defeat Loyola Maryland and North Carolina wasn't a difficult assignment already, Johns Hopkins had to face another opponent in each of those losses, according to coach Dave Pietramala.

"The last two games, we've played against two teams," he said Wednesday morning. "We played against Loyola and Hopkins, and then we played against Carolina and Hopkins. We've got to help ourselves. … A huge key for us is, we stop beating ourselves. That's something that bothers every coach. You want to force your opponent to beat you. You don't want to beat yourself."

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Pietramala was referring to the No. 13 Blue Jays' worrisome tendency to make mistakes – some of which were unforced. In the 9-8 loss at the No. 5 Greyhounds on Feb. 20, the team turned the ball over a game-worst 16 times and cleared the ball on just 10 of 15 occasions. In Sunday's 15-11 setback to the No. 10 Tar Heels, the team committed a season-worst 17 turnovers and converted 17 of 23 clears.

Johns Hopkins (1-2) has also been plagued by slow starts. Loyola scored the last three goals of the first half to take a 5-2 lead into halftime, and North Carolina sprinted to a 4-0 advantage in the first 13 minutes of the first quarter.

Pietramala said in an effort to jump-start the players, the coaches have altered practice routines so that after stretching, the team dives immediately into game aspects such as clears and faceoffs. Ultimately, however, he returned to the message of discipline that he voiced during his postgame conference after the loss to the Tar Heels.

"Discipline is doing those right things all the time," he said. "We have to be better at being more focused, more intense at doing those things all the time, and that starts in practice. We've got to demand that everything be done the right way all the time. And maybe you've got to harp on a few more mistakes. Maybe you've got to go back and redo something or when a mistake is made, do it again and do it again until you get it right. They need to see that the fact of the matter is, we can do it. We've shown that. … It's not complicated. It's not necessarily easy to do, but it's not complicated to understand it."

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