By Jessica Braveman | 6/23/14 4:45 PM
The 2014 Major League Lacrosse Rookie Class has made quite the impression so far this season. They’ve been scoring leaders and have had strong performances on defense. Many joined up with the league as soon as they finished school, determined to start their professional careers. What’s even more impressive is that two rookies will be playing in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game taking place on Thursday June 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Mass. (Don’t have your tickets yet? Get them HERE or call 617-746-9933).
Our two All-Star rookies this year are Ohio’s Tom Schreiber, who will be playing for Team MLL, and New York’s Joe Fletcher, who will be on Team USA. Both have been incredible this season for their respective teams, and are setting themselves up to be at the top of their class. Schreiber and Fletcher have continuously been the stars of the Rookie Roundups and we’re excited to see what they’ll do in the All-Star Game.
Let’s take a look at both Schreiber and Fletcher, and see how they were selected to the teams, and what they’ll need to do in order to be successful when playing with the best of the best:
A four-year starter at Princeton, Schreiber had a successful college career, scoring 106 goals, with 94 assists and 104 groundballs. He was a 2013 Tewaaraton Trophy finalist, 2012 First Team All-America and the 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Schreiber’s collegiate stats caught the eyes of the Ohio Machine, who drafted him first overall in this year’s collegiate draft. In the five games he has played with the Machine, Schreiber has totaled nine goals, two assists and six groundballs, as well as being named the Week 6 Cascade Rookie of the Week. Schreiber’s stellar debut season caught the eye of the league and landed him on his first All-Star roster.
As a midfielder for Team MLL, Schreiber will face tough defenders on the field. A possible 12 defensive players, including fellow rookie Fletcher, who are considered the nation’s best could cover him. Schreiber will need to work to get open because the Team USA players will not make it easy for him as they fight for spots on the 23-man roster. To beat out his defenders, Schreiber will need to have a top performance, perhaps his strongest of the season.
Fletcher was a top defender for Loyola, tallying 191 ground balls, 76 caused turnovers, and even picked up two points with a goal and an assist. Throughout his collegiate career, he earned multiple honors including USILA All-America First Team and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year. Fletcher was drafted third overall by the New York Lizards, and immediately after graduation, flew to Ohio to join the Lizards in their victory over the Machine. Fletcher was named the Week 4 Warrior Defensive Player of the Week in Week 4 after his first game with the team. In his four games with the Lizards, Fletcher has been solid on defense, shutting down top offensive players on opposing teams and grabbing 12 groundballs. During his senior year, Fletcher made the US National Team try-out roster and has survived two cuts, landing him on the current 30-man roster. Fletcher will play for Team USA in the MLL All-Star Game.
The Team MLL offense has some of the top scorers in the league, including Eric Law and Jeremy Sieverts of Denver, Peter Baum and Logan Schuss of Ohio, and Justin Turri of Rochester. For rookie defender Fletcher, these are the players he’ll need to keep an eye on. Fletcher is capable of playing tight coverage—he’s displayed it against his competitors all season—and he’ll need to be on top of his game against Team MLL.
The 2014 MLL All-Star Game is a chance for both rookies to prove that they belong among the best players in the league. Their progress as first year pros has given them the opportunity to play either for or against the US National Team, an experience that many lacrosse players will never have. There’s the possibility that Fletcher could find himself defending Schreiber as he charges toward the goal, forcing the two rookies one-on-one. You’ll have to check out the 2014 Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game to witness the rookie showdown.
For more information regarding the event, visit majorleaguelacrosse.com/all-star-game