Homewood Field in Baltimore is one of the more tradition-rich sites for men's lacrosse, and more than one opponent challenging Johns Hopkins has felt slightly intimidated by the venue, the nine NCAA championship banners and the blue- and white-clad crowd.
But after scoring a 10-9 decision against the Blue Jays at Homewood on April 5, 2013, Albany – which will pay another visit on Friday at 7 p.m. – has no qualms about entering enemy territory.
"We have a lot of guys who played last year and are playing again this weekend, knowing that they can step onto that field and can play well and can compete with them," said Great Danes coach Scott Marr, a former attackman at Johns Hopkins and former offensive coordinator at Maryland. "If you look at our schedule so far, we go to overtime with Syracuse, which we really had a chance to win at the end of the game, we go to UMass and win 25-10, and we go to Penn State and win 17-10. So we've played probably our best games on the road. So playing on the road kind of gives us that feeling of it's just us against them, us against the crowd. Going into Syracuse last year and winning and going into Homewood and winning, we're a confident group. We definitely feel like we can play with anybody as long as they're willing to play the game with us."
While No. 19 Albany (4-4) has alternated wins and losses in its last five game, the No. 10 Blue Jays (5-3) are in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Marr suspects that Johns Hopkins will be motivated to end that skid against the Great Danes.
"I think they're going to come out swinging," he said. "I think they're going to come out playing hard. I know [head] coach [Dave] Pietramala and [assistant coaches Bill] Dwan and [Bobby] Benson pretty well, and I don't think they're going to come out cold. I think they're going to come out as hard as they can and try to take it to us."