By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun
11:20 AM EDT, April 30, 2014
Drew Kennedy’s recent troubles on faceoffs may influence No. 6 Johns Hopkins into splitting reps at that position with sophomore Craig Madarasz when the team plays top-ranked Loyola Maryland on Saturday at noon at Ridley Athletic Complex.
Kennedy, a junior, has won just 43.8 percent (21-of-48) of his draws and scooped up 19 ground balls in his last four starts. Madarasz, a sophomore, has won 62.5 percent (15-of-24) and collected 12 ground balls in the Blue Jays’ last three games.
Kennedy, who was ranked as high as fourth in Division I with a 65.9 success rate, has dropped to 61.8 percent and the No. 10 ranking in the country, and coach Dave Pietramala conceded that Kennedy’s woes are worrisome.
“Drew has battled some health issues, and to his credit, has never used that as an excuse and has continued to battle,” Pietramala said on Wednesday morning. “The nice part is we’ve been seen a little bit of the emergence of Craig Madarasz, who gave us a huge lift in [three] of our recent games. So what we’ve found is a situation where we enjoyed a distinct advantage earlier in the season at the X, and that was one of the ways helping us to win.”
The struggles on faceoffs haven’t hurt Johns Hopkins (10-3) with regardto record as the team has won its last five contests. And Pietramala expressed his faith in Kennedy to rebound from this recent stretch.
“Am I concerned? Sure, we’d love to be performing better there, but we have not lost confidence in Drew,” Pietramala said. “We were able with this little bit of a layoff to rest him and give him some very, very needed rest to help him along. We’ll see. We’re facing a group that is just over 50 percent and has done a good job. So hopefully, Drew and Craig can have some success there. We certainly know we’ll be challenged. The other thing is we need to do a better job off the wings as well. This is not just, ‘Hey, this is Drew Kennedy’s job.’ We approach things as a unit, and our wings have to do a better job.”
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