By Alex Mann
Two titans of Men’s Division I College Lacrosse, the No. 5 Maryland Terrapins and the No. 8 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, are set to square off 8 p.m. Saturday at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.
The rivalry dates back to the early 1900s and is widely recognized as the zenith of college lacrosse matchups. This year’s game, the 115th between them, has major Big Ten Tournament implications, as both Maryland (9-3, 3-1) and Hopkins (8-4, 3-1) trail No. 4 Ohio State (12-2, 3-1) based on head-to-head losses.
Much of the conversation leading up to Saturday’s game has resolved around the availability of two offensive stalwarts: Maryland’s Colin Heacock and Hopkins’ Shack Stanwick. The high school teammates are crucial to their respective teams’ offenses, which have been the driving forces behind Maryland and Hopkins’ success.
Stanwick quarterbacks the Blue Jays offense, leading the team in assists (18), while Heacock combines with fellow senior Matt Rambo to control the tempo and run the Terps’ offense.
“(Rambo) and Colin (Heacock) have done such a good job not only scoring, but really managing the game and getting other guys organized,” Maryland coach John Tillman said after they defeated then No. 1 Penn State April 8. “They don’t care who scores; they just want to win and help the team.”
Last weekend Heacock (injured ankle) watched from the sideline as the Terps lost to Ohio State, their first Big Ten loss. Whether or not Heacock can play and how mobile he is will be a critical factor.
This episode of the historic rivalry figures to be a high-scoring affair, as Maryland’s ninth-ranked scoring offense scores just over 13 goals per game and Hopkins’ 12th-ranked scoring offense nets just below 13 per game.
Both teams feature elite scoring threats.
For Maryland it’s Heacock (31 points), junior midfielder Connor Kelly (34 points) and Tewaaraton finalist Matt Rambo. The Pennsylvania native is six goals shy (with 226) of Maryland’s all-time points record. This year Rambo has tallied 56 points (30 goals, 26 assists), while averaging 4.67 per game.
Johns Hopkins’ senior defender Nick Fields, also one of the 25 Tewaaraton finalists, will surely be tasked with the challenge few teams have accomplished: corralling Rambo.
On offense, Hopkins wields the likes of junior midfielder and Tewaaraton finalist Joel Tinney (22 points), Stanwick (39 points) and sophomore attacker Kyle Marr, who leads the team with 41 points (24 goals, 17 assists).
Maryland and Hopkins shoot a high percentage – the Terps score on 35.9 percent of their shots (2nd nationally), while the Blue Jays connect on 31.9 percent of their shots (19th nationally) – putting an extra emphasis on goaltending.
Neither of the Blue Jays’ goalies rank in the top 50 in save percentage or saves per game.
Maryland’s Dan Morris makes just over 10 stops per game, while saving over 53 percent of the shots he faces, good for 18th in the nation. Morris will have to make big stops in order for the Terps to earn a victory, especially if the offense is hindered by the potential absence of Heacock.
“Dan’s kind of a quiet guy, real laid back, so I don’t think our team ever gets nervous,” senior midfielder Isaiah Davis-Allen said after the Penn State victory, when Morris made clutch second-half saves. “We kind of expect him to bounce back.”
Time will tell which high powered offense will propel their team to victory to win “The Rivalry Trophy” – a 25-pound tribute to the Maryland Blue Crab – and potentially a share of the Big Ten regular season title.