SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The two most storied programs in college lacrosse meet for the 51st time at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 16 when No. 11 Syracuse hosts No. 4 Johns Hopkins at the Carrier Dome. The Orange and Blue Jays are the two winningest programs in Division I lacrosse history and they have met at least once every season dating back to 1983. Hopkins holds the edge in the all-time series, 27-22-1.
The Orange is 3-1 this season and 1-0 in the BIG EAST after defeating St. John’s, 13-11, in the inaugural Whitman’s Sampler Independence Classic. Johns Hopkins is 5-1. The Blue Jays are coming off a 13-7 victory against UMBC last Saturday.
Tickets are available online at SUAthletics.com, over the phone (1-888-DOMETIX), or in person at the Carrier Dome Box Office during normal business hours. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for youth ages 12 and under. ‘Cuse Kids Club members get in free with their membership card. Parking is $10.
Saturday’s game represents a clash of two of the top active coaches in the game. Orange mentor John Desko is the Division I active leader in winning percentage at .760. Desko has five national championships and a 174-55 overall record. Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala is fourth in active winning percentage (.725). He has a pair of national championships to his credit and is 166-63 overall.
Desko is 9-9 in head-to-head meetings with Pietramala which includes two matchups when Pietramala was the head coach at Cornell. In addition, both men are alums of the programs they currently lead. Desko played for the Orange from 1976-79 and Pietramala was a star defenseman for the Blue Jays from 1986-89.
LORDS OF THE RING
Syracuse and Johns Hopkins have combined to win nearly half (20) of the 42 NCAA championships since men’s lacrosse became an NCAA-sponsored sport in 1971. The Orange has an NCAA-record 11 titles. Johns Hopkins has nine. Overall, the Blue Jays have appeared in a record 18 NCAA title games and is 9-9 in those contests. Syracuse is second with 16 championship game appearances and is 11-5 in its championship tilts.
The Orange and Blue Jays are the two winningest programs in Division I lacrosse. They boast a combined record of 1,762-620-31 (.737). Johns Hopkins is the only program that currently has more than 900 all-time victories and enters Saturday’s game with 929 wins since it began playing the sport in 1883. Syracuse is second on that list with 833 all-time wins dating back to 1916. The Orange and Blue Jays are the only two Division I programs with more than 800 wins.
MALTZ COMES ALIVE
Junior attackman Derek Maltz (Ashburn, Va.) recorded his first multi-goal game of 2013, scoring three times in SU’s 13-11 win against St. John’s in the Whitman’s Sampler Independence Classic on March 9. It was Maltz’s fifth career hat trick and vaulted him into a tie for the team goals lead (6).
Sophomore attackman Kevin Rice (Skaneateles, N.Y.) has been a solid point producer in his first year as a starter. He has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in four games, good for second on the team. Rice’s seven assists are also second on the club. Rice had a career-high three assists in the opener against Albany and matched it with three helpers versus St. John’s. In addition, he has SU’s biggest goal of the season to date. Rice scored with one minute left in overtime to lift SU to a 9-8 victory over rival Virginia on March 1.
Defensive midfielders Steve Ianzito (Clay, N.Y.) and Matt Pratt (Binghamton, N.Y.) receive little recognition for the work they do, but the pair has contributed significantly to SU’s 3-1 start. Ianzito is tied for third on the team in ground balls (11), and Pratt has six ground balls and three caused turnovers. In addition, they’ve hooked up for goals in two straight games with Ianzito finding Pratt in transition for scores versus Virginia (March 1) and St. John’s (March 9).
SCOUTING THE BLUE JAYS
Johns Hopkins is 5-1 on the season and ranked No. 4 in this week’s USILA Coaches’ Poll. The Blue Jays’ only blemish was an 11-8 loss to Princeton on March 1. Since then they’ve bounced back with consecutive wins against Mount St. Mary’s and UMBC.
Hopkins boasts one of the most productive offenses in the nation. The Blue Jays are third in the NCAA in scoring (14 goals per game) and lead the country in assists per game (9.3) and man-up offense (.586, 17-29). They rank third in shooting percentage (.340, 84-247). Much of their success comes from extra possessions generated by senior Mike Poppleton who is No. 1 nationally in faceoff winning percentage (.732, 82-112).
Attackman Brandon Benn leads the team in goals (18) and ranks second nationally in goals per game (3.6). Position-mate Wells Stanwick is the Blue Jays’ leading scorer with 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists).
Tucker Durkin (14 ground balls, nine caused turnovers), the 2012 Schmeisser Award winner as the country’s top defenseman, and Chris Lightner (12 ground balls) anchor the Blue Jay defense in close. Goalie Pierce Bassett is sixth nationally in save percentage (.600) and ranks eighth in goals-against average (7.33). He has 51 saves on the year.
THE SERIES WITH JOHNS HOPKINS
The Blue Jays own a 27-22-1 advantage in the all-time series. Hopkins dominated the rivalry’s early years, winning 12 of the first 15 meetings. The Orange has been victorious in six of the last eight matchups. The Blue Jays snapped SU’s five-game series winning streak with an 11-7 triumph last season at Homewood Field.
Hopkins is Syracuse’s most familiar postseason foe with the Orange holding an 8-4 advantage in NCAA contests between the two teams. Five of those meetings have come with the championship on the line (1983, 1984, 1985, 1989, 2008). SU is 3-2 against the Blue Jays in title tilts, defeating Hopkins to win NCAA championships in 1983, 1989 and 2008.
UP NEXT …
The Orange will play its first true road game of 2013 when it visits upstart Providence on Tuesday, March 19. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Friar Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.