McDermott has seen it all vs. Terps

Hopkins senior prepared for unexpected Saturday

Men's notebook

College Lacrosse

April 14, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

For Johns Hopkins senior midfielder Joe McDermott, the Blue Jays' overtime win over Maryland last year will probably be the defining game of his college career.

Two years earlier against the Terps, whom the top-ranked Blue Jays will meet on Saturday in the 100th game between the teams, McDermott experienced his most painful game.

As a freshman, McDermott was knocked cold by a quick-sliding defender in front of the Maryland goal. The injury eventually cost him his spot in the Jays' offensive rotation.

He did not start a single game last year for Hopkins - he was eighth on the team in scoring with 21 points - but he was the one that had the ball in his stick when the Blue Jays gained possession in overtime.

McDermott beat Terps short-stick midfielder Paul Gillette around the net before depositing a shot past goalie Danny McCormick with 2:39 left in the first overtime, giving then-No. 1 Hopkins a 6-5 win.

Said McDermott: "[Offensive coordinator] Seth Tierney drew up a play on the chalkboard and, right away, he put my number down there. He instilled some confidence in me that I would make the right play."

"When we called the timeout in overtime and put the personnel on the field and Seth selected Joe McDermott, I said, `We're either going to be heroes here or idiots,' " said Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala. "I think he's been a different player since that night."

After finishing last season strong, McDermott, who also scored against Maryland his sophomore year, has been slowed by a shoulder injury this season. That has contributed to his scoring just one goal in six games, but judging by his record against the Terps, he'll be a factor in some way on Saturday.

"It's definitely been an interesting high and low with Maryland, but both games are in the past," said McDermott. "My chances of playing here at Homewood are coming to an end. I want to make the best of every opportunity I get."

Pulling rank

Maryland's 9-6 loss to Navy on Saturday spoiled what would have been the Blue Jays' and Terps' first matchup as the top two ranked teams in the country since 1979.

Instead, the Blue Jays received the top ranking in this week's Inside Lacrosse media poll, and the Terps fell from No. 1 to 4.

"I don't know what's in the air when you're No. 1 in the country, but there is a lot of pressure," said Terps senior Chris Passavia, a two-time All-American defenseman. "But when it comes to Hopkins, you throw all that out the window. It's just about Hopkins-Maryland. It's about heart. It's about talent."

Nod to the past

Both Maryland and Hopkins will be wearing throwback jerseys in celebration of the 100th game. The Terps will be sporting a the solid red jersey with white numbers from the '70s. The Blue Jays will be wearing light-blue jerseys with white numbers from the late '60s and early '70s.

Following the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off for charity.

X-factor

Forget 100. The magic number in Saturday's game might well be 56 - as in 56 percent.

In the four games in which the Blue Jays (7-1) have won more than 56 percent of their faceoffs, they have outscored their opponents, including Syracuse and Princeton, 61-22.

In the four games in which they've won fewer than 56 percent of their faceoffs - Hopkins' lone loss, to Virginia, was one - their margin was just 34-32.

What percentage of faceoffs has Maryland opponents won?

Fifty-six percent.

Hopkins-Maryland

Matchup: No. 4 Maryland (8-1) vs. No. 1 Johns Hopkins (7-1) in 100th meeting in the series

Site: Homewood Field

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

TV: Ch. 2

Series: Hopkins leads 62-36-1

Tickets: Sold out

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