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Rattlers Move On with Convincing Semifinals Win Over Lizards

August 11, 2018
Click here Championship Game Tickets

The Dallas Rattlers righted a few past wrongs in front of 6,124 fans at their new Texas home and in the process will return to the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Championship Game for the first time since 2015.

The 15-12 wire-to-wire victory over the New York Lizards, the team that beat the Rattlers in the 2015 title game and had won seven games in a row dating back to 2014, put salve on a few old wounds.

Much of the credit for the victory can be traced to possession time and a dominant performance at the faceoff-X by Drew Simoneau contributed to that, as well as winning the ground ball battle. The Sidewinders outfought the Lizards 43-30 in ground balls. Were it not for the Lizards cashing in on three-of-seven man-up opportunities, the Rattlers win might look a bit more lopsided. 

Simoneau, who has taken every single faceoff for the Rattlers this season, won 24-of-31 faceoffs against four different competitors, scored a goal and scooped up 10 ground balls. 

"Drew did a heckuva job tonight. He has done it all season. He's a grinder. He hurt his ankle early in the game, he battled through it, and as a team, you rally around that stuff. That's the kind of guy Drew is," said defender Joel White, who had 10 ground balls and two goals, including a highlight-reel crease dive from behind the cage in the first quarter. Eight different Rattlers scored goals in the first half and they held a 9-5 halftime lead.

"We had gotten out to some quick starts throughout the season and have been letting them up. That was kind of our mentality not to let that happen tonight, let's lock it in and see if we can keep this lead," White said. "I think we started to bend a little bit in the second half but we didn't break. We are excited about the win but are even more excited about having 60 more minutes together."

Jordan Wolf and Randy Staats each had two goals and two assists, while Ben Reeves and Ty Thompson had a pair each. Goaltender John Galloway turned aside 12 shots to earn his ninth win of the season against just one loss. 

The Lizards' Rob Pannell, who set a new MLL points record this season with 78, scored a hat trick and added two assists. Midseason acquisition, Jake Bernhardt added a hat trick and one assist for New York. Will Manny had a pair of goals and Paul Rabil had one goal and one assist.

The Rattlers will face the Denver Outlaws in the championship game in Charleston Saturday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. at MUSC Health Stadium. 

Click here Championship Game Tickets.