Here is the fifth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Teams are scheduled to appear according to the chronological order in which their seasons ended. Thursday’s visit was with Mount St. Mary’s. Friday’s visit is with Johns Hopkins.
The good: The Blue Jays opened the season with eight consecutive wins, accruing their first 8-0 start since 2005. Eventually, the team finished the regular season with an 11-3 record and the No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. “For most teams, when you finish a regular season with 11 wins, it’s a pretty exciting season, and we were pleased to win 11 games and earn a second seed,” coach Dave Pietramala said. “That was great. We put ourselves through the regular season and in a position to try and accomplish something during the playoffs.” … Like many teams, Johns Hopkins dealt with a spate of injuries. Fifth-year senior attackman Chris Boland sat out seven games to heal a broken collarbone suffered in the season opener against Delaware. Freshman Wells Stanwick, who replaced Boland as a starter, missed three contests because of a right hand injury. And the loss of sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder Phil Castronova was mitigated by the emergence of freshman Nikhon Schuler. “I thought a great thing was how we overcame injuries,” Pietramala said. “When Boland went down, we had another guy step in and do his job. And when Stanwick went down, we had another guy. And when Greeley went down, we had another guy. Phil Castronova tears his ACL before the season even starts, and we have a freshman step in. When you think of those things, to get where we got was great.” … The departure of faceoff specialist Matt Dolente (66.7 percent on 194-of-291 and 119 groundballs) was a significant question mark, but junior Mike Poppleton filled the void by ranking sixth in Division I with a 61.6 percentage (167-of-271) and collecting 78 groundballs. “Mike Poppleton had an outstanding year considering the level of competition he was playing against, the kinds of people he was competing against,” Pietramala said. “So that was very much a positive in an area where we had some uncertainty.”