When Maryland joined the Big Ten, it was looked at with a raised eyebrow from lacrosse people. Would Maryland still be able to play some of their old ACC rivals? How could they create rivalries in a league that had next to no tradition? What could the Big Ten do to solve that last question. Answer: Enter Johns Hopkins. Despite all of the memories and terrific games Maryland played against Duke, Carolina, and Virginia there was one rival and one rivalry that meant a little bit more. The rivalry that was THE game on Maryland's schedule every year. Johns Hopkins. The Terps and Blue Jays have faced off 111 times. It was a rivalry that no fan on either side wanted to lose. So the Big Ten did the smart move of adding JHU into the conference as an affiliate member for lacrosse. And so they'll once again meet this season, this time as conference members. The Terps looking to seal a Big Ten Regular Season title, and the Blue Jays looking to beat an old rival and maybe keep hope alive of a spot in the big barbecue.
The last two seasons have seen the Blue Jays inflict quite a lot of punishment on Maryland's defense, primarily through a two man game and feeds to the crease with their attack. The last two years it has been used by Wells Stanwick and Brandon Benn. Stanwick would trade passes with an attackmen behind the cage - in 2013 it was Zach Palmer, in 2014 it was occasionally Ryan Brown - before attacking from Goal Line Extended. His speed and ability to score it himself would draw a defensemen on a slide and therefore leave Benn open. Benn, an incredible inside finisher, would score. Stanwick also took it to the rack himself multiple times, as he's often had the edge athletically over the man guarding him. This kind've style, with the offense initiated down low, has generally been a spot of bother for the Terps. The good news? Brandon Benn graduated last year. And this has seen a change in the Blue Jays style.
Stanwick is still the conductor of this JHU offense, but the best player is undoubtedly Ryan Brown. The guy who holds in my opinion the best shot in college lacrosse has 43 goals on the season, which is good for 6th in the country. He's a pure sniper who will shoot from anywhere and score from anywhere. He's an attackmen who you'll often see pop up anywhere on the field, including the midfield. Maryland had troubles with a guy like that last week - Ohio State's Jesse King - but Brown isn't likely to dodge and feed. He's going to shoot the ball. And while it's great for Hopkins to have that kind of player...it hasn't always been conducive to an all-around efficient Blue Jays offense. Let me share some numbers with you.
- Hopkins vs Ohio State: 12 goals scored. Eight from Ryan Brown
- Hopkins vs Rutgers: 9 goals scored, Four from Ryan Brown
- Hopkins vs Penn State: 11 goals scored, Five from Ryan Brown