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Johns Hopkins women's lacrosse players celebrate an OT victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor.

NCAA Rewind: Hopkins Eyeing a Big Ten Breakthrough

July 2, 2024
Beth Ann Mayer
Jaime Crawford

Before USA Lacrosse Magazine looks ahead to what’s to come in 2025 — look out for our NCAA Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings later this summer — our team of staff and contributors decided it was worth taking a last look at the 2024 college lacrosse season.

To do that, we’re taking a journey through 30 of the top teams in men’s and women’s lacrosse to see what went right, what went wrong and how we should feel about the season.

Johns Hopkins

USA Lacrosse preseason/final ranking: 11/12
2024 record: 12-8 (2-4 Big Ten)

What went right: Johns Hopkins saw early-season success during a four-game winning streak, including beating USC (13-10) and Stony Brook (14-12). Despite limping into the postseason with three straight losses (Maryland, Michigan, and Penn State), JHU upended the Wolverines in the Big Ten quarterfinals courtesy of a Bailey Cheetham overtime winner. The Blue Jays gave defending and eventual conference champion Northwestern a run for its money in a 13-12 semifinal loss, but their resume was strong enough to receive an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament, where they beat Fairfield 11-5.

Madison Doucette’s .453 save percentage helped the Blue Jays lower their goals against average (12.22 in 2023 vs. 10.8 in 2024). She turned in nine double-digit save performances, including making 19 stops in a loss to Maryland. Jordan Carr (52 CT, 56 GB), a third-team USA Lacrosse All-American, was another leader on the defensive end. Ava Angello continued to shine in her sophomore season, leading Hopkins with 53 goals and 68 points, while junior Ashley Mackin finished with 48 goals — 29 more than the 19 goals she netted in 2023. 

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What went wrong: Unless you’re new here, you know the Big Ten is a gauntlet. However, the 2-4 mark meant the Jays, a No. 5 seed in the conference tournament, would have to go through top-seeded Northwestern in the semifinal. While not overmatched, they still lost. Similarly, Hopkins matched Yale nearly goal-for-goal in the second round of the NCAA tournament but still bowed out in a 9-7 defeat. 

Season highlight: Beating Michigan in overtime in the Big Ten semifinal. The win avenged a loss in the regular season on April 14, a game that the Blue Jays led 8-4 at halftime and lost 13-9 (if you’re doing the math, that’s one second-half goal). It also strengthened Hopkins’ resume to earn an at-large bid — and, frankly, was just plain fun. 

Verdict: The Blue Jays entered year two under Tim McCormack with higher expectations, especially after welcoming Madison Doucette, a former Northwestern goalie who took a gap year, via the portal. They met them, finishing right around where expected: a preseason No. 11 slot and a postseason No. 12 finish in a rollercoaster season in the rankings nationally. What will it take for the Blue Jays to break through in the Big Ten in a similar vein as Penn State this year and Rutgers in 2022? That’s a question for next year — along with who will replace Doucette in net.