By Jackie Loson | 8/7/13 9:10 AM
Hamilton Nationals defenseman Brodie Merrill is a six-time MLL Defensive Player of the Year, and the absolute best at his job on the field. Undoubtedly, he's a top candidate for this year's same award.
The 50-50 ball is an important part of the game of lacrosse at any level, whether it be professional, women's, or youth. It gives your team an extra possession, an extra goal, maybe an extra win. Merrill has given his team an extra 699 possessions throughout his career.
The long-pole lefty is a groundball vacuum. He has the necessary fundamental skills, an aggressive nature, and the mindset that no ball is unobtainable. He's a ball-hawk, constantly watching the ball and putting himself in good positioning so when the ball drops, it's his. He also has the uncanny ability to just get it done.
Merrill entered the League in 2005, selected as the third overall draft pick out of Georgetown University. Throughout the nine years of his career, Merrill has been selected eight times to the All-Star Game, seven times to the All-MLL Team, and owned MLL Defensive Player of the Year for six consecutive seasons. His 699 career groundballs are a clear number one in MLL's record books, while 18 single-game groundballs are a personal best for number 17.
What makes Merrill dangerous is his stick skills. His ball handling is just as good as a midfielder’s, therefore always a threat in transition and offensive sets. The defender has tallied 118 points in his career, which averages out to 1.15 points per game, impressive for a long-pole.
Merrill has led the Hamilton Nationals to a turn-around season, currently 9-4 with a spot clinched for Championship Weekend. The Nationals defense leads the League in groundballs with 438, averaging out to 33.69 per game. Merrill has grabbed 79 of these, first in the League among defensemen, averaging 6.58 per game, and nearly 20 percent of Hamilton's average. Merrill scooped a season-high 10 groundballs in Week 10, and earned Player of the Week accolades in Week Two.
Merrill has raised the Steinfeld Trophy three times in his career. The defender knows what it takes to win a championship, and will undoubtedly do whatever it takes to earn one more. If Defensive Player of the Year happens to fall in his lap, well he'll take that too.
Find out if Merrill wins the coveted award right here on MajorLeagueLacrosse.com on August 20 and be sure to visit www.MajorLeagueLacrosse.com/Championship-Weekend for tickets and more information about the 2013 Championship Weekend, presented by Smartlink.