Marquette Club Lacrosse: Freshman Jake Kennedy makes an difference

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The Marquette men’s club lacrosse team is off to a 5-2 start in the Upper Midwest Lacrosse League division during a year first-time coach Tom Antonneau described as a transition from one coach’s system to another.

Amidst the early success, freshman attacker Jake Kennedy is one of the players who has found the new system to work for him.

In just seven games played, Kennedy already has 26 goals to his credit, which leads the nation. His 5.14 points per game average and 36 points have him at the top of the division in those respective categories. But there are two attributes that cannot be assigned a number: Kennedy’s versatility and unselfish attitude.

“I can’t overstate (Kennedy’s) all-around ability,” Antonneau said. “He has one of the best shots on the team. He’s very good with both hands and reliable with the ball when he has it. I don’t think Jake has a flaw in his game.”

Kennedy hails from Toledo, Ohio and picked up his first lacrosse stick in fourth grade. After playing for a travel team in middle school, he would move on to St. John’s Jesuit High School and play on the varsity team for all four years.

He was nominated to the All-American team in his senior year before moving on to Marquette, where the coach’s system was a lot different from what he was used to.

“In this system, there is a lot of off-ball movement that produces a lot of offense,” Kennedy said. “In high school, the guy with the ball was creating the offense.”

He is the guy creating the offense right now but credits the skill of his teammates for helping him consistently perform at the same high level.

“With the skill of this team, I think this can last. We’re a very deep team, and we can run with anyone that comes to play,” Kennedy said.

Freshman defenseman Joey Betori has already played with Kennedy at the high school level, and at Marquette the two are roommates in McCormick Hall. Betori said that Kennedy brings his hard work and competitive nature in everything that he does.

“Whether its Super Smash Brothers or his school work, his hard work shows in almost any part of his life,” Betori said. “Being around him has made me better as a player.”

Senior midfielder Matt Hetrick sees a ton of potential in Kennedy as a leader, whether he chooses to continue with the club team or make an attempt at joining the Division I varsity team.

“The more he feels comfortable in the system and the more success he has, he’ll establish that role as a leader. Guys will look to him for advice and to make them better. He can do that,” Hetrick said. “He’ll be vocal. He will be a great leader one day, whether its on the club or varsity team.”

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