[Note: I misspelled the name of Niko Amato, Maryland's redshirt sophomore goalkeeper, in the original draft. My apologies to Niko.]
With No. 5 Johns Hopkins and No. 10 Maryland scheduled to meet for the 108th time Saturday evening at Homewood Field in Baltimore, it would be easy for participants on both sides to downplay the emotions usually tied to this rivalry.
But the starting goalkeepers for the contest were refreshingly candid in noting that this week of preparation is slightly different from previous weeks.
“It’s a huge game, and as soon as we finished up with Albany [last Thursday], it was Maryland week,” Blue Jays junior Pierce Bassett said Tuesday. “Every game’s a big game, but you can’t say that this isn’t one of the biggest games of the year because it is. … It’s going to be a great atmosphere Saturday night, and it’s really exciting to play in something like that.”
Terps redshirt sophomore Niko Amato also agreed that try as they might, the players are beginning to feel the enthusiasm of the week.
“You go about things the same way,” he said Tuesday. “You watch film, you practice hard, you ask questions, you try to learn and get better. But you can sense the rivalry a little bit. It’s such a historic rivalry. I think a lot of players on both teams have friends and high school rivalries that have been brewing on each team, so it’s a pretty special week for the alumni and everybody. And it’s also got the classic storyline of public school versus private school. We’re in the same state and fight for the same fans. So it’s got a little bit more meaning than most games. We still approach it the same way, but you can sense the rivalry in the locker room.”