Johns Hopkins Turns in Complete Game in Blowout of Towson

Cole Williams scored one goal on eight shots for Johns Hopkins, which dropped 11 first-half goals on a vaunted Towson defense.

BALTIMORE — Johns Hopkins players stood along the sidelines, singing the school anthem played by the band, drenched by the rain that fell all night at Homewood Field. Fans waited by the fences that separated them and the team, braving the conditions just to take photos and for children to get autographs.

It was different atmosphere than the last time the Blue Jays took to Homewood Field in a game to forget — a 19-6 drubbing to Duke. The loss served as a reminder of some of the issues that the Blue Jays needed to solve during a long offseason that ensued.

The defense allowed a season-high 19 goals in that game, and struggled for much of the season, finishing 54th in the country with 11.47 goals per game. Pietramala and associate head coach Bill Dwan knew changes were in store for the Hopkins defense.

Johns Hopkins finally got to test its progress on Saturday, facing off with crosstown rival Towson — a team that made the NCAA final four last season — in the cold rain at Homewood Field. 

So far, so good.

Pietramala’s defense suffocated a young and inexperienced Towson attack, and the offense, led by six points from Kyle Marr, clicked. It was just one sample, a 14-6 victory, but the Blue Jays looked a different team than the last time they took the field.

“We got a long way to go,” Pietramala said of his defense. “We walk away defensively knowing that we gave up a lot of shots that we wanted to do. … I’m not interested in sending a message to anyone else. I'm interested in us continuing to improve every single day.”

For Johns Hopkins, the six goals allowed matches the season-low from last season, when it beat Rutgers 12-6.

Without mainstays like Joe Seider and Ryan Drenner on offense, Towson entered Saturday's game with many new faces, and Johns Hopkins took advantage. The Blue Jays picked up 29 ground balls and were efficient on the run, with middies like Patrick Fraser, Robert Kuhn (LSM) and Patrick Foley scoring quick goals in transition. 

Foley, who missed all of last season as a result of an academic issue, made an impact on the Hopkins defense in his return to action. On top of the goal, he picked up three ground balls and caused one turnover.

“Being back was obviously a huge stepping stone for me,” Foley said. “I did what I needed to do off the field, and I came back and I’m more than happy to be out there with the guys and helping this defense with the performance that we had today.”

Kyle Marr led the way for the Johns Hopkins offense, pitching in four goals and two assists on the night.

Another notable improvement came between the pipes, where Brock Turnbaugh turned in a solid performance against the Towson offense. He made 13 saves with the help of a Blue Jays defense that forced the Tigers into low-angle shots all night.

Turnbaugh came into the 2018 season off the heels of a 40.8 save percentage last year — a season in which he and Gerald Logan fought for time. He said he hoped his performance put a silence to the doubts bestowed upon him entering the season, at least for now.

“Our defense was looking really good,” Turnbaugh said. “We were getting after shooters hands and we were looking really good and we were giving up the shots that we want to give up. … Coming out, there was a lot of doubts. I have confidence in our team and our coaches, but outside of our program, there have been questions. My teammates have my back and my coaches have my back.”

It was a poor start for Towson’s revamped offense, which included freshmen like Timmy Monahan (a Maryland transfer) and Phil Wies, as well as Richmond transfer Jean-Luc Chetner. The trio combined to go 1-for-18 shooting on the night. 

“I hope we don’t struggle as much as we did today,” Towson coach Shawn Nadelen said of the rest of the season. “I don’t know how many possessions we had in the first quarter, but you just look and the ball is sailing over guys’ heads. I’m not going to say it was inexperience or anything like that, it’s just us not doing a good job executing. We have to figure it out quickly, chemistry moreso.”

For the Towson defense, which finished fourth in the nation with 7.65 goals per game last season, it was the most goals allowed the same against Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field in March of 2016.

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