By Jessica Braveman | 7/24/14 12:00 PM
As we enter Week 12, it becomes clear just how important the last few games of the season are: three teams are within arms reach of clinching the playoffs, while others brace themselves for elimination. With only three regular-season games remaining, the 2014 Rookie Class will push to make final impressions, and help propel their teams into the playoffs. Here is a look at the rookies who have been making an impact so far this season:
Rookie attackman Derek Maltz stole the show with four goals. Maltz was selected 39th overall in the 2014 MLL Collegiate Draft. Fellow rookie midfielder Tom Schreiber scored one goal and had three assists. Schreiber had the overtime, game winning goal and secured the win for the Machine.
Mark Cockerton has taken the Coca-Cola Player of the Game title for the second time this season, scoring five consecutive goals against the Chesapeake Bayhawks. “He can’t miss,” his teammates say, and his shooting percentage can back them up. Ty Thompson made his long anticipated professional debut. It took him a little while to find his rhythm, but he was able to nail one goal and one assist just before the game ended. The rookies have helped propel the Rattlers to the top, and the team is currently tied for first place with the Denver Outlaws.
With five players out in Denver for the 2014 FIL World Games, the Lizards needed their rookies to step up this past weekend in their match-up against the Cannons. Joe Fletcher continued his strong rookie season, picking up seven groundballs. Brandon Mangan had one goal and two ground balls in his third game with the Lizards. Joining Fletcher and Mangan, Alex Zomerfeld, attackman out of Bryant, made his rookie debut. Zomerfeld grabbed two groundballs against the Cannons.
Kieran McArdle continues to do well for the Florida Launch. He scored five of the ten goals against Denver last week and tallied one assist. The Launch added another rookie this past weekend with Bobby Lawrence making his professional debut. The former Colgate defenseman picked up an impressive seven groundballs against the Outlaws.
With the help of some of their rookies, Denver was able to win 13-10 against the Florida Launch last weekend. In the first quarter Brent Hiken came through with one goal and two ground balls, and Colin Dunster had one assist and one ground ball in the fourth quarter.
Justin Ward, Mike Chanenchuk and Thomas DeNapoli all scored for the Hounds in their overtime loss in Ohio. Ward’s first-half hat trick moved him into first on the team in scoring, and proved that he is more than just a feeder. The Hounds have had more contributions from first years than any other club in the MLL, but the youth movement has been unable to garner victories in the last two weeks. Pat Laconi, Michael Ehrhardt and Henry Lobb all made their sixth appearance for Charlotte. The Hounds will need their pack of rookies to lead the playoff push in the final three weeks of the season.
Rob Emery ensured that Cannons' top guns weren't missed too much while they were away at the FIL World Games by assisting Will Manny's first of four goals, and netting the second goal of the game himself. Johns Hopkins defenseman Jack Reilly dressed for his first game of the season, combining with fellow first year defenseman Scott McWilliams for three ground balls. Austin Kaut continues to back Jordan Burke in goal.
In this past weekend’s 10-7 loss to Rochester, the Bayhawks utilized three rookies—their most all season. Brandon Benn played in his second game for Chesapeake, picking up one groundball. Rookies Brian Cooper, midfielder out of Maryland, and Mark McNeill, midfielder out of North Carolina, made their professional debuts. In his first game, McNeill grabbed four groundballs.
Be sure to check back next week for the latest information on the MLL’s 2014 Rookie Class.