Division I men’s lacrosse preview for Johns Hopkins Blue Jays

Johns Hopkins will rely on Shack Stanwick, seen scoring against Rutgers last season, to pace an offense that averaged 11.6 goals in 2017.

Thursday’s entry is the fourth in a series taking a look at each of the seven Division I programs in this state according to their order of finish from last season. The Baltimore Sun’s men’s lacrosse preview is scheduled to be published Friday, Feb. 9. Wednesday’s visit was with UMBC. This is Johns Hopkins’ turn.

Overview: Courtesy of eight wins through last spring’s first 12 games, the Blue Jays appeared poised to make some waves in the postseason. But they dropped games against archrival Maryland in the regular-season finale, Ohio State in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament, and Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament to finish 8-7 for the second year in a row. Johns Hopkins was picked to finish fourth in the league’s preseason poll.


Reason for optimism: The offense averaged more than 11 goals for the sixth time in the past seven years, and that unit returns three starters in senior attackman Shack Stanwick (26 goals, 21 assists), junior attackman Kyle Marr (25 G, 20 A) and senior midfielder Joel Tinney (19 G, 9 A).

Add sophomore attackmen Forry Smith (14 G, 6 A) and Cole Williams (6 G, 4 A) and senior midfielder Patrick Fraser (12 G, 1 A) and junior midfielder Alex Concannon (3 G, 9 A), and the team could find itself in the top 10 in Division I in scoring.


“I still think we’re developing our personality and who and what we are,” coach Dave Pietramala said. “Defensively, the personnel, some of it is a little bit different and quite frankly, some of it is similar. So where’s our strength? If you’re going to base it off last year, sure, you would obviously say the strength of the team is on the offensive end.”

Reason for pessimism: The overall defense gave up 11.5 goals per game last spring, and the defensive midfield’s deficiencies proved to be a microcosm of the unit’s troubles.

The defensive midfield returns junior long-stick midfielder Robert Kuhn (26 ground balls, six caused turnovers, 6 G, 3 A) and senior short-stick defensive midfielder Tal Bruno (8 GB, 6 CT), but graduated long-pole Austin Spencer (24 GB, 5 CT, 1 G, 1 A) and short-stick defensive midfielder Joe Carlini (5 GB, 3 CT, 8 A). Pietramala is looking for improvement from that group.

“I think it’s an area where we have to prove ourselves,” he said. “I think it’s an area that a year ago we didn’t perform particularly great in. So I think we have some more competition there than we’ve had. The hope is that we have a few more bodies there — and I mean capable bodies there — to maybe take a little bit of the load off of one or two guys, and that’s has been a focal point for us. Walking out of last year and into this year, we want to improve our play at the defensive midfield.”

Keep an eye on: Fairly or unfairly, the spotlight will be trained on senior goalkeeper Brock Turnbaugh.

The Phoenix resident and Hereford graduate is getting pushed by sophomore Jacob Giacalone and freshman Ryan Darby. But Pietramala made it clear who will likely be in the cage when Johns Hopkins opens the season against Towson on Feb. 10.

“Brock is our goalie — plain and simple,” he said. “Brock has performed well. I was pleased with his performance on Saturday [in a scrimmage at High Point]. I’m happy to say that. And we have two other goalies that we feel like have done a good job, and we’ve been pleased with the goaltending we’ve gotten throughout the preseason. It’s been improved from top to bottom.”

What he said: The Blue Jays got bounced from the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament by Duke by a 19-6 score on May 13. Pietramala asked every player to rewatch that game and then share their evaluations with the coaching staff.


“It wasn’t an exercise in futility. It wasn’t an exercise to make anyone feel bad,” he said. “It was an exercise — since we are so far removed from it — to remind them that, ‘Hey, this is what happened at the end of last year. This is why we’re doing all of these things. This is a reminder how important the things we’re talking about — culturally, schematically, the off-field stuff, the weight room, the conditioning — this is why we’re doing all that. These are the mistakes we made. So let’s not make the same ones.’ So you hope you’re going to learn from what happened last year and the mistakes that were made. You hope that it serves as a little bit of motivation and puts a little chip on their shoulders. I did exactly what I asked our team to do, and make no mistake, it upset me, and it was a good reminder why we’re doing the things that we’re doing.”