Johns Hopkins at UMBC men's lacrosse: Three things to watch

Johns Hopkins is one of just two programs that UMBC is winless against in more than one meeting. (Robert Morris is the other.) The Blue Jays have won all 13 games against the Retrievers including all three contests at UMBC.

No. 9 Johns Hopkins (4-3) fell in overtime, 13-12, at Virginia on Sunday. An offense that ranks 15th in Division I in scoring (12.1 goals per game) and 12th in assists per game (7.6) has been fueled by the play of Shack Stanwick (Boys' Latin). The sophomore attackman ranks third in the country in assists per game (3.0) and ninth in points per game (4.6).


UMBC (1-5) has dropped two straight contests since edging Marist, 9-8, in overtime on March 12. A defense that has surrendered 11.8 goals per game has shuffled between three goalkeepers, but the one constant has been Zach Esser (Fallston). The senior defenseman ranks eighth in the nation in caused turnovers per game (1.8) and second in career caused turnovers (67) in program history behind only Mike Camardo (87).

Here are a few factors that could play a role in the outcome at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville on Wednesday at 7 p.m.


1) Johns Hopkins' Ryan Brown. Brown (Calvert Hall) has thrived against UMBC. The Blue Jays senior attackman has scored 12 goals on 28 shots and added one assist in three career meetings against the Retrievers. In a 16-4 dismantling last spring, Brown scored seven goals on 14 attempts and UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said afterward that the team's scouting report included a new designation for Brown because of his unique ability to shoot with both hands. Zimmerman did not deny that the Retrievers will focus a good deal of attention on Brown.

"The key is that you have to know where he is at all times," Zimmerman said. "We play a sliding, man-to-man defense. So we have to slide off of men and have guys be there for a second slide and recover. Sometimes that's easier said than done, but he's the type of guy that you have to know where he is because he is very good at getting open, they look for him, and if he gets room and time, he's probably the best shooter in the country right now."

2) UMBC's Nate Lewnes. Since opening the season with four games without hitting double digits in goals, the Retrievers have scored 10 and 11 goals in losses to Binghamton and Stony Brook, respectively. The offensive resurgence has coincided with the return of Nate Lewnes (St. Mary's) from a bout with mono. The senior attackman has posted eight goals on 18 shots and three assists in his last two starts, and Johns Hopkins associate head coach Bill Dwan said the defense must key on Lewnes.

"We have to find him," Dwan said. "He's kind of an off-ball guy. He's a really good shooter. So we have to really focus on finding him in all of their action behind the goal."

3) Johns Hopkins' EMO. The Blue Jays are one of the best at capitalizing on penalties. Their man-up offense ranks third in the nation with a 58.3 percent success rate (14-of-24), and three players in Stanwick, senior midfielder Holden Cattoni and sophomore midfielder Patrick Fraser have scored at least three extra-man goals. UMBC has found itself in just 15 man-down situations so far, but Zimmerman said the team must avoid helping out Johns Hopkins' offense with penalties.

"Hopkins is a team that has quality players throughout, and they're the type of team that can take advantage of an opponent's mistakes," he said. "We want to be aggressive, but we want to be smart-aggressive and that's where the discipline comes in. We certainly want to stay out of the penalty box, especially for penalties for offsides and things of that nature. An aggressive penalty is aggressive, and those are going to happen. It's the avoidable penalties that we have to stay away from."