staff, March 10, 2015

Each Tuesday for the rest of the Big Ten men's lacrosse season, I'll be looking at the conference overall and drilling in on a few key observations. Just as varsity lacrosse is new to the Big Ten, this is my first Stick Check column for Don't forget to check out the BTN TV schedule for lacrosse as well as the BTN Plus live streaming schedule, too.

Let's begin.


Ohio State?s Jesse King is the league?s best player

The senior from British Columbia, Canada has had an outstanding career in Columbus and is putting together a stellar collegiate swan song. King, a third team All-American in 2014, doesn't dazzle you with speed or off-the-charts athleticism. Rather, he uses incredible intelligence, awareness, and great stick skills to beat you. So far King, who can play both attack and midfield, has 19 goals and 10 assists for the Buckeyes (5-2).

He is deft at setting and using picks that turn the most ferocious defenses into disorganized chaos. From there he dissects defenses with his shooting and passing abilities. King was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on February 23 for a five goal effort in a 15-5 win over Dartmouth.

In Ohio State?s last game, a 9-8 win over Hofstra, King tallied four goals, including the eventual game winner. In a recent loss to Marquette he had one goal and three assists. He can do it all. King was a member of the 2014 gold-medal winning Team Canada at the FIL World Championships and will continue his career in Major League lacrosse with the Rochester Rattlers, the team that selected him six overall in this year?s draft.

Maryland can still play defense
The Terrapins, national semifinalists a year ago, have always been known for their tough defense. What linebackers are to Penn State in football, defensemen are to Maryland in lacrosse. This team lost three First Team All-Americans off of their defensive unit. Goalie Niko Amato and defenders Goran Murray and Michael Ehrhardt no longer protect the house in College Park.

But despite their departures the Terps (4-1) are still one of the best defenses in the nation. Want proof? Take a look at their latest win. Maryland prevailed 11-4 against a Princeton team that came into the game averaging 14 goals per contest. The Terps were stifling in this one, with new goalie Kyle Bernlohr making 12 saves and the guys in front of him forcing tough shots.

Defenseman Casey Ikeda was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts, the third time a Terp has taken the honor (Bernlohr on Feb. 16 and defenseman Matt Neufeldt on March 2) Maryland currently leads the nation in scoring defense, only allowing 5.00 goals per game.

Joel Tinney of Hopkins has been better than advertised
Teammates Shack Stanwick and Patrick Fraser have each earned Big Ten Freshman of the week honors in 2015 (Stanwick twice). Both were very deserving but Tinney is having the most impact for the Blue Jays (3-3). Ranked No. 2 by Inside Lacrosse for freshman power rankings, the newcomer out of Culver Academy is the leading scorer in the midfield for JHU with eight goals and three assists. He always wants the ball in his stick.

With each passing game you can see Tinney?s confidence growing. Multi-dimensional, Tinney is more than just a scorer. He plays the wings on faceoffs and is a demon on groundballs. His 15 GBs are third on the team. He plays tough, aggressive short stick defense. He brings so many intangibles to the table, things you just can?t teach.

Tinney possesses a wicked first step and can change gears anywhere on the field. Blue Jay nation knows they have a good one in Joel Tinney and is excited to watch him for years to come.


Mark Dixon, a former Johns Hopkins lacrosse player, contributes to Inside Lacrosse and calls Big Ten men's lacrosse games on BTN. Follow him on Twitter (@dixonlacrosse).