The Johns Hopkins and Loyola men's lacrosse teams will resume their storied "Battle of Charles Street" rivalry Feb. 17 in a game that could eventually prove critical toward the postseason.
The No. 12 Greyhounds dropped their opener, 13-12, in double overtime to No. 10 Virginia Feb. 10. Loyola can get back on track and potentially boost its RPI ranking with a victory against the Blue Jays, who surged into the top 10 with a dominant 14-6 victory against Towson Feb. 10.
It was an impressive performance for Johns Hopkins, but head coach Dave Pietramala admits the team is still a work in progress.
"We got a long way to go," Pietramala said. "I'm not interested in sending a message to anyone else. I'm interested in us continuing to improve every single day."
Johns Hopkins' overhauled defense, led by goalie Brock Turnbaugh (Hereford), came up big against the Tigers. The Blue Jays will face a bigger challenge against the Greyhounds' high-powered offense and junior attackman Pat Spencer, who had three goals against the Cavaliers.
Spencer (Boys' Latin) is on the USILA Preseason Player of the Year Watch List and has recorded two or more points in all but two of his 35 games at Loyola. He also has 20 multi-goal games and 25 multi-assist outings. He is the NCAA Division I active career leader in assists (3.1) and is third in points per game (5.05).
Spencer will garner a lot of attention from Johns Hopkins' defensemen.
Loyola and Army West Point are the only two teams from the Patriot League ranked in the top 20 this week. The Greyhounds, however, are picked to win the Patriot League by the conference coaches, and that carries an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Loyola could also bolster its resume by winning some key nonconference games, starting this week against the Blue Jays.
The Big Ten has five teams -- Maryland, Ohio State, Johns Hopkins, Rutgers and Penn State -- in the top 20. As a result, the Blue Jays will have plenty of opportunities to make a statement for the NCAA Tournament via that Big Ten schedule.
Loyola and Johns Hopkins first began playing one another in lacrosse in 1939, when the Blue Jays came away with a 20-1 victory. Since then, The Blue Jays have dominated the rivalry, holding a 48-6 edge. The Greyhounds, though, have won three of the past four matchups.
Last season, Johns Hopkins snapped a three-game losing streak against Loyola when Joel Tinney scored with 2:13 into the first overtime to provide a 14-13 victory. That game featured four ties in the final 18 minutes of regulation.
Expect another highly contested match this time around.
No. 2 Maryland at High Point, Feb. 17 at noon
The Terps already flexed their muscle as the defending national champions with two dominant victories against Navy and Marist. Maryland should also roll over High Point before heading into a more challenging portion of its schedule.
Mount St. Mary's at No. 19 Towson, Feb. 17 at noon
Both the Mountaineers and Tigers are looking to bounce back from losses in their respective regular-season openers. Towson's usually stout defense showed holes during a 14-6 loss to Johns Hopkins. The attack also struggled to make plays. Mount St. Mary's dropped a 16-12 decision to Delaware on the road Feb. 10. If the offense can keep rolling, the Mountaineers are capable of picking up a signature win against the Tigers.
UMBC at Navy, Feb. 17 at 1:30 p.m.
The Retrievers picked up a big 9-6 win against No. 20 Richmond in the opener Feb. 10. That will be a boost to their RPI ranking. UMBC got a huge performance from freshman goalie Tommy Lingner, who saved 13 of 15 shots after entering the game midway through the first quarter. Navy needs to get its season back on track after losing to Jacksonville and Maryland to open the season. The Midshipmen are playing without face-off specialist Joe Varello, who has been suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed rules violation.
Stevenson (D-III) is idle this weekend. The Mustangs open the 2018 season Feb. 25 vs. Denison.
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