By Jessica Braveman | 6/5/14 4:00 PM
Coming into a professional league can be an adjustment for rookie athletes, but so far all of the 2014 Major League Lacrosse rookies appear to be settling well with their new teams. Many have been contributing factors in team wins and they can only improve from here. Here is a look at the rookies who have already started, and those who are predicted to join their teams in the coming weeks:
Machine rookie Tom Schreiber is proving that he has what it takes to play in the big leagues. In the three games he’s played with the team, Schreiber has scored 5 goals, with 2 assists and 5 groundballs, as well as being named the Week 6 Cascade Player of the Week. In this past weekend’s game against Bayhawks, Schreiber had a goal, an assist and 2 groundballs. Schreiber is continuing to climb the Ohio point leader board, and is proving to be an essential piece of the Machine offense.
The much-anticipated arrival of attackmen Miles Thompson and Mark Cockerton did not disappoint this past weekend as the Rattlers took on the Launch. Thompson, the recent Tewaaraton Award winner, tallied 3 shots on goal and picked up 2 ground balls. Cockerton also scored his first career goal. The rookie duo certainly made a good first impression on Rochester will hopefully continue to play on the same level. John LoCascio continued to do well picking up 4 ground balls and 1 shot off goal. The Rattlers are still awaiting the arrival of two more offensive players, Jordan Wolf (Duke) and Ty Thompson (Albany), who could join the team in the coming weeks.
The only rookie to play in this past weekend’s game against the Cannons was Joe Fletcher, who picked up one groundball in the team’s win. The Lizards had a strong defensive performance, and were able to stop the explosive Boston offense, forcing multiple shot clock penalties. While Fletcher’s performance wasn’t quite what it was in Week 4 when he was named the Warrior Defensive Player of the Week, it might have partially been overshadowed by veteran defenseman Tim Hendersen and his dominating performance in his first game following his return from Afghanistan. Based on his previous performances, and the strength of the defensive players surrounding him, Fletcher will continue to improve his game and could potentially be the best rookie defender.
After adding midfielder Ryan Creighton last weekend, the Florida Launch now have four rookies who are making an impact on the new team. This past weekend against Rochester, each of the four rookies saw time on the field. Kiernan McArdle continues to be one of the standouts from the 2014 class, and he added 2 goals for the Launch this weekend. Joe Meuer recorded his first professional point on an assist to Garrett Thul, and he also got two opportunities at the X, although he was 0-2 against the dominant veteran John Ortolani. Chris LaPierre picked up 3 ground balls for the Launch, and Creighton grabbed 1 ground ball in his first game. Florida continues to make an impression in their inaugural year, and some of their success can certainly be attributed to the rookies.
Both of the Rookies expected to join the Outlaws this week, Jeremy Noble and Colin Dunster, were able to get some playing time in their first game against the Hounds. Noble picked up 2 assists in last weekend's game, including one to fellow University of Denver alum Eric Law. Dunster also had a hand in the Outlaws’ win over Charlotte, with a shot on goal. Although neither rookie picked up huge numbers in last weekend’s game, both will certainly become important parts of Denver’s offense.
Charlotte utilized four rookies in this past weekend’s game against the Outlaws: Henry Lobb, Brendan Fowler, Thomas DeNapoli and Justin Ward. Lobb logged a full 60 minutes of playing time at defense and picked up 1 groundball. Lobb covered Outlaws leading scorer Eric Law, and held Law to his lowest offensive output of the season. Fowler, struggled at the face-off X and ended the game 3 for 11, well below his .590 percent success rate this past season at Duke. DeNapoli, who has played 3 games so far in his rookie career, scored a goal against Denver goalie Jesse Schwartzman. Ward, who was not mentioned in last week’s Rookie Roundup, led Loyola with 71 points this spring (18 goals, 53 assists), and will offer the Hounds immediate offensive support. Ward had a stellar debut at attack and led the Hounds in scoring with 1 goal and an assist, including a critical feed to Hounds Veteran Matt Danowski for a 2-point goal that gave the Hounds the lead early in the 4thQuarter. In the few games they’ve played, the Hounds rookies have already started to make an impact.
In this past weekend’s game against the Lizards, Boston featured three rookies not mentioned in last week’s edition of the Rookie Roundup. Cannons rookies Scott McWilliams (UVA), Rob Emery (UVA), and Austin Kaut (Penn State) all dressed for their MLL debut. Although the Cannons were unable to produce enough offensive firepower to defeat the Lizards, the game was neck-and-neck to the very end, showcasing how UVA first years McWilliams, a defenseman, and Emery, a midfielder, were able to keep pace in their first professional game. Emery even fired two shots. Although he did not play, Penn State goalkeeper Kaut did dress behind Jordan Burke. Should the Cannons need him, his 7.99 collegiate career goals against average demonstrates his competency between the pipes.
This week’s loss to the Machine did not feature any of the Bayhawks new rookies.
Be sure to check back next week for the latest information on the MLL’s 2014 Rookie Class.