Hopkins Must Get A Handle On Its Postseason Problem
At Johns Hopkins University, success is measured a certain way when it comes to men's lacrosse. At Homewood, the pressure to win titles, or at least go deep into the NCAA tournament, is palpable.
Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala knows this well. Last week, in the wake of the Blue Jays' 11-5 drubbing by Maryland in the quarterfinals, Pietramala confronted what has become a glaring Hopkins problem. For the past four years, Hopkins has failed miserably to reach the final four. That has never happened at Hopkins in the 42-year history of the NCAA tournament.
"We've had two real nice regular seasons and good first-round games. We've got to re-learn how to win this game," said Pietramala, who in 12 seasons has led the Blue Jays to two national championships and six final four appearances. "We've got to find better ways to do some things."
What might the Hopkins adjustments be? Does the offense need significant tweaking? Does Pietramala need to bring in better, more fluid athletes, especially on offense? Are the Blue Jays peaking too soon under their hard-driving coach? If so, how will Hopkins adjust the pacing of its season?
Whatever is decided, the facts are clear. The Blue Jays have made a habit of finishing ugly, since they got to the NCAA final in a 2008 loss to Syracuse. In their last four postseason exits, Hopkins has lost by a combined, 62-27.