xml:space="preserve">

If junior attackman Shack Stanwick is forced to miss any time, Johns Hopkins got a glimpse of what the offense could look like without him in Saturday's 19-9 thrashing of visiting Michigan at Homewood Field.

Stanwick, the Baltimore resident and Boys' Latin graduate who leads the team in assists (18) and ranks second in goals (21) and points (39), appeared to injure his left foot around the 11-minute mark of the second quarter. Despite limping considerably, he continued to play until halftime, but was on the sideline for the entire second half.

Advertisement

Stanwick's injury opened the door for freshman attackman Forry Smith, who responded with two goals in the third quarter and one assist in the fourth. Although coach Dave Pietramala did not have an update on Stanwick's health after the game, he praised Smith's fill-in performance.

"He did a good job," Pietramala said. "… He didn't turn the ball over. The key is that they get to the right spots, that they move the ball to the right places, and when there's an opportunity to cash in, you cash in. Forry Smith's a talented young player. It's no surprise that he has some success. We were playing him earlier in the year. So it's not like he hasn't seen significant time. As it is, he just saw some more today."

Sophomore attackman Kyle Marr, who shone as the offensive hero with three goals and six assists, said Stanwick's absence was noted.

"Yeah, you definitely miss him," Marr said. "He's a great player, but anytime a guy goes out, it's just the next guy up. We've got a lot of talent on this team and a lot of depth, and I think that when a guy goes down, nobody wants him to go down, but the next guy is ready, and it's his turn, and he wants to step up. I think Forry stepped up in a big way."

Circling back to "Three Things to Watch"

1) Shooting efficiently. Johns Hopkins, which entered the game shooting 30.5 percent, finished with a 42.2 percent conversion rate on 19-for-45 shooting. Five of those goals occurred on man-up chances, but the Blue Jays were able to take advantage of gaps in Michigan's defense – sometimes rotating the ball around the perimeter for an open shooter or penetrating the defense for a shot or an extra pass. The team's 14 assists marked a season high, and Wolverines coach John Paul said Johns Hopkins' offensive depth is difficult to match even without Marr's showing.

"They've got a lot of guys there that can finish," he said. "If you're throwing it to open guys, you're going to get some assists. But [Marr] is a great player, he's a great kid. We recruited him a little bit. I like Kyle a lot. It's a sign of how efficient and how good their offense is, which they always are. If one guy's not doing it, someone else can."

2) Turning aggression into an advantage. Michigan entered the game having been in a Division I-high 58 man-down situations, and Johns Hopkins pounced. The team's extra-man offense that was tied with No. 1 Syracuse for the national lead with a 56.3 percent conversion rate scored on all five man-up chances including going 3-for-3 in the second quarter when the Blue Jays raced to a 9-3 lead at halftime. Pietramala was grateful for the unit's success under the watchful eye of offensive coordinator Bobby Benson.

"Special teams are huge, and we put a lot of time into special teams," he said. "Whether it's man-down or faceoffs or man-up, we spend three to four days a week on it. Coach Benson and the offensive guys have done a great job of playing selfless. I'm pleased we did that without Shack in the second half because he didn't play in the second half. I'm pleased we were able to insert someone else in there and still be productive on extra-man. Those are huge goals for us. They're back-breaking."

3) Raising the emotional stakes. Michigan was only 1-12 in the Big Ten in regular-season games, but changing that trend did not appear to be enough of a motivation. The Wolverines found themselves trailing 3-0 in the first nine minutes, and even though they closed out the first quarter with a pair of goals, Johns Hopkins scored the first four of the second period to put the game out of reach. Slow starts have been a problem, according to Paul.

"I think if we can get to halftime close, I think we could be in much better shape," he said. "Our guys, their confidence isn't super high right now the last couple weeks. We need to make the plays early to give us the confidence going into the second half. Credit to Hopkins. They made the plays to get that lead, and they made it tough for us to recover from that."

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement