Weekend Watch: Johns Hopkins, Virginia Battle for 13th Doyle Smith Cup

Johns Hopkins and Virginia will meet for the 93rd time on Saturday in a series that has seen four straight overtime games. (Photos by Kevin P. Tucker, Rich Barnes)


The Doyle Smith Cup is up for grabs this weekend with No. 8 Johns Hopkins and No. 10 Virginia battling for the cup that honors the National Lacrosse Hall of Famer for the 13th time — a span of games that only touches the surface of one of the most historic rivalries in college lacrosse history.

Saturday will mark the 72nd straight year that the Blue Jays and Cavaliers meet, and the 93rd total matchup. Johns Hopkins leads the all-time series 60-31-1, but Virginia has won the Doyle Smith Cup eight of 12 times.

There’s something about Hopkins-Virginia that produces a thrilling game in every matchup. Each of the last four Doyle Smith Cup games have gone to overtime, and six of the 12 meetings have needed extra time.

If the rankings are any indication, we might be in store for another classic in the Blue Jays-Cavaliers rivalry. 

Red-hot Johns Hopkins will travel to Charlottesville to meet a Virginia team trying to find itself after a season-ending injury to Ryan Conrad, one of the team leaders and key cogs in the midfield.

After a 1-2 start, the Blue Jays have rolled to four straight victories, knocking off Princeton and Syracuse along the way. The offense ranks sixth in Division I, putting up 13 goals per game.

Led by Shack Stanwick (12G, 16A), Kyle Marr (14G, 9A) and Joel Tinney (7G, 14A), the Hopkins offense has been efficient for much of the season. Coach Dave Pietramala knew what he had in this veteran group entering the season.

The question mark for this team was its defense, but any doubts that were set on that unit are slowly fading away. The Blue Jays have held opponents under 10 goals in four straight games — the first time they’ve accomplished that feat since 2014.

NO. 8 JOHNS HOPKINS AT NO. 10 VIRGINIA
WHEN: Saturday, March 24, 11:30 a.m.
WATCH: ESPNU

With names like Pat Foley and Jack Rapine, Johns Hopkins ranks 13th in Division I allowing 8.71 goals per game. 

But it’ll be up against one of the more potent offenses it will see all year. The Cavaliers offense had been a strength, averaging 12.78 goals per game. However, that number has dropped to 10.50 per game since the Conrad injury.

In what is still a young offense, names like Michael Kraus, Dox Aitken and Ian Laviano have stepped up. Kraus, a sophomore, leads the team with 23 goals and 17 goals, while Aitken and Laviano each have 26 points.

Virginia’s efficient offense has made the defense's job easier, but it ranks 36th in the nation at 10.33 goals allowed per game. Strangely, the Cavaliers have gone 4-1 in games they allow 12 or more goals.

A key matchup could come between Virginia’s Justin Schwenk (63.2 percent) and Johns Hopkins’ Hunter Moreland (68.4 percent) on faceoffs. Both faceoff men have excelled this season, improving upon last year's results for their teams.

Safe to say we have another intriguing Doyle Smith Cup matchup on our hands. Can they make it five straight overtime games?







Other games highlighting the weekend include:

  • No. 17 Syracuse at No. 2 Duke
    Saturday, 1:30 p.m., ESPNU

    After winning back-to-back games last weekend, Duke returns home to open ACC play against an up-and-down Syracuse team. It’s the 18th meeting between the conference opponents, and four of the last six games have been decided by one goal. The Blue Devils rank third in the country with 9.78 caused turnovers per game, while the Orange sit 31st in Division I with 13.00 turnovers per game.

  • No. 3 Maryland vs. No. 19 North Carolina
    Saturday, 10 p.m., Costa Mesa, Calif.

    The Terps and Tar Heels meet in some late night action as part of the Pacific Coast LAX Shootout. In a rematch of the 2016 NCAA title game, Maryland is looking to build a new win streak after topping Villanova last week. As for North Carolina, it’s looking to snap out of a three-game skid that put a damper of its 6-0 start to the season. Maryland sits fourth in the country making 37.8 percent of shots, while North Carolina has struggled as of late, sitting 34th in the country at 30 percent.

  • Cornell at No. 12 Penn
    Saturday, 11:30 a.m., Ivy League Network

    The Ivy League might be flying under the radar with two teams in the top 15, and a slew of others that pose a threat in conference. Cornell travels to Philadelphia looking to pick up a signature win in 2018. The Big Red has fallen short against Colgate, Albany and Yale so far. Jeff Teat sits sixth in Division I with 5.76 points per game. The Quakers have won three out of four and sit at 1-0 in conference, looking to stay unbeaten ahead of a matchup with Yale next weekend.

MORE GAMES ON OUR RADAR

All times are listed in ET. For a full list of broadcast games, please visit our US Lacrosse TV listing page, presented by Nationwide.

SATURDAY, MARCH 17

12 p.m. 

Robert Morris at Mount St. Mary’s (NEC Front Row)
Binghamton at Vermont (America East TV)

1 p.m.

No. 15 Army at Colgate (Patriot League Network)
Bucknell at No. 7 Loyola (Patriot League Network)
No. 16 Georgetown at Marquette (MU Tube)
Princeton at No. 6 Yale (ESPN3)
Cleveland State at Penn State
No. 13 Hofstra at St. John’s (ESPN3)

2 p.m.

Dartmouth at No. 18 Harvard (Ivy League Network)
Towson at No. 5 Denver (DenverPioneers.com)

3 p.m.

Navy at No. 14 Lehigh (Patriot League Network)
Michigan at UMBC (America East TV)

3:30 p.m.

Fairfield at No. 9 Villanova (Nova Nation All-Access)

7 p.m.

Delaware at No. 11 Rutgers (BTN Plus)
No.1 Albany at UMass-Lowell (AmericaEast.tv)

SUNDAY, MARCH 25

12 p.m.

No. 4 Notre Dame at Ohio State (ESPNU)

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