The Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team has dominated opponents from Maryland, compiling a 73-13 record under coach Dave Pietramala. One of those teams is UMBC, which has not defeated the Blue Jays in 14 meetings.

The Retrievers (0-1) opened the season with a 17-6 loss to No. 1 and reigning NCAA Division I champion North Carolina a week ago. Despite surrendering the most goals since a 19-7 setback to Johns Hopkins on March 30, 2016, the defense got a pair of impressive displays from sophomore defenseman Jason Brewster and junior long-stick midfielder Billy O'Hara. Brewster caused five turnovers, which leads the nation, and O'Hara added two caused turnovers and seven ground balls, which is the most by a non-faceoff specialist in the country thus far.


No. 9 Johns Hopkins (1-0) beat No. 11 Navy, 15-8, on Tuesday. As explosive as the offense was, the defense gave up just three goals in the second half and one in the final 24 minutes. Senior defenseman Nick Fields had three ground balls and two caused turnovers en route to being named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Week.

Here are a few factors that could play a role in the outcome at Homewood Field on Saturday at 1 p.m.

1. UMBC's starts. The Retrievers' bid for an upset Saturday vanished in the first 10:28 when the Tar Heels scored the game's first eight goals and ended the opening quarter with a 10-1 advantage. Getting off to a strong start is critical against the Blue Jays, who aren't exactly invincible after allowing Navy to post a 3-0 lead just 22 seconds into the second quarter. Coach Ryan Moran wants to see his team play with the kind of energy he has seen in practices.

"I think that's been a point of emphasis all week, not to ease into games," he said. "I don't think it's been an issue at practice, but for some reason or another, other than the Bucknell scrimmage, we kind of got punched first and really fought back and played all those teams really tightly. So I'd like to be able to start out fast and also start the third quarter fast."

2. Johns Hopkins' faceoffs. Pietramala pointed out three areas he wasn't pleased with from Tuesday's win, and one was finishing 12-for-26 on draws. Part of that stemmed from the play of a Midshipmen unit that includes senior Brady Dove (11-for-20 faceoffs and six ground balls), senior long-stick midfielder Matt Rees (four ground balls), and senior short-stick defensive midfielder John Trainor (four ground balls). But Pietramala said the Blue Jays can do a better job of making it difficult for the opponent to claim draws cleanly.

"We've got to be better at getting pressure when we don't win hands. As we call it, when we don't win the faceoff," he said. "Just because you lose the draw doesn't mean that you can't get the ball. That's an area where we need to improve."

3. UMBC's transition defense. Playing against North Carolina gave the Retrievers a taste of matching up against an opponent that tries to take advantage of transition chances, and that experience could prove valuable against the Blue Jays. Moran estimated that only seven of Johns Hopkins' goals Tuesday occurred in a traditional six-on-six set. That means, according to Moran, that UMBC must be aware of the Blue Jays' exploiting unsettled situations for fast and easy goals.

"They are attacking in early offense, but they're not attacking in early offense in what is now considered the more traditional way, with your [defensive] middies dodging up top," Moran said. "They sub quick and then they go right at you. So they get the personnel they want on the field, and as soon as that personnel is on, they're not throwing the ball around in a circle two times. They're definitely attacking right now, and with [senior midfielder John Crawley] and [junior midfielder Joel Tinney], why wouldn't you? Those guys are just really elite players."

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