By Erika Wentzell | 9/5/12 10:43 AM
Brendan Mudorf, affectionately called Muney by his teammates and fans, was on an emotional rollercoaster thanks to the events of the 2012 MLL Championship weekend.
Mundorf was named the 2012 Bud Light MLL Season Most Valuable Player two days before he and the rest of the top seeded Denver Outlaws were set to compete with three other teams for the MLL Championship Title. The MVP award is based on votes submitted by the head coach and general manager of each of the leagues eight teams. He called the distinction “an honor.”But he was quick to pass the spotlight away from himself and shine it onto his teammates.
“I think it was a direct reflection of how well our team played throughout the year. I really feel like it was more of a team award, you have to be on the best team in the league in order to win that award. So I was fortunate enough to have a bunch of good guys around me.”
In an unfortunate turn of events Mundorf was injured in practice one day after being named MVP, and he was forced to sit out of the semi-finals against the Long Island Lizards. He described how his injury affected him “It was tough, I was really looking forward to playing, it was our ultimate goal to win the Championship title and I was excited to help the team get there.” Brendan admitted that his injury was frustrating and bad timing but he managed to look positively at the situation in saying “I guess I’m fortunate that it didn’t happen mid-way through the season or the beginning of the season.” He didn’t dwell on his own situation for very long because his team looked to his leadership and encouragement when the Outlaws fell behind in the first half of the semi-finals.
Mundorf is a seven season MLL veteran and the all time leading scorer in Denver Outlaws history with 206 career goals with 100 assists in 79 career games. His expertise in professional lacrosse makes him an example but his natural leadership is what makes him a motivator. Since he could not provide his on field talents during Championship Weekend, Muney capitalized on his ability to motivate his teammates. “When I got that injury it was time to focus on getting the guys motivated and to stay as positive as possible and being a leader on the sidelines.”
His team was down 8-2 at half time of the semi-finals when he made a speech to get them going. The theme of his speech was as follows.
“I think I gave them some insight from what I saw X’s and O’s wise. And also a little bit of motivation just to keep their confidence up. I really just stressed that all of the guys had to go out there and play loose, play with confidence that we had earned from being the number one seeded team coming in there. I mean the guys played great all year and they just needed to do that again.”
Whatever Mundorf said seemed to ignite a spark in the Outlaws who were able to come from 9 points behind in the 3rd quarter to beat the Lizards 13-12 and qualify for the MLL Finals. Mundorf called the comeback spectacular; “I don’t ever remember coming back like that in a game, that was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Adversity is often a catalyst for greatness, and this was exactly the case for Outlaws rookie Chris Bocklet. He was chosen to fill Mundorf’s spot on attack and he rose to the occasion when his team needed him most. Bocklet scored five of his six game goals in the second half of the semi-final game and he played a major role in the Outlaws impressive comeback. Mundorf said the rookie’s performance was unbelievable. “I think every time Bocklet touched the ball he seemed to be scoring a goal. He’s a big time player, really talented. It was huge, without that performance we wouldn’t have won that game.” Mundorf added that he looks forward to continue playing with Bocklet and is excited to witness what the talented young player will accomplish in his career.
Mundorf and the rest of the Outlaws were riding high headed into Sunday’s Championship against the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Brendan suited up for the game in hopes of helping his team win their first MLL Championship title. However, the emotional rollercoaster was about to go for another loop. He had received shots of local anesthetics to his ankle to alleviate his pain and allow him to play. The day did not go as according to plan. Brendan explained “I went out for warm ups and felt good, towards the end of warm ups some feeling started coming back in my ankle. By the time the game started it was almost back to what it felt like on Saturday so it was just tough.”
The attackman started the day thinking he would be in on the action but his injury prevailed over the medicine and severely limited his effectiveness. Despite his best efforts he was forced to sit out most of the second half.
Mundorf explained “ It was a very high point in the day when I thought that I’d be playing close to one hundred percent before and during warm ups and then by the time the game started … It was frustrating, that’s the best way to describe it.”
A combination of factors worked against the Outlaws during the Championship game and they were never able to gain enough momentum to take control of the game. The Chesapeake Bayhwaks dominated and won the game 16-6, earning them their fourth MLL Championship.
The only thing Brendan Mundorf can do now is heal his injury and look forward to next season. He detailed his plans for the offseason: “I have to get surgery on my ankle so I’m doing that next Tuesday so that’s probably a five or six month recovery. I’m planning on rehabbing that pretty hard and trying to stay in good shape, as best as I can.” He hopes to be able to be able to play the end of the NLL season with the Philadelphia Wings.
As always Mundorf’s goal is to get stronger, faster, and better for next season. “I just want to continue to be a good teammate and a good leader for the team. I want to get better at distributing the ball, that’s always been a goal of mine, and just work on my feeding ability and running offense well.”
Now we must all wait and see if 2013 is the season that Brendan Mundorf and the Denver Outlaws win their first MLL Championship, after all don’t they say fifth times the charm?
About Major League Lacrosse
Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, was founded by Jake Steinfeld and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Major League Lacrosse commenced play in June of 2001 and will enter its thirteenth season in 2013. MLL has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports. The league is made up of eight teams: The Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws, Hamilton Nationals, Long Island Lizards, Ohio Machine and Rochester Rattlers.