xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Postscript from Penn State at Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse

When you get the first start of your career, as a goalkeeper, you probably hope for a convincing win. That wasn't the case for Will Ryan, whose debut for the Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team ended with an 11-10 double-overtime win against visiting Penn State at Homewood Field on Saturday night.

But the pressure of sudden-death overtime didn't faze the 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior, who finished with nine saves for the Blue Jays (5-6, 2-1 Big Ten Conference).

Advertisement

"I thought it was a lot of fun," he said. "I thought, as a first start, to have a double-overtime win, it doesn't get much better than that. That was a lot of fun."

Coach Dave Pietramala told Ryan on Thursday morning that he would start instead of redshirt senior Eric Schneider, who had started the team's first 10 games. Pietramala said the initial plan was to split halves between Ryan and Schneider, but Ryan surrendered just three goals and made three stops in the first half, convincing Pietramala to abandon the rotation.

"We did what we needed to do to help the team," Pietramala said. "I thought Will Ryan responded well. But Eric Schneider responded the way you would expect a fifth-year senior captain [to respond]. He was Will Ryan's biggest cheerleader and biggest fan all week. He prepared like a starter, and we were prepared to use both of them."

Pietramala wouldn't say whether Ryan would start Saturday at home against Michigan (5-5, 1-1). "We'll watch the film and we'll see how we feel," Pietramala said.

But Ryan said his status won't change his approach to practice.

"Coach has told me to prepare like a starter every week this year," he said. "So I won't say it came as a surprise, because was I was preparing and ready for it. I was just really happy to get the start."

Circling back to "Three Things to Watch"

1) The first quarter. Penn State's woes, which include a five-game losing skid that has dropped the team to 3-8 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten, have been compounded by slow starts. After falling behind 4-1 in the first quarter, the Nittany Lions have been outscored 40-25 in the opening period. No one is more puzzled by the team's early-game lethargy than coach Jeff Tambroni.

Advertisement

"We've tried," he said. "I'm not sure, I'm honestly not sure. We've tried to change up a lot of different things. I think our guys are trying. It's a credit to them. We're not having a great season, and we were 3-7 coming in, and they're still out here battling on the road and fighting some adversity out here. At the end of the day, I'm extremely proud of them because I did think they fought hard. We'll try to figure out the first quarter and the first half and see if we can't finish up with a strong finish against Rutgers and Michigan and see if we can't turn our fate around a little bit in the next two games."

2) The defensive strategy. Penn State got four goals from senior midfielder Pat Manley (St. Mary's), three from sophomore attackman Mike Sutton and one from sophomore midfielder Nick Aponte, who added three assists. But Blue Jays senior defenseman John Kelly limited Nittany Lions T.J. Sanders to one goal on seven shots and an assist, and the defense used two long-stick midfielders and three short-stick defensive midfielders to contain redshirt sophomore midfielder Matt Florence (zero points) and sophomore attackman Dan Craig (one goal).

"I thought our short-stick defense tonight was a big difference in this game," Pietramala said. "It has not been great. We got some help from [junior short-stick defensive midfielder] Kelton Black. [Sophomore] Travis Wood came in and gave us a lift at the pole. So I thought our defensive midfield was much better tonight, and I thought they made our close defense's job a little bit easier."

3) The man-up offense. Johns Hopkins got five more extra-man opportunities Saturday, adding to the 55 it had amasssed in its first 10 games, but scored only once. The man-up offense had a prime chance when Penn State senior short-stick defensive midfielder Michael Richards was assessed a 30-second penalty for pushing with 2:41 left in the second overtime period. But redshirt sophomore goalie Connor Darcey stoned Blue Jays senior attackman Wells Stanwick's one-timer near the crease. Freshman midfielder Joel Tinney scored the game-winner with seven seconds remaining, but Tinney said the man-up offense still has to finish its opportunities.

"We mixed up our looks a little bit," he said. "We kind of had a sense of what they were going to do. We got our looks. We've just got to bury them a little more. We got stopped on the doorstep a couple times, but overall, we were getting the looks we wanted."

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement