By Patty Shields | 8/5/14 1:00 PM
The 2014 regular season has certainly been the year of the Rookies. With only one week left in regular season play, it’s time to start drafting picks for this year’s Cascade Rookie of the Year Award, and this year’s class has some solid contenders. Last year, New York’s Rob Pannell took home the crown, posting some of the best numbers in rookie history. Pannell found himself in the top five on the all-time rookie scoring list in all three categories, ranking second in total points (42), third in assists (17) and fourth in goals scored (25). This year, the rookies have looked to beat out Pannell’s impressive numbers, and definitely rank some of the best of all time.
Florida’s Kieran McArdle began his professional career during this 2014 season after being drafted with the 5th overall pick. He came off of a record-setting career at St. John’s University, ending his time as the BIG EAST Attack Player of the Year. McArdle has been setting records with the Launch as well; his 31 goals are the most scored by a rookie in a single season, surpassing Kevin Huntley, who set the record in 2008. He’s also tied for first in the Points set by a rookie category with 45. During Weeks 4 and 12 he was named Cascade Rookie of the Week, putting up 5 goals during both performances and assuring a 23-17 win against the Cannons during Week 12.
Jordan Wolf is certainly a rookie to watch, beginning his professional career during this 2014 season after being selected as the 2nd overall pick by Rochester. He came to the MLL following an outstanding college career, ending his senior season at Duke University as a Tewaaraton Finalist, 1st Team All-American selection, and the Most Outstanding Player in the 2014 NCAA Title game. After only being eligible for six games this season due to Duke’s post-season success, Wolf is 2nd on the Rattlers in points with 28, and has scored 18 goals thus far. Additionally, he was Cascade Rookie of the Week during Weeks 7 and 8. During Week 12 play Wolf put up an impressive 5 goals and added 2 assists, earning him Warrior Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Wolf’s teammate, Mark Cockerton, also has been an offensive threat for the Rattlers, beginning his professional career after being selected in the 7th round. He comes to Rochester following a dominant college career, finishing his 2014 season as a Tewaaraton Nominee. After being eligible for only eight games this season, he is 1st on the team in goals after finding the net 22 times thus far. Cockerton was selected as the Cascade Rookie of the Week during Weeks 9 and 13, and was Warrior Offensive Player of the Week during Week 11 after scoring 5 goals in a 10-7 win at Chesapeake.
Midfielder Tom Schreiber entered the 2014 MLL Season as the 1st overall pick in the draft by the Ohio Machine. He joins the MLL following a record setting college career at Princeton University, becoming the only midfielder, and one of five players, in Ivy League history to school at least 100 goals and 90 assists. Additionally, he holds Princeton records for goals, assists and points in a career by a midfielder. Thus far in 2014, he is third on the team in points by midfielders with 20, and has the 5th highest number of goals (13). In only his third appearance in the league he netted his first hat trick, an impressive feat for a rookie playing in a tough transition game.
Rounding out the top-rookie roster is New York’sJoe Fletcher, one of the most talked about defenseman of the 2014 season. An All-American at Loyola College, Fletcher was named to the USA Men’s National Training team roster, the only college player on the team. During Week 4, the rookie defenseman was recognized as the Warrior Defensive Player of the Week following an outstanding performance in his first MLL appearance. In only 9 games played, he’s corralled 29 groundballs, putting him 4th on the team.
It has certainly been an impressive season for the newest additions to the league. McCardle will be one to watch in the final game, as he and veteran, Casey Powell, hope to outscore the Machine during their second and final meeting. Wolf will be likely to get the nod if the Rattlers can hold their number one seed, especially if he continues to put up such outstanding numbers. Cockerton will also be an important asset in the final week, particularly as the Rattlers try to come out with a win against a tenacious Boston team to secure a home game during the playoff round.