Johns Hopkins dropped Hofstra from its schedule last summer, alleviating a brutal early-season glut of games.
The NCAA lacrosse tournament committee, though, ensured the teams would meet at least one time this year.
The third-seeded Blue Jays will play host to the Pride on Saturday in the first round of the tournament, renewing a rivalry featuring teams from two of the sport’s biggest hotbeds.
Oh, and Hofstra coach Seth Tierney is a former teammate with and assistant under Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala.
Those subplots mean nothing to the outcome, as Pietramala noted late Sunday night. But it is interesting nonetheless two programs who met in every season but one between 1991 and 2010 will face each other in May.
“These things happen in sports and business; you add clients and you drop clients,” Pietramala said. “You do what you think is best for your [interests]. We’ve been thinking about this since 2006, quite honestly, and the reason we didn’t was because of Seth. He had been here and out of respect for him, we didn’t think it was appropriate.”
Scheduling concerns played a role. Hopkins typically plays Princeton, Syracuse and Virginia in March, then North Carolina, Maryland and Navy in April. Wedging a trip to Long Island every other year created headaches for the Blue Jays, who lost in trips to Hempstead in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Some of it was a trickle-down effect from trying to accommodate a local opponent. Hopkins added UMBC in 2005 and placed the game between dates with Princeton and Hofstra. The wear and tear of three games in eight days was obvious more often than not.
“We just got to the point where we felt it wasn’t in a good spot for us,” said Pietramala, who moved the UMBC game to the previous Hofstra weekend this season. “Obviously, it’s difficult to move things around. We went in a different direction.”
Regardless, the Blue Jays (12-2) must contend with the Pride (13-2) now. A trip to the quarterfinals at (you guessed it) Hofstra is on the line, and countless things will play a greater factor in the outcome than scheduling decision.
One bit of history remains relevant, though: Hopkins’ past with Hofstra means it knows exactly what it will be getting come Saturday – and it won’t be easy.
“No, no, no,” Pietramala said. “The way they beat us last year [14-6], our kids know. In general, our kids know with any opponent. They know Hofstra is a good team. They know who Jamie Lincoln is and who Jay Card is. They know who all those guys are. They took us out back and put the wood to us. Our guys know.”