The No. 18 Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team’s 13-11 loss on Friday to No. 10 North Carolina was exacerbated by three Blue Jays penalties that the Tar Heels converted into man-up goals. But the infractions did not bother coach Dave Pietramala as much as the play of the man-down defense that had killed seven of nine opportunities against Towson and No. 9 Loyola Maryland in the team’s previous two games.
“For us, we have to be more aggressive, and I think we’ve got to do a better job of creating some turnovers or deflections,” he said. “So my disappointment wasn’t really with the number of penalties as much as it was with our man-down play. Carolina did not do anything that we did not expect, and when we shut someone off, how they handled it was not in a fashion that we didn’t expect. I just don’t think we executed very well there.”
One of those transgressions was an unsportsmanlike conduct flag on sophomore attackman Cole Williams for throwing his stick in the air after scoring his third goal of the game in the second quarter. Pietramala said the Marriottsville resident and Loyola Blakefield graduate apologized to his teammates after the game and to Pietramala in a text later that night.
On Saturday, the No. 2 Terps will play No. 8 Notre Dame (2-0) followed by No. 1 Albany (2-0) in College Park and then go on the road against No. 7 Villanova (4-0) and to California to face No. 10 North Carolina (5-0) in successive weekend games.
“Everybody will look at it in a different way than we do,” Pietramala said. “I know that kid. That kid is a good kid. He works his tail off. He’s everything but looking to bring attention to himself. He’s been a frustrated shooter the past couple of games, and he scored a goal, his third goal of the game, with a great shot at a critical point to make it 6-5, and he was excited and he made a mistake in maturity, and now he’ll never make that mistake again.”
Mount St. Mary’s Barber still out
A projected timeline of senior defenseman Daniel Barber returning to the field for the first time this spring by the time the Mountaineers open Northeast Conference play against Bryant on March 17 has been pushed back after an X-ray earlier in the week revealed that the broken bone in the Edgewater resident and Archbishop Spalding graduate’s right foot is healing slower than anticipated.
“He might not be back,” coach Tom Gravante said, referring to the game against the Bulldogs. “I don’t know. We found out this week, and he’s got a follow-up appointment in two more weeks to see if there’s further healing. It’s just not quite there yet. So I can’t make that decision until I hear from the trainers. We’d love to have him back, but it’s just not there yet for him.”
Salisbury getting on ground balls
Coach Jim Berkman does not usually stress out about a rare regular-season loss because the reigning NCAA champion Sea Gulls play one of the most demanding schedules in Division III. But what made Saturday’s 11-10 setback in double overtime to No. 6 Gettysburg especially grating was a minus-8 differential in ground balls.
“I was a little disappointed with a couple of ground balls that we missed that were really big,” he said. “We played eight [video] clips to the guys of ground balls that we won but then were taken away from behind. That’s eight possessions, especially in the second half. It wasn’t like they were stopping us in the second half. We just didn’t have the ball. It was the third quarter, and we just didn’t have many good possessions. It was a long time without the ball in the second half.”
Cleaning up Stevenson’s clears
Except for the final score, No. 15 Stevensonfelt comfortable with many of the numbers produced in Sunday’s 11-10 loss to No. 4 Denison. But if there was one area that coach Paul Cantabene will scrutinize, it’s the clearing game, as the team failed on five of 21 chances.
“I don’t think we showed any rust,” he said. “I just think the one thing we didn’t do well unfortunately, we didn’t clear the ball as well, especially with our middie D’s. I thought our middie D’s really struggled and made some poor choices at times in the clearing. That’s probably the only area that I thought we didn’t do a good job. We kind of missed some open guys and put our middie D’s in some tough situations, and I think [sophomore] Sam [Ross], our goalie, made one poor choice. We’ve just got to do a better job. I think they got six of their 11 goals off second chances. If we can do a better job, we can hold teams better.”
Baltimore Sun's sports writer Ed Lee talks with Georgetown lacrosse player Jake Carraway. (Baltimore Sun video)