“The Rivalry” is reignited when No. 3 Maryland men’s lacrosse takes on No. 7 Johns Hopkins this Saturday.
The Terps are fresh off a win over then-No. 9 Rutgers, in which they led comfortably the entire game.
Neither team scored in the first six minutes, but then the Terps got rolling, scoring four goals before the end of the first quarter.
The Scarlet Knights got on the board in the second quarter, but Maryland had an answer for each of their four goals, and maintained its four-goal lead heading into the second half.
The third quarter was a reflection of the first half as Maryland held the Scarlet Knight’s offense in check.
Rutgers made things interesting in the final period, but its three unanswered goals weren’t enough to overpower the Terps, who escaped Sunday’s contest with an 11-8 victory.
Maryland and Johns Hopkins each have a 3-1 conference record, so Saturday’s winner will most likely be crowned the Big Ten regular-season champion. The game will air at 6 p.m. on Big Ten Network.
Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (10-4, 3-1 Big Ten)
2022 record: 7-9, 2-3 Big Ten
Head coach Peter Milliman is in his third season with the program after a seven-year stint at Cornell. In his first season, Milliman led the Blue Jays to their third consecutive Big Ten championship game appearance, but they fell to Maryland. Johns Hopkins tallied three additional wins in his second year, but its season was yet again ended by the Terps in the postseason.
Things are different this year, though. The Blue Jays have their first winning record under Milliman and steamrolled through much of the Big Ten, defeating Ohio State, Rutgers and Michigan. With more than the crab-shaped “Rivalry Trophy” on the line, expect Johns Hopkins to give Maryland its best shot.
“We’re gonna have our hands full,” head coach John Tillman said. “Kind of like every year it seems like with this game.”
Players to watch
Garrett Degnon, graduate attackman, No. 40 — Degnon was the only Blue Jay to make an all-conference team last year, and for good reason. He led the team in goals (40) while also tacking on seven assists, 20 ground balls and five caused turnovers. Degnon is having a similar season this year, tallying 32 goals and three assists, but has been much more efficient with a .360 shooting percentage.
Jacob Angelus, senior attackman, No. 23 — Angelus has been a consistent starter for the Blue Jays since his sophomore season, but has taken it to the next level this year. The attackman is eighth in the country in assists per game (2.69) and has committed just 17 turnovers. Angelus leads the team in total points (47) and will be Johns Hopkins’ main facilitator on Saturday.
Alex Mazzone, graduate defender, No. 6 — Mazzone spent the previous four years at Georgetown, and is now a key piece in the Blue Jays’ defense. He has started in all 14 games, recording a team-high 57 ground balls. Mazzone plays both close defender and long-stick midfielder for Johns Hopkins.
Experience. Johns Hopkins is loaded with experience. Nine of the Blue Jays’ 10 starters are upperclassmen, four of whom were starters last year. Maryland, on the other hand, has been relying on its youngsters as of late. With discrepancy in experience, the magnitude of the contest may weigh in the Blue Jays’ favor.
Success against Maryland. While the Blue Jays hold a 67-49-1 all-time record against Maryland, they haven’t defeated the Terps since 2019, a year before Milliman’s tenure. The two teams did not meet in 2020 due to COVID-19, but Maryland beat Johns Hopkins in both the regular season and Big Ten Tournament in 2021 and 2022. With the Terps’ recent dominance, it will be interesting to see if Johns Hopkins has the mental fortitude to overcome Maryland.
Three things to watch
1. Can Maryland clean up the turnovers? The Terps posted 20 turnovers last weekend against Rutgers, their second highest mark of the season. Eight of them came during the final period when Maryland was playing keep-away, which resulted in the Scarlet Knights making the game closer than it should have been.
2. Another defensive battle. Similar to last week’s game against Rutgers, Maryland — an elite defense in its own regard — is tasked with taking on a top-20 defense. Johns Hopkins ranks 20th in the nation in goals allowed per game (11) and 44th in caused turnovers per game (7.4). The Terps rank 13th in goals allowed per game (10.3) and 35th in caused turnovers per game (8). In a game that is bound to get physical, this could be another low-scoring affair for Maryland.
3. A battle for the Big Ten regular-season title. Both Maryland and Johns Hopkins will compete for the Big Ten regular-season title this Saturday. The winner of the matchup is guaranteed a stake to the title, with Penn State’s game against Rutgers potentially determining if there will be a lone champion. If Penn State defeats Rutgers, then there will be co-champions, but if Penn State loses, Maryland or Johns Hopkins will win it all.
“The significance of what’s at stake just adds to [the rivalry],” Tillman said. “Our kids are well aware of what the situation is.”