Johns Hopkins’ path to the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament is still rocky, but the road to the Big Ten playoffs is not as treacherous as initially thought.
Among eight possible scenarios involving all three Big Ten games this weekend, the Blue Jays (6-6, 2-2 Big Ten) would earn a spot in the league tournament in seven of them. They would be left out of the four-team field at Rutgers on May 2 and May 4 only if they lose to No. 2 Maryland, Michigan falls to No. 10 Ohio State, and No. 1 Penn State suffers an upset by the Scarlet Knights.
But a loss on Saturday at 7 p.m. to the Terps (11-2, 3-1) at Maryland Stadium in College Park would mean that Johns Hopkins would have to win the Big Ten tournament to guarantee a berth in the NCAA playoffs. Either way, coach Dave Pietramala said the team can’t afford to be distracted by anything outside of getting a victory over Maryland.
“We’ve allowed opportunities to slip away, and this here is another one,” he said. “But our focus can’t be all the what-ifs. Our focus needs to be, we’ve got to fix the issues that we have and focus on preparing for a very talented Maryland team and trying to go out and earn a victory in that game. That needs to be our focus. We can’t look down the line. Everybody here knows what could happen. Everybody knows the scenarios. We can’t focus on those things.”
The Terps have won four of the past five games against the Blue Jays, but the last meeting on May 5 ended with Johns Hopkins celebrating a 13-10 victory and its second Big Ten tournament crown in four years.
“I think everybody is going to be excited about playing in this game,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “I would think they would be excited regardless of their record. With other factors in play, I think everybody’s going to be aware of that, and that can add some extra motivation. But I still feel like at the end of the day, it’s Hopkins-Maryland and there’s going to be a ton of motivation just from the nature of the game. When you add those other factors, you have to believe that everybody’s going to be dialed in and ready to go.”
Nutritional changes catalyst for UMBC women’s Tolino
Carly Tolino’s first year as the full-time starting goalkeeper has mirrored UMBC’s season: a strong start followed by a slide before trending upwards once again.
The senior leads the America East Conference in save percentage (.478), ranks third in saves per game (9.6), and earned her third conference Defensive Player of the Week award. Tolino credited improved hand-eye coordination and footwork in the crease to a low-carb, high-fat diet she began last spring that helped her shed 70 pounds.
“I committed myself over the summer not only just to lacrosse, but my overall well-being,” she said. “I took care of my nutrition, and I think that put me on track for this year. … It’s really rewarding. Everything that I put in is paying off in a positive way, which is really nice to see.”
McNallen saves faceoff day for Towson men
When senior Alex Woodall was forced out of Saturday’s game against No. 20 Delaware in the first quarter because of an apparent bloodied lip, it seemed No. 13 Towson’s 15-game streak of double-digit faceoff wins was in jeopardy. But Jack McNallen filled the void.
After winning seven of nine draws with three ground balls in three games, the junior went 14-for-23 and scooped up a game-high nine ground balls in the Tigers’ 14-12 win. McNallen acknowledged feeling somewhat nervous after watching Woodall, the Annapolis native and St. Mary’s graduate, win all five of his faceoffs with four ground balls.
“But I just knew that I had to take it one at a time and try to win each one,” he said. “I lost the first one, but I just kept my head and tried to make that a short memory. … It makes me feel really good, knowing that I could do that when I’ve been the backup all season and taking limited reps here and there.”
Allison nearing freshman record for McDaniel women
Kealey Allison did not envision the debut she has been enjoying for McDaniel. The freshman midfielder leads the offense in goals (41) and points (44) and ranks third in the Centennial Conference in goals.
Allison ranks third in Green Terror history in goals by a freshman, trailing only Danielle Entrot (51 goals in 2012) and Sandi Stevens (46 in 1986) with one game left in the regular season. In hindsight, her three-goal outburst in a season-opening 18-11 loss at St. Mary’s might have been a sign of things to come.
“I remembered that I scored the first goal of that game and I think it was [midfielder] Lindsey Farrell, who is a senior and came up to me after, and she was like, ‘Kealey, you’re not a freshman anymore. Keep doing your thing,’” Allison recalled. “That just really clicked in my head. I’m still a freshman, but on the field, I can’t act like a freshman, and I just kept playing.”
With 11 ground balls in the No. 8 Loyola Maryland men’s 13-9 win at then-No. 17 Army West Point on Saturday, sophomore faceoff specialist Bailey Savio raised his season total to 107 ground balls, passing the previous school record of 106 set by Peter Haas in 1998.
» With a career-high 14 draw controls in the No. 15 Navy women’s 21-5 pasting of Lafayette on Saturday, freshman Reagan Roelofs has 105 draw controls this season to rank sixth in a single season and eighth all-time at Navy.
» The Stevenson women boasted a pair of notable accomplishments. Senior defender Gabby DiGello’s six caused turnovers in Saturday’s 22-4 rout of Arcadia tied the program’s single-game record. And with four goals in Wednesday’s 14-3 thrashing of Messiah, junior midfielder Carly Bowes has 59 goals, breaking the school’s previous single-season mark of 56 set by Olivia Monteiro in 2017.