Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 26, 1996

On Sports:
1996 Lacrosse Season May Be Painful Experience For Blue Jays

(See "New Logo," "Tix Information" below.)

Chris Rowett
Homewood News and Information

     The 1996 lacrosse season has yet to begin, and already the
men's team has faced two of its biggest challenges: the weather
and injuries. 

     Snow, sleet and rain forced the team indoors to practice
more than any time in recent history. And the maladies--some
remnants of last year's season, some new sprains--have resulted
in a loss of training time for some, double duty for others.

     Still, weather will improve and injuries will heal. And
neither challenge has squelched the determination of the players
and coaches hoping for a successful season, which officially
opens March 2 in a match against No. 3-ranked Princeton.

     "They're trying really hard," assistant coach Dave
Pietramala said of Hopkins' 38-member team, which is ranked No.
4. "It's not always easy when they've got a coaching staff that
pushes them as hard as we do."

     Some of the key players from last year's 13-1 team have
moved on; Terry Riordan, Brian Piccola and Peter Jacobs made up
1995's formidable offense. This year, senior co-captain Dave Marr
is expected to lead the charge.

     "It's a whole different team now. Our whole offense has got
to be relearned," Marr said. "Peter Jacobs will be missed. Pic
and Terry--I played with them for three years.  Now we have to
learn to play with other people."

     Marr, a social and behavioral sciences major, recently
underwent back surgery for two herniated discs. He acknowledges
that the team's injuries--strained hamstrings, bumps and bruises-
-and lack of on-the-field playing time together could hinder the
team's immediate chance for success.

     "Hopefully by the middle of the season, we'll have things
all worked out, but that doesn't mean we can't play well now," he
said. "We might have our bumps along the way, but as long as
we're still kicking by the end of the season, that's what

     Last year, Riordan scored 52 times, while Piccola had 41
goals. This year, the team will not rely on just a few to score
the majority of its goals, but on a variety of players. 

     "The way we get our goals will be different," Marr said,
citing attackmen Dan Denihan, Brad Berzins and Adam Bond. "There
will be a lot of players with 20, 30 goals. Whoever gets the
closest shot will shoot it."

     Though there may be cautious optimism for the offense, there
is unmistakable belief in the abilities of the seasoned players
of the defense. 

     "I'm very confident in our kids," Pietramala said. "I
believe in each and every one of our defenders. Now what they've
got to do is take what we've taught them and do the things we
know they can do."

     All last year's defensemen, led by standout goalie and
co-captain Jonathan Marcus, return for play this year.

     "We're going to be a defensively strong team, and in the
past that's where the championships come from, the defensive
end," said midfielder and co-captain Werner Krueger. "I think
we've got the best defense out there since 1987." 

     That was the last year the men's team won the national
championship, though they have made it into NCAA Tournament play
for the past 24 years. No one knows the pressure of living up to
such high expectations more than head coach Tony Seaman. 

     "I'd like to meet the guy who wouldn't think about that,"
Seaman said. "There's nobody in this world who wants to win the
national championship more than I do." 

     Yet Seaman is guarded with his optimism.

     "We're going to have to progress slowly and not have great
expectations in March," he said. "It's going to take time to make
adjustments. I'm confident, but we have to be patient for

     Pietramala, a member of that 1987 championship team,
believes this year's players have the ability and the talent to
become a winning team.

     "I think this group in their own way is something special,"
Pietramala said. "They have good chemistry. You just hope that
chemistry will transfer onto the field." 

     Marr said the team is already working together, having
improved on their first scrimmage performance against Brown,
which they lost, with a more recent tie against Duke.

     "All we need is to be confident," he said. "When you get out
there and start to second-guess yourself, that's when you start
to make mistakes."

     As a new captain of the team, Marr tries to lead by example,
he said.

     "We all try to build other players up, but confidence comes
from within," he said. "We all have to have it. Hopefully we'll
get that during the Princeton game."

     One thing some of the players have to adjust to is the
presence of the hometown Homewood Field fans, who often reach

     "My first year I didn't play very well," Marr admitted. "It
was intimidating."

     But for others, the roar of the crowd may actually inspire
peak performances. 

     "When we play at Carolina and Virginia, we're not in the
spotlight like we are at Homewood Field," Krueger said. "That's
something to live up to.

     "I remember losing to Princeton my freshman year," he added.
"Although it wasn't the most important game of the year, just the
fact that we lost on Homewood field in front of that many people
... I guess it is a motivator when you know that you'll be in the
spotlight every Saturday."

Jays Get New Logo

     Hopkins sports teams have competed as Blue Jays since about
1926. But there has never been a consistently accepted, or
adopted, rendering of this rather pretty but predatory bird among
the athletic squads. Andy Bilello wanted to change that.

     "We'd get calls for our logo and we didn't have anything we
all liked to send to people," says Bilello, the assistant 
athletic director. So, a couple of years ago, as sports
information director, he initiated discussions within the
athletic department, suggesting that the teams should develop a
Blue Jay logo that would replace the cartoon version drawn by
then-student Neil Grauer for a News-Letter comic strip in 1966.

     "The lacrosse team has been using that image, but it was not
really accepted by the other teams," Bilello says. 

     This year, a designer friend of the wife of men's soccer
coach Matt Smith created a logo for that team, which sparked
department interest, Bilello says. Modifications were suggested,
changes were made and a new logo was born. 

     "We're pleased to have a look that will be consistent among
our teams," Bilello says, "but we can't legislate everyone's use
of it. We won't put it on our existing uniforms, but I'd like to
see it incorporated on new ones when we get them.

     "The biggest thing for us is that we now have a professional
image that we can use on materials we send to the press and
alumni and prospective students, that sort of thing. When
manufacturers call about using a team logo for merchandise, we
now have something to give them."

LAX ticket information

     Homewood faculty and staff are eligible to receive two
complimentary general admission season tickets for the five
regular season home games. Tickets are currently available in the
Department of Athletics main office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday
through Friday. Identification is required.

     Additional season tickets are $25 for general admission
seating. Reserved section seating is available for $50 per ticket
for the season.

     Students will be admitted to all regular season games free
of charge with their student ID.


     Saturday, March 2 vs. Princeton, 2 p.m.

     Saturday, March 16 vs. Syracuse, 2 p.m.

     Saturday, March 30 vs. North Carolina, 2 p.m.

     Saturday, April 13 vs. Maryland, 2 p.m. (Homecoming)

     Saturday, April 27 vs. Towson State, 2 p.m.

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