The 22 turnovers that the No. 14 Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team committed in Saturday’s 12-5 loss at then-No. 12 Loyola Maryland were noteworthy because the total was the program’s highest since 2010 and last year’s squad had the second-fewest giveaways per game in Division I (10.7). But the gaffes were especially alarming to coach Dave Pietramala because of the nature of the turnovers.
“I would say there were more turnovers of our own volition,” he said, noting that at least 17 of those mistakes occurred on offense. “Loyola clearly wanted to be aggressive and wanted to extend a little bit, and that’s nothing that we did not expect. We practiced and prepared for that. But when you’re throwing away easy exchanges, when you’re trying to pass on responsibility to someone else by throwing a bad pass over the head or out of bounds, those are self-inflicted wounds and that’s a lack of focus and a lack of self-discipline.”
And now the Blue Jays (1-1) welcome No. 12 North Carolina to Homewood Field on Friday. Pietramala expects the Tar Heels (3-0) to copy the Greyhounds’ blueprint.
“They’re long, they’re rangy defensively, they like to extend even further than Loyola did,” he said. “So we’ve practiced and planned for that all week long.”
Solid debut for Maryland’s Young
Bryce Young was happy to contribute to No. 3 Maryland’s 13-6 victory over visiting Penn on Wednesday night, making his first start of the season and shutting out sophomore attackman Adam Goldner in six-on-six sets. The senior defenseman had missed the team’s first three games because of an unspecified injury that had him using crutches in the season opener against Navy, but said he did not feel as if he had suffered a setback.
“The injury is good to go,” Young said. “I’m feeling good. It’s day by day, but it felt really good to be back out on the field.”
Loyola’s Huggins confident
Senior defenseman Foster Huggins was named the Patriot League’s Defensive Player of the Week after forcing seven turnovers and picking up three ground balls in Loyola’s victory over Johns Hopkins. Five of those takeaways involved Huggins either intercepting passes or knocking them down, and coach Charley Toomey said the defender has a knack for making plays midair.
“When you’ve got enough confidence to know that you can support a dodger up top and yet be out and ready to play your attackman as he catches the ball, it’s going to create a couple more opportunities because you are a little bit closer,” Toomey said. “I think that’s what we’re seeing with Foster right now. He’s playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. He doesn’t feel like someone’s going to catch it and just quickly run by him. He’s able to be a little bit closer when they receive the ball and sometimes that puts you in a position to maybe get a pass or a lazy pass.”
No rush for Towson’s Miller: For the second game in a row, senior goalkeeper Josh Miller replaced redshirt freshman Shane Brennan on Saturday. But this time, Miller helped the Tigers cement a 15-13 win over Mount St. Mary’s. Miller, who made eight saves and allowed nine goals in the victory, has been coming off the bench despite starting eight games last season.
“I’m used to the fight,” Miller said. “I went through it last year with Matt Hoy, and I’m going through it this year with Shane Brennan. He’s keeping me on my toes, and I’m keeping him on his. It was just a tough start for him, but I’m right there behind him to pick up where he was. It’s just part of the position and the nature of the game.”
UMBC’s faceoff woes
The Retrievers have won only 35.3 percent of their faceoffs (12-for-34) in their first two games, and their lack of success was highlighted in Saturday’s 7-5 loss at Navy when they went 3-for-15. Coach Ryan Moran called the faceoff play “more of a weakness than anything else on our team.”
“We need to make some great improvements in the faceoff game,” he said. “It’s a position that requires a ton of practice and a ton of attention to detail and situational awareness, and we’re trying to get those reps in practice to improve at it.”
Mount’s youth on display
Mount St. Mary’s has dropped its first three games of the season by a combined nine goals, which is of some consolation to coach Tom Gravante. But he recognized that moral victories only go so far.
“A loss is a loss,” he said. “The one thing I can’t take from them, which I’m very proud of them for, is their effort and their energy. They stand and fight. But until we learn to manage ourselves a little bit better and take care of the ball and the discipline of fundamentals, the results are going to be the same. So change has to be made on their end, and we’re going to support them and put them in practice situations that will help them make changes.”