Fall Ball Focus: New Era, Inherited Tradition at Johns Hopkins

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Madison McPherson (33 G, 6 A, 33 DC) was an offensive leader for Johns Hopkins last spring.


As the calendar flips to fall, we typically discuss a “new era” for programs that lost a superstar player or group. But in the case of Johns Hopkins, the most significant change is on the sidelines. Janine Tucker, who took over at Johns Hopkins in 1993, hung up her whistle at the end of last season.

The title of head coach now belongs to Tim McCormack, who led Arizona State to its first-ever Pac-12 title-game berth in 2022. The Sun Devils were considered an NCAA tournament snub.

Though there’s been a changing of the guard, Tucker remains a phone call away.

“She has been my mentor and a great guide for us as we start fresh here,” McCormack said. “I am inheriting a tremendous program.”

McCormack discussed why the roster he inherited was the one he wanted to go to battle with and what he’s seen out of the team so far.

LAST SEASON

The Blue Jays scored late-April wins over Ohio State and Penn State, getting into the Big Ten tournament as the fourth seed. Hopkins lost in the semifinal round to Maryland 14-6.

The Blue Jays still received an invitation to the NCAA tournament but ended with a 17-12 loss to Duke, finishing with a 10-9 record. McCormack says the postseason experience can’t hurt in 2023, but he stressed that it’s a new year.

“The confidence of being in those situations definitely helps, but I also think you start fresh and include a group of freshmen and group of girls together, it’s a whole new thing,” McCormack said.

BIGGEST FALL QUESTION: WHO’S THE NEW GOALIE?

Kathleen Garvey is still on the Hopkins team page. But this year, it’s as the volunteer assistant. Garvey started all 19 games last year, producing an 11.06 GAA and .438 save percentage.

Kaitlyn Pham, who played in five games last year as a senior, is also gone. Maggie Tydings is the lone returner, having played in one game against UMBC as a freshman. McCormack has been impressed with her thus far.

“She’s competing at a high level,” McCormack said.

Morgan Giardina, who, like Tydings, played at Deerfield Academy (Mass.), is also a candidate.

“It’s been a fun group,” McCormack said. “I love being part of that environment and watching them pick each other’s brains and push each other every day.”







MARQUEE ADDITIONS: AVA ANGELLO AND JILL MCNAUGHTON

A pair of freshmen midfielders are on McCormack’s watch list already. Ava Angello from Fayetteville-Manlius High School (N.Y.) and Jillian McNaughton from Maxwell Heights in Ontario have stood out.

Angello has taken draws in practice and has shown strength on both ends of the field.

“She’s a total player,” McCormack said. “She has great control over her defender and a good ability to manipulate her defender … makes great reads and ultimately makes her teammates better.”

As for McNaughton, McCormack said, “She’s tough, really solid on the defensive end but also really good on O and moves the ball really well.”

BREAKOUT CANDIDATE: THE OFFENSE

This early in his Hopkins tenure, McCormack was hesitant to pinpoint a singular breakout player. But he thinks the offense is going to surprise people, despite the losses of Shelby Harrison, who led Hopkins in goals (42), points (46) and draws (61), and assists leader Georgia Esmond (22).

Madison McPherson (33 G, 6 A, 33 DC), Maeve Barker (23 G, 12 A), Abbey Hurlbrink (23 G, 3 A) and Georgia Gorelick (20 G, 5 A) all return after solid 2022 seasons.

“We’ve already established the basics,” McCormack said. “There’s a ton of picking and cutting action, a lot of passes per possession and generating high-quality shots.

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