Men's Lacrosse

Syracuse men’s lacrosse opponent preview: What to know about No. 14 Johns Hopkins

Ally Moreo | Photo Editor

Syracuse will be playing its second straight road game after playing at home the first four games of the season.

The latest installment of the storied Syracuse-Johns Hopkins rivalry will unfold Saturday afternoon at Homewood Field in Baltimore, where the No. 14 Blue Jays host the No. 6 Orange at 4 p.m. Four of Syracuse’s (4-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) five games this season have been decided by one goal. Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins (4-2), which burst out to a 4-0 start highlighted by a dominant 13-5 victory at then-No. 3 North Carolina, has lost two straight games.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of Saturday’s matchup.

All-time series: Johns Hopkins leads, 29-25-1

Last time they played: In Week 6 last year, Syracuse jumped out to a 4-0 lead, outshot JHU by 10 and picked up eight more ground balls. Yet the Orange committed 14 turnovers and blew its four-score lead on a rebound goal in the overtime heart-breaker for its first loss of 2016.

Manlius native Cody Radziewicz, on this year’s second midfield, scored three times for Hopkins. SU was led in scoring by Nick Mariano, who also scored three times, and Sergio Salcido (two goals), Jordan Evans (one) and Matt Lane (one).

The Johns Hopkins report: Hopkins’ biggest question entering 2017 concerned replacing Ryan Brown, who finished his career as one of the most prolific scorers at the game’s most storied program. Five players have scored at least eight goals in Hopkins’ midfield-based offense, which thrives when junior midfielder Joel Tinney gets in transition and creates.

The 2016 Third Team All-American ranks third on the team in points (12) and third in ground balls (14). JHU head coach Dave Pietramala said Tinney has played on the wings and defense “almost too much,” leading to suppressing what he can do offensively.

Alongside Tinney is senior midfielder John Crawley (team-high 11 goals) and junior Patrick Fraser (six goals). At attack, Wilkins Dismuke and Kyle Marr have combined for 17 goals. Overall, the Blue Jays don’t fall in the top 10 of any of the major statistical categories, including offense (tied-17th), defense (tied 37th), face-off winning percentage (tied 59th) and ground balls per game (51st).

“We’ve got to be more assertive,” Pietramala said. “More aggressive in our dodges. We need more facilitation, more guys to step up.”

Senior defender Nick Fields is JHU’s most improved player. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder finished second on the team in forced turnovers and ground balls a year ago. This season, he leads a brand new defense with Michigan graduate transfer Gerald Logan in goal and two other defenders in their first years as starters.

“He’s really answered the bell in terms of his leadership,” Pietramala said. “We’ve asked him to cover a guy who’s 6-foot-6 against Navy, then he covered a guy who’s half the size.”

How Syracuse beats Johns Hopkins: If the last four games are any indication, this one will come down to the wire. Whether it’s an upstate counterpart down Interstate 90 (Albany), an unranked in-state foe (Army), a Top 10 ACC rival (Virginia) or one of the least potent teams in the country (St. John’s), Syracuse finds a way to make it neck-and-neck in the final minutes.

Hopkins, off of two straight losses, returns home for the first time since a 14-13 overtime victory over neighborhood rival Loyola in February. Striking first could give SU a buffer for defensive lapses late. The Orange’s No. 11 offense and fifth-ranked clearing percentage have, in many ways, carried it thus far. Big games from Mariano, Evans, Salcdio and Brendan Bomberry would likely equal a win.

Plus, conditions will be much more favorable to offense than they were last week in New York. In Syracuse’s first road game of 2017, unranked St. John’s nearly upset SU in frigid temperatures. The teams combined for 30 turnovers and played extended periods without scores. Saturday in Baltimore, temperatures are forecasted to sit in the low 50s and humidity in the 60- to 65-percent range. Both offenses are balanced and should benefit from the weather.

Statistics to know:

6 — Number of wins for Syracuse in its last nine meetings with JHU

1921 — Year the Hopkins-Syracuse matchup began. The teams have met each year since 1980.

4 — Unanswered goals Syracuse scored to start last year’s game at Hopkins before the Blue Jays climbed back to win in overtime

Player to watch: Shack Stanwick, attack, No. 32

The Baltimore-area native, who attended the same high school (Boys Latin) as SU sophomore attack Devin Shewell and freshman attack Logan Wisnauskas, extended his consecutive points streak to 39 games, which is tied for seventh-longest in the nation. Stanwick operates from behind the goal and represents one of the country’s top facilitators. Last season on the wing, he scored 20 goals and had 38 assists, two of which came against Syracuse, earning him First Team All-Big Ten honors. Much of the Hopkins offense flows through the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder.

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