Johns Hopkins faceoff specialist Poppleton to be a game-time decision

Senior is dealing with unspecified injury that cut short his availability in last Saturday's 15-8 rout of No. 13 Virginia

March 28, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Senior faceoff specialist Mike Poppleton will be a game-time decision for No. 12 Johns Hopkins’ showdown with No. 4 North Carolina on Saturday.

Poppleton, who has won 70.9 percent (100 of 141) of his draws this season, left Saturday’s 15-8 victory over No. 13 Virginia with an unspecified injury shortly after winning four of six  faceoffs and scoring once. Poppleton did not return, and coach Dave Pietramala said a decision on Poppleton won’t be made until Saturday.

“He’s good,” Pietramala said. “It’s a day-to-day thing.”

Pietramala didn’t give too many details on whether Poppleton had returned to practice, saying, “He’s been out there with us.”

If Poppleton can’t play, sophomore Drew Kennedy (53.1 percent on 26-of-49) and freshman Craig Madarasz (50 percent on 4-of-8) might rotate against Tar Heels junior R.G. Keenan, who won 52.4 percent (11 of 21) of the faceoffs in the team’s 10-8 upset of then-No. 1 Maryland on Saturday.

“We’ve got confidence in all of our faceoff guys,” Pietramala said. “[Assistant coach] Dave Allan does a great job with those guys, and we’ve worked very hard there. There have been days when Mike Poppleton has done well, and there have been days when Drew Kennedy has done very, very well, and other days when Craig Madarasz, the freshman, had a better day. It’s something where you never want to lose your first guy if that’s what happens, but that’s why you recruit. The next guy has to step up.”

Pietramala said there has been no change in the status of junior midfielder Rob Guida, who has missed six consecutive games because of an undisclosed ailment.

The Blue Jays’ second midfield of senior Lee Coppersmith, junior Rex Sanders and freshman Ryan Brown combined for seven goals and one assist, while the first line of seniors John Ranagan and John Greeley and freshman Holden Cattoni totaled one goal and two assists. Pietramala said the coaching staff is still mulling over the makeup of the midfield’s personnel.

“We haven’t made that decision yet,” he said. “We’ve kept our minds open. We’re basing our decisions off of how guys are practicing. After winning a game, you might have looked at it and thought that we’re going to keep things exactly the same. But I think win or lose, you have to evaluate what you’re doing, and we’ve just got to make sure that this is the right thing to continue to do.”

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