By Jessica Braveman | 6/26/14 12:20 PM
The 2014 Major League Lacrosse Rookie Class has picked up steam in the second half of the season, after finally adjusting to the fast-paced style of the MLL. They’ve been contributing factors in team wins and have continuously improved their game. Here is a look at the rookies who have already started, and those who are predicted to join their teams in the coming weeks:
After a tough battle in the Coliseum at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., the Ohio Machine ended up losing to the Boston Cannons, 17-16 in an overtime match. Tom Schreiber, who will be appearing for Team MLL in the All-Star Game, once again made his presence known in the team’s loss. Schreiber scored the game-tying goal, keeping the Machine alive and sending them to overtime.
The Rochester rookies refuse to slow down as they helped the Rattlers win their first road game against the Florida Launch last week. Attackman Jordan Wolf was impressive, tallying seven points, with two goals and five assists. His performance earned him Coca-Cola Player of the Game, giving him his second post-game title (he earned the Cascade Rookie of the Week in Week 7). For the first time since his debut, Miles Thompson couldn’t find the net. He did tally one assist in the third quarter, feeding the ball to teammate Jordan MacIntosh. Mark Cockerton found the net late in the second and defenseman John LoCascio picked up seven groundballs. The rookies will need to keep up this momentum in order to take on powerhouse Denver Outlaws later this week.
In this past weekend’s win against the Hounds, Lizards rookies Joe Fletcher and Brandon Mangan had notable performances. Fletcher, who will be appearing in the All-Star Game for Team USA, had two groundballs and multiple impressive stops on defense against a tough Charlotte attack. Mangan scored one goal for New York and set a huge pick on two Charlotte defenders, sending him to the ground and giving veteran Rob Pannell the chance to score.
Continuing to make a strong case for MLL Rookie of the Year, Kieran McArdle scored twice for Florida last week and added an assist as well, bringing his season total to 21 points in just six games. Chris LaPierre also found the back of the net, and he now has three goals in five games. Making his first appearance for Florida last week was Tyler Knarr, a second team All-Big East selection out of Georgetown who was primarily a faceoff specialist and groundball vacuum. Although he saw limited time in his first professional game, Knarr went 2-for-6 at the X and picked up one ground ball.
Rookie Jeremy Noble had a pretty solid performance in last weekend’s win over the Bayhawks. His four groundballs and one assist to Justin Pennington helped the Outlaws to their 9-6 victory. Terry Ellis, rookie midfielder out of the University of Denver, made his debut, picking up one ground ball for the Outlaws.
Despite losing yet another road game, the Hounds faithful should remain encouraged by the strong play of the rookie corps. Justin Ward recorded his fourth consecutive multi-point game and Mike Chanenchuk has scored at least one goal in all three of his games played so far. Pat Laconi and Thomas DeNapoli have both established themselves at the midfield. Davey Emala, a 2013 graduate and midfielder out of North Carolina, was picked up by Charlotte in the MLL 2014 Supplemental Draft and made his MLL debut. Henry Lobb suited up at defense and was kept busy by Lizards’ All-Star attackman Rob Pannell. While the loss last week is a sign of growing pains, this group will continue to improve and lead the Hounds towards the playoffs.
Rob Emery continued to demonstrate his ability to perform at the professional level last Saturday, netting two more goals against the Ohio Machine in the Cannons' thrilling sudden victory overtime win. Having dressed for four games, the UVA graduate averages a goal per game. His collegiate counterpart Scott McWilliams is still adjusting to his new expectations as a short stick defender, but did not dress for the game. Austin Kaut dressed but did not see time behind Jordan Burke.
Chesapeake only featured one rookie in the team’s 9-6 loss to Denver. Brandon Benn, attackman out of Johns Hopkins, scored one goal against the Outlaws—the team’s only goal in the second quarter.
The 2014 MLL All-Star Game, which will feature rookies Tom Schreiber for Team MLL and Joe Fletcher for Team USA, is TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m. at Harvard Stadium in Boston, MA. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or by calling 617-746-9933.
Be sure to check back next week for the latest information on the MLL’s 2014 Rookie Class.