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Maryland men’s lacrosse vs. Johns Hopkins preview: ‘The Rivalry’ returns

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A Big Ten regular season title is on the line in the series’ 115th installment.

NCAA Lacrosse: Semifinals - Johns Hopkins Blue Jays vs. Maryland Terrapins Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland and Johns Hopkins don’t need a flashy catchphrase to validate the storied history between them.

Dubbed simply as “The Rivalry,” it’s a fitting homage to the understood magnitude of this matchup. For the sake of perspective, imagine the college lacrosse equivalent of Ohio State and Michigan playing football, combined with Maryland’s statewide love for the sport of lacrosse.

Saturday’s game marks the 115th time these two will play, with the first matchup dating back to 1892. For some context, that’s roughly 10 years before Teddy Roosevelt was elected president.

While the Blue Jays own the overall series 62-42-1, head coach John Tillman has coached a couple big wins over Hopkins as of late. Last year, Maryland topped the Blue Jays on their home turf in Baltimore to win the Big Ten regular season outright. They also met in the 2015 NCAA Tournament semifinals, where the Terps won 14-7 to move on to the NCAA Championship game.

No. 5 Maryland (9-3) is coming off an overtime loss to Ohio State, while No. 8 Johns Hopkins has won four of its last five to move into a three-way tie atop the Big Ten standings.

There are a lot of scenarios that can play out this weekend, but if the Terps want to have a chance of claiming the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament, they have to beat Hopkins.

Game Info:

When and where: Saturday, April 29th, 8 p.m. at Maryland Stadium

How to watch: Big Ten Network | 1300 FM / 570 AM | TuneIn App (or go)

No. 8 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (8-4, 3-1)

Head coach Dave Pietramala. After taking the reigns in 2000 from a program that had lost its direction, Peitramala is one of college lacrosse’s best. The all-time winningest coach in school history, the former standout Blue Jays defender has brought the program two national titles and seven Final Four appearances.

Players to Know

No. 13 Kyle Marr, sophomore, attack. After a promising freshman campaign, Marr has shouldered the weight of the Blue Jays’ attack. He’s the leading scorer with 24 goals on the season, and sealed the overtime win against Loyola with an unassisted game-ending dagger.

No. 31 Hunter Moreland, junior, faceoff. The Blue Jays struggled in the beginning of the season at faceoffs, but have found some success with the emergence of Moreland. The Boys Latin alum made his first start of the season against Syracuse, and has since been the unit’s best option at the X, coming into Saturday’s matchup with a .587 winning percentage.

No. 55 Joel Tinney, junior, midfield. After missing his sophomore year, he’s back and doing it all for the Blue Jays. Tinney is Hopkins’ most well-rounded player, with 17 goals, 30 ground balls, five assists and six caused turnovers.

Strengths

A well-rounded attack. Hopkins’ attack is very similar to that of the Terps, in the sense that there are two workhorses in Marr and Shack Stanwick, with a plethora of threats that can do damage in any given game. The Blue Jays have eight players with double-digit scoring totals, and they don’t rely on any one alpha scorer.

Late-game adversity. A couple miscues, and there’s a good chance the Blue Jays are sitting at 6-6 on the season with a chance of missing the NCAA Tournament. Hopkins is 2-1 in overtime games, earning sudden-death wins over No. 18 Loyola and Virginia.

Using the ‘Ride’ to stop clears. It’s sometimes a forgotten part of the game, but clearing the ball from a team’s defensive to offensive zone is no cake walk. Hopkins has limited opponents to a .838 success rate on clears, a great indication of their willingness to play all facets of the game.

Weaknesses

The faceoff. The Terps might finally catch a break at the faceoff this week. The unit has struggled as of late, but Hopkins presents a perfect opportunity to have a bounceback performance. Moreland has been a welcomed addition here, but Hopkins collectively still holds a sub-.500 winning percentage.