In the 109th installment of college lacrosse’s greatest rivalry, Maryland will travel to Johns Hopkins with a Big Ten regular season title on the line.
The No. 3 Terps (10-2, 3-1) travel to the iconic Homewood Field having just lost to Ohio State on senior day last Sunday, slipping two spots in the rankings as a result. The No. 7 Blue Jays (9-3, 3-1) come into the game with a hard-earned bounce back win against Michigan last weekend.
“The Rivalry” will highlight a star midfield matchup between seniors Connor Kelly and Joel Tinney. Both midfielders lead their respective offenses in points and were both top-five draft picks in this year’s Major League Lacrosse draft.
“I mean he’s got 28 assists this year, and he’s really a complete player,” head coach John Tillman said. “He’s been a great player for four years and I think Joel has done a nice job of, especially with Shack [Stanwick] going down, getting others involved and finding people that are open.”
Tinney has one more assist on the season than Kelly, who’s 27 helpers this year are more than his first three years combined. One of Kelly’s targets, especially on the man-up, sophomore attackman Jared Bernhardt, was joined alongside Kelly as two of the top-25 player to make the Tewaaraton Award Finalist shortlist.
Stanwick’s fitness is questionable leading into the game after picking up an injury to the midsection against Penn State. Still, offensive shooters like Bryan Cole, Patrick Frazer and Kyle Marr complement Tinney’s playmaking abilities well.
Marr has been on fire in clutch situations recently. The son of Albany’s head coach Scott Marr, Kyle notched a game-winner against Michigan last week and against Rutgers earlier this season.
“He is great, he finds a way to get the ball in the back of the net,” Tillman said of Marr. “He is a guy when he gets his hands free his putting the ball on goal. He’s taken 73 shots, and 44 have been on goal.”
Free-scoring freshman attackman Logan Wisnauskas will look to cancel Marr out with some goals of his own. The Syracuse transfer has 26 goals in 12 games in what has been an impressive rookie campaign, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors three times this year.
The faceoff group hasn’t been as successful, however. Big Ten opponents have fared well against faceoff coach Tyler Barbarich’s men, winning the majority of the faceoffs and possessions from not just their faceoff specialists, but also their wing play.
“Unfortunately, I feel like we are in the same exact spot we were in last year,” Tillman said. “We got in conference and had our struggles in there.”
Tillman said the coordination of wings, fixing individual techniques and working on different game situational plans will be vital to the faceoff group’s success against a tough opponent in Hunter Moreland. Moreland is winning the draw at a 61.4 percent clip and can also pose an offensive threat off the groundball as he’s scored three goals already this season.
Freshman Justin Shockey and junior Austin Henningsen will look to overcome the statistical differences Saturday. After Henningsen’s struggles in the first half, Shockey went 50 percent in the second half against the Buckeyes.
The Terps are currently on a three-game winning streak against Hopkins, historically a difficult streak to keep up. The Blue Jays own the all-time series record, going 64-43-1 in “The Rivalry”.
The atmosphere promises to be electric in Baltimore, as Maryland-Hopkins is one of the highest attended games nationwide each season. Last season, 14,353 fans witnessed Mayland’s 12-5 onslaught of Hopkins.
The two teams will take Homewood Field at 2 p.m. on ESPNU as the winner will secure the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
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