Wednesday, April 23, 2014
When: 7:00 pm Eastern
#5 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (9-3) vs.
Villanova Wildcats (5-7, 3-2)
The Villanova Wildcats (5-7, 3-3) and the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (9-3, 4-1) will square off for the 7th time Wednesday evening. The Blue Jays enter the contest undefeated against the Wildcats in their all-time series. In their last match up in 2002, the Wildcats gave their perennial powerhouse of an opponent all they could handle, but eventually lost in a 10-7 final score.
Blue Jays Download
Another year, another stellar start to the season for the 9-3 Blue Jays. After dropping three games in a row mid-season to highly ranked Syracuse, Virginia, and North Carolina, Johns Hopkins has found their stride. The Baltimore school has since reeled of five consecutive wins, including an 11-6 victory against fourth ranked Maryland. Most recently, the Blue Jays edged out a road contest against Navy with a final score of 6-5. Their recent success landed them at 10th in the NCAA rankings.
Johns Hopkins is able to play, and most importantly win, in a variety of game styles. The Blue Jays outscore their opponents by an impressive four goal margin, averaging 12 scores on offense while only letting up 8 per game. Statistically, this is a team that dominates their foes in nearly every facet of the game. JHU registers a higher shot percentage, conversion percentage, and shots per game by significant margins. Most impressively, the Blue Jays consistently out-pass their opponents, recording 94 assists compared to the opposing team's 54.
The Blue Jays attack is led by a triumvirate of attackers. Wells Stanwick leads the team with 51 points, but does most of his damage through ball movement; the junior boasts an impressive 37 assists. Ryan Brown and Brandon Benn carry the scoring load for Johns Hopkins, netting 33 and 31 goals respectively. Villanova goalkeeper Dan Willis will be tested early and often by this high powered attack.
Defensively, Johns Hopkins is just as impressive. Junior midfielder Drew Kennedy has snagged a staggering 109 groundballs over the course of the season. When the opposing offense does get a chance to attack, senior goalkeeper Eric Schneider is there to corral the shots with a very solid 57% save rate.
Villanova enters the contest after a heartbreaking 11-10 defeat in overtime against Big East rival St. John's. A win against Johns Hopkins would be huge in their late season push for an at-large bid.
Offensively, the Wildcats sport a very balanced attack. Kevin O'Neil's still leads the team with 33 points from 24 goals, seven different Wildcats have scored at least 10 points on the season. Jack Curran, a sophomore out of Fair Haven; NJ, has contributed an impressive 27 points.
For the Wildcats, Dan Willis protects the net. As the Big East action picked up, Willis' goals allowed per game statistic increased to its current status at 9.54 GAA. Still, the freshman collects an impressive 50% of shots on goal. Villanova will be counting on Senior John Locascio to turn in a huge performance on defense. He's proven more than capable of influencing the outcome of a game, forcing 28 turnovers to date.
While they have a tall task ahead of them, this is a game Villanova can certainly win. Earlier in the season against Penn State, the Wildcats struck early and sent the favored Nittany Lions staggering. A similar effort against Johns Hopkins may prove to be enough to pull off the upset.