The time last year, Johns Hopkins was celebrating a Big Ten championship; now they're preparing for the first obstacle in the road to a repeat.
The Blue Jays have their work cut out for them Thursday night against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights finished 10-4 overall, including a win against Hopkins during the regular season.
"In the first game against Rutgers, we did not fair well. We went up to Pescataway, N.J. and got our tails kicked," said head coach Dave Pietramala. "They played extraordinarily well and that day they were the better team and they deserved to win. The hope is that we can turn that around and we can play a little bit better and certainly play more effectively and efficiently."
After the Rutger's loss, Hopkins hit the gas and found their stride. The Blue Jays strung together three-straight in-conference wins before hosting Maryland in the regular season finale. Hopkins fells to the Terps 11-8, snapping the three-game win streak.
"We had some momentum going and I think we lose a little bit of that with our game against Maryland," Pietramala said. "You know that's a terrific team. And what we need to do is what we've always done, it's just continue to learn from our mistakes, continue to improve and continue to work hard. And that's what we've done this week."
If the Blue Jays can pull out a win Thursday, they could find themselves in a rematch with the Terps.
Being from the Baltimore area, a Calvert Hall grad, Brown said he's excited to be playing for a team he grew up watching.
In its second year, the Big Ten has become a power house lacrosse conference. Pietramala said his guys are still experiencing some growing pains.
"Our first year in the Big Ten was trial by error, so to speak," he said. "These are places we haven't traveled to, not all of them at least. There's less familiarity. You know we played Maryland, Syracuse, Virginia, we know those guys. We played them for years. Now all of a sudden you're play Penn State and you only scrimmaged Penn State. You're playing Ohio State and we haven't played Ohio State in a while. So we're developing new and great rivalries."
One of those rivalries will play out Thursday night on Homewood Field. Face-off between the Blue Jays and Scarlet Knights is set for 8 p.m.