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New York's Greg Gurenlian Wins Faceoff Specialist of the Year Award

March 18, 2016

BOSTON (July 28, 2015) – Major League Lacrosse has named Greg Gurenlian of the New York Lizards, the winner of the 2015 “FOAthlete award, presented by The Faceoff Academy”, an honor determined solely by statistical success at the faceoff position.

Gurenlian lived up to the nickname “The Beast”, after finishing the regular season with 280 faceoff wins out of a possible 383 attempts. This amazing feat broke the MLL single season record for most faceoffs wins, previously held by Alex Smith with 249 wins in 2008. Gurenlian’s 73.1% win percentage also makes him the current record holder for best MLL single season win percentage. If those two accomplishments weren’t enough, Gurenlian also claimed the record for most groundballs in a single season with 175.  

To put it all in perspective, Gurenlian played in all thirteen games this season and won over half his faceoffs each game while being matched up against faceoff players who statistically trailed Gurenlian by nearly 20%. The number two ranked faceoff specialist behind Gurenlian, Anthony Kelly of the Denver Outlaws, ended the regular season with a win ratio of 169 of 298 faceoffs or 56.7%. The third ranked faceoff player, Mike Poppleton of the Rochester Rattlers, finished with a win ration of 105-190 faceoffs or 55.2%.

The award’s sponsor, The Faceoff Academy, was developed by Greg Gurenlian, Chris Mattes, and Jerry Ragonese, with a mission dedicated to developing the lacrosse skills of every athlete through the highest quality of instruction. It may seem interesting that Gurenlian, a Co-Founder and Coach of the sponsoring brand, is the award's recipient, but given the award being based on the statistical best faceoff specialist in Major League Lacrosse, it can only confirm that Gurenlian is living up to his mission of providing the best faceoff training by the best in the game.  The FaceOff Academy who’s goal of providing  knowledge and skills at the “X” to aspiring athletes, can now proudly claim the best in the business on and off the field as well.

“When the FOA made this award, the idea was to give face-off athletes their own category that way it wouldn’t infringe upon any defensive athletes,” said Gurenlian. “It’s a huge honor but this is really going to our entire face-off unit. DeNap, Hartzell and Unterstein have been so great so I thank them for this.”


Final MLL 2015 Faceoff Statistical Standings



Greg Gurenlian

New York




Anthony Kelly





Mike Poppleton





Greg Puskuldjian





Brendan Fowler





Chris Mattes





Craig Bunker




Gurenlian heads into the Playoffs with the New York Lizards as they face off against the Boston Cannons on Saturday, August 1, at 6:30 pm. EST at James Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, NY. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased HERE.

The winner of that game will move on to the 2015 MLL Championship Game on Saturday, August 8, at 7 pm., at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga. Tickets for the Championship game can be purchased HERE.