Off the field, Matt Ledwin is a versatile and well-rounded person.
“He has approached his studies with the same passion he does his lacrosse,” said coach Craig Solomon of Hen Hud, where Ledwin is preparing for his junior season on the Sailors’ varsity squad.
But on the field, Ledwin is focused on faceoffs.
His exceptional skills in that area helped him become recognized as the premier faceoff specialist in Section 1 as a sophomore, and then, a target recruit of many of the nation’s premier Division I programs.
“Not only is he a great faceoff player but an even better student and person,” Solomon said. “We are so excited that we have him for two more seasons.
“Having Matt face off for us enables us as a team to win the possession battle and increases our chances of winning.”
Now, let’s get Matt’s thoughts on his commitment, his developing as a faceoff specialist extraordinaire and the recruiting process:
What were the main factors in your decision?
Strong academics and a strong lacrosse program where the main factors in my decision-making process. Because I also have an interest in Engineering, I wanted to find a school that was strong in that area as well. Johns Hopkins certainly qualifies in all of these areas.
Academically, JHU is ranked among the best undergraduate schools in the country. The Whiting School of Engineering is similarly world renowned.
And the lacrosse — well, we all know about that. 40 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, 18 NCAA championship game appearances and nine NCAA D-I national championships.
But the factor that really distinguished Hopkins from all the rest was the culture of success, responsibility and community that is fostered by Coaches (Dave) Pietramala and (Bill) Dwan and the rest of the JHU lacrosse staff.
After weighing all of the factors and comparing all the schools, I knew that joining the Hopkins family, as Coach Petro calls it, was absolutely, 100 percent the right decision for me.
You have no idea how excited and grateful I am to get the opportunity to attend JHU and play lacrosse for the Blue Jays. It’s almost like winning the lottery.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I was very fortunate to have received recruiting interest from many schools at the D-I, D-II and D-III levels. Other than Hopkins, the primary schools that I was seriously considering at various times in the recruiting process were Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Lehigh and Denver.
I visited all of those schools, except Denver, and I can honestly say they are each outstanding schools in their own right.
What adjustments do you think you will need to make to play at the next level?
Getting bigger, faster and stronger. Also improving my stick skills. Although I will likely be used as a FOGO in college, which is more than fine by me, I still want to be able to run the midfield especially on fast breaks and for those times that I have to play defense after a lost draw.
But perhaps the most important adjustment that I will have to make to succeed athletically and academically in college is improving my time management.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
My obvious strength is my ability to win faceoffs and start fast breaks off my pinch-n-pop move. I love to play the run-and-gun game. What I think I do better than most is control the ball after winning possession in a scrum, as opposed to a clean win and popping it forwards or backwards.
Reading defenses and finding my wing men with a pass or putting the ball where only they can get it is something which I really work at. It helps to have strong wing men and I have been very fortunate to have some of the best at Hen Hud.
How did you develop your skills as a faceoff specialist and improve them? What type of special training do you do?
I started taking faceoffs when I first started playing lacrosse with the Cortlandt town team. Facing off is not for everyone, especially for young players who mostly want the glory of scoring goals. But I really enjoyed the one-on-one battles.
I then started to get more serious about my craft by attending specialty faceoff camps. I have been going to Alex Smith’s FOGO camp in Maryland for several years now.
More locally, I go to Chris Eck’s faceoff clinics whenever they are offered. Chris has been a big supporter of mine and he was instrumental in improving my faceoff game and teaching me ball control and wing play. I also practice a lot at home in the basement listening to “down-set-whistle” on my ipod.
Coach (Craig) Solomon also strongly supported my development by allowing me to take just about every faceoff for the Sailors last year. Coach Solomon was also a great supporter of mine in the recruiting process.
I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to my parents, and especially my mom. Mom would often drop everything and drive me just about anywhere to attend a faceoff camp, lax tourney or recruiting showcase. Thanks Mom and Dad!
What were some of the big summer showcases you attended and how did you perform at them?
In the summer and fall, I play for Roy Colsey’s Team Superstar 2013 Blue Elite team. This past summer, we attended the Lehigh Laxfest, Maverik Big Time Shootout, UMass Midsummer Classic, Yale Bulldog Bash and Hot Beds.
I also attended several recruiting showcases such as the Moonlight Lacrosse Section 1 Showcase, Top 205 Rising Juniors, New England Top 150, CT Super Sophs and Maverik Showtime (National Recruiting Spotlight). I did really well at all of these events, especially at Showtime, where I was selected for the all-star game. That was huge as far as me getting noticed by some big time schools. This fall, I attended Jake Reed’s Nike Blue Chip camp in Charlotte, N.C., where I had another strong showing.
* For more info on Matt, check out his player profile by clicking here.
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Player’s perspective archive
* For a look at how schedules for teams from throughout the region for the 2012 season are shaping up, be sure to check out the “Schedules galore” thread.
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