Kenary in familiar territory on top of scoring heap
TJ Kenary (19) is the school's all-time leading goal scorer. Play Video
TJ Kenary (19) is the school's all-time leading goal scorer.
TJ Kenary is in a familiar spot and why not? He’s lived near the top rungs of his team’s scoring stats since high school.

He’s leading the JU men’s lacrosse team in scoring, was one of the leaders in scoring last season and was third on the team as a freshman. Same thing in high school.

And, the junior is the all-time JU program leader in the category.

Kenary, from Alpharetta, Ga., has 10 goals from his attack position this year and his 51 career goals are most ever in the third-year program, not something of which he was aware.

“No, not really,’’ he said, “I don’t think about scoring too much because for most of my goals I’d bet 99 percent have been assisted.’’

Because of those assists, he downplays his role in the scoring operation.

“I’m not really doing too much on my end, I’m usually feeding off middies dodging or other attack men dodging or just playing off the ball,’’ he said. “I’m more of a catch and shoot guy.’’

Kenary began his catching and shooting in the program’s first year with 20 goals and added another 19 last season. As this season nears the halfway point, he sits at 10.

“It was the same deal in high school (Milton HS),’’ the marketing major said. “I’m comfortable catching and shooting. I can get in the right spots and I know how to feed off our other middies who are always dodging.’’

To get in position, however, there are certain things Kenary looks for as the game unfolds.

“You have to be aware of your defenseman and where he’s looking and what the middies on your team tend to dodge to,’’ he said. “You see where the defense is sliding to so you can go fill that spot. You find a way to get open, it’s not too tough. If somebody sees you (and gets you the ball) you finish.’’

“TJ’s interesting,’’ coach Guy Van Arsdale said. “He has some very specific skills that he has found a way to utilize to its utmost. He is a goal scorer and he’s a terrific shooter and has range to his shot and has done a nice job tweaking his technique and becoming more consistent in his shooting. That’s one area he has worked hard at and getting better.’’

Now that Kenary has the shooting portion of his game down, Van Arsdale would like to see more.

“We would like to see him round out his game and add some aspects to it that will make him that much more dangerous,’’ he said. “His success is predicated a lot by what’s going on around him and other players creating and realizing we need to get TJ the ball in a spot where he has his hands free and get a shot off. He’s one of our best options in that situation and our guys recognize that.’’

It is something he has been doing since about fifth grade when all the older guys dropped hockey and baseball for lacrosse. In Kenary’s case, he was a shortstop/third baseman and his mom, Mary Jane, hasn’t forgiven him for giving up baseball.

“She still has a grudge against me for that,’’ he said. “But this is a lot more fun than baseball.’’

Kenary said his scoring motivation seems to come at a higher level against certain opponents – those who tend to trash talk and take liberties near the goal.

“I like playing against chippy defensemen, it gets me motivated,’’ he said. “If I’m playing against a really nice defenseman I don’t have as much drive to take it to him. If I’m playing against a guy who is giving me cheap shots I’ll be looking to go to the cage more.’’

- Jim Nasella