Hopkins' Joel Tinney 'Loves Lacrosse More Than Ever'

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Joel Tinney reached the 30-goal career mark faster than any midfielder in Johns Hopkins history — albeit after a one-year suspension due to an undisclosed violation of NCAA rules.


Looking back on his first two games since returning from a one-year suspension that tested him in ways he didn’t anticipate, Johns Hopkins midfielder Joel Tinney said he feels like a different guy.

It seems pretty clear that some things haven’t changed. The fearlessness and the sharp competitive streak — qualities that stood out in 2015 as Tinney fashioned one of the better freshman seasons a Hopkins player has ever produced — are ever present in the junior from Innerkip, Ontario.

So is the creativity, evidenced by Tinney’s recent 40-foot shot to finish a perfect hidden-ball trick play executed with teammate John Crawley. That goal, one of three by Tinney in the Blue Jays’ season opener against Navy, ignited Hopkins during a dominant second half that produced a 15-8 rout.

On that opening night at Homewood Field, Tinney reached the 30-goal career mark faster than any Blue Jay midfielder in school history.

Two days after the Blue Jays moved to 2-0 by dismissing UMBC 15-5, Tinney said the NCAA-mandated suspension that cost him a precious collegiate season has made him treasure everything about playing his favorite game.

“By having to watch the game for a whole season, it was so hard to watch us lose games and lose guys the way we did,” said Tinney, alluding to the 8-7 finish last season, which was marred by injuries that decimated Hopkins’ midfield depth chart.

“It was tough thinking about the next time I’d get on the field. I’ve always been very competitive in everything I do, and I’ve always wanted to accomplish a lot,” Tinney added. “I definitely appreciate the wins and my time with the team more. I really want to make guys around me better. I just feel more humble about getting the chance to play this game again.”

“The last year was hard on that kid, and rightfully so,” added Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, referring to the undisclosed NCAA rules violation that cost Tinney. “Joel paid the price. I would argue it was a bit of a dramatic price. But he came back as competitive as ever. He’d be the same way if he was part of a whiffle ball team. I see a guy who really loves lacrosse more than ever. Amidst all of this, he’s become a better person.”







Zim Moves to the Booth

When he retired from coaching last spring following his 23rd season at UMBC and his 30th as a head coach, Don Zimmerman knew he wasn’t walking away from the game for good.

To the man who won three NCAA titles in the 1980s at Johns Hopkins, then truly put UMBC on the Division I map by guiding the Retrievers to six NCAA tournaments between 1998 and 2009 – including a quarterfinals appearance in 2007 – the game was still too much a part of him to leave it behind.

Zimmerman has been a dedicated international promoter of the sport. In 2013, he co-authored “Men’s Lacrosse,” a guide book that teaches fundamentals of the game. At age 64, Zimmerman continues to do individual or small-group instruction work with players ranging from fifth to 10th grade.

And last week, Zimmerman stepped into another part of the lacrosse world. He made his debut as an analyst on ESPN – at, of all places, Homewood Field, where Zimmerman played before graduating from Hopkins in 1976, then went on to achieve greatness over seven seasons on the sidelines with the Blue Jays.

Zimmerman offered color commentary throughout Hopkins’ 15-5 victory over UMBC. Watching a competition between the two schools that encompassed so much of his professional life gave Zimmerman pause.

“That was a special assignment,” he said. “Looking down on that field, a part of me was thinking, ‘Boy, this is pretty unique.’ I just tried to be impartial and support both programs. It felt very different being in the booth. I tried to tell it like a coach. Once a coach, always a coach.”

Zimmerman actually had a successful test run as a broadcaster at last year’s final four in Philadelphia, where he teamed up with Hofstra coach Seth Tierney and Albany coach Scott Marr on Lax Sports Network.

Zimmerman, who will undergo knee replacement surgery in March, said he is looking forward to doing more work for ESPN as soon as possible after his recovery is complete.

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Freshman midfielder Dox Aitken had a sparkling debut for Virginia, scoring four goals in a wild 16-15 win at Loyola.

Fresh Legs Propel Virginia

Virginia freshman midfielder and much-heralded recruit Dox Aitken made an exceptionally loud noise in his collegiate debut at Ridley Athletic Complex on Saturday, where the Cavaliers handed first-year coach Lars Tiffany his first win at Virginia with a wild 16-15 victory over Loyola.

Aitken was the star of the show with a game-high four goals, an achievement that produced his first ACC Offensive Player of the Week recognition. It marked the third time in the past 20 years that a Virginia freshman had debuted with at least four goals.

But what a day it was for the youth in general representing the program. There was freshman attackman Michael Kraus (two goals, three assists) with a game-high five points. Sophomore midfielder Ryan Conrad also hurt the Greyhounds with three goals.

“No one came back to school in January in better shape than Dox – big-time athlete and lacrosse player. Michael really impressed me with the way he overcame his emotions early, when he turned the ball over a couple of times in the first quarter,” Tiffany said. “Ryan just enjoys playing so much, he reminds me of [Brown superstar senior] Dylan Molloy. He’s the kid that will be celebrating at a 7 a.m. practice.”

Switching Sidelines

Marc Van Arsdale, who left Virginia after Tiffany replaced 24-year coach Dom Starsia, following 15 seasons as the Cavaliers’ offensive coordinator, joined Loyola as its offensive coordinator under head coach Charley Toomey.

Saturday’s season opener provided a strange experience for Van Arsdale, who chatted during pregame warm-ups with numerous Virginia players.

“It felt a little awkward before the game and right after,” Van Arsdale said. “Once the whistle blew, [the Cavaliers] were just a blue jersey, despite the fact that I have so many close relationships with them. I’ve known some of the seniors for six or seven years. But we never wanted to make this personal with our guys [in preparation]. This was Loyola playing Virginia, not Coach Van playing against his old guys.”

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