Johns Hopkins' Preview for the 2013 Lacrosse Season

Johns Hopkins begins the 2013 campaign ranked as the No. 4 team in the USILA Preseason Coaches' Poll (with one first-place vote and tied at the fourth spot with North Carolina). Head coach Dave Pietramala's Blue Jays begin play on Friday, hosting the Siena Saints in a 5:00 pm match. Here is JHU's preview for the season.

Attack

Johns Hopkins returns an experienced group of players on attack in 2013, as two primary starters and two other players with starting experience are back in the fold; this is also an area where a newcomer has flashed the ability to contribute immediately.

Senior Zach Palmer is the top returning player as he's been a mainstay in the lineup since arriving at Hopkins. He possesses the ability to pass and initiate and specializes in highlight-reel goals, several of which have landed him a spot on SportsCenter in the last two years.

Palmer punched up 27 goals and 26 assists last season to become just the eighth player at JHU since 1980 to go for 25 and 25. With career totals of 59 goals and 56 assists, he is JHU's active career leader in all three categories and regularly draws the opposition's top defenseman. His ability to run the offense and force the pace when available with new rules in place designed to speed the pace of play will be a key to the Blue Jay offense this season.

The main beneficiary of Palmer's ability to find the open man in traffic is junior Brandon Benn, who led the team in goals (30) and finished second in points (37) last season. He works the high slot area to perfection and is adept at handling the ball in traffic. He enjoyed some of his finest games last season against top competition as he totaled nine combined goals against Virginia, Syracuse and North Carolina and his ability to finish at a high rate makes it difficult for teams to slide off of him.

Sophomore Wells Stanwick and senior John Kaestner both return after gaining starting experience last season, when then-senior Chris Boland was lost for several games to an injury.

Stanwick led all Blue Jay freshmen in goals (9), assists (14) and points (23) a year ago and should only continue to improve with additional experience (he also missed several games with an injury). He demonstrated the ability to get to the goal and has great awareness and game sense and the chemistry between he, Palmer and Benn continues to grow.

Kaestner played in 10 games and earned four starts a year ago and sparked the Blue Jays' 10-8 win at Princeton with two fourth-quarter goals. Amazingly, he had never taken a shot in his career prior to that game, but responded well when called upon. He and Palmer are the only two seniors on a deep attack unit.

Regardless of who fills the third starting spot on attack, it's likely that offensive coordinator Bobby Benson will take advantage of the varied skills of his returning players to best position the offense to succeed.

Freshman Ryan Brown has quickly earned the trust of the coaching staff and figures to find a spot in the rotation early this season. He can shoot with range, finishes well in traffic and almost certainly will find a spot on the extra-man unit early in the season. He could also come through the box at times with a midfield unit to take advantage of certain situations.

Other players who are battling for time on attack include junior Kevin Interlicchio, sophomore Brady Faby and freshmen Mike Morris and Liam Giblin.

Midfield

Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse coach Dave Pietramala has seen a lot during his 12 seasons as the head coach of the Blue Jays and more than 25-year association with college lacrosse dating back to his playing days at Homewood. That said, the 2013 season is likely to be different than anything he's experienced before.

1 2 3 4 5    Next  »

2013-02-07



Create a free lacrosse website