By Natalie Johnson | 6/5/14 4:50 PM
The Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game, Thursday, June 26 at Harvard Stadium, is fast approaching, and with it, predictions for who will make the cut are proliferating. Team MLL will be announced Tuesday, June 10, and until then, we will preview who we believe to be worthy of donning an All-Star Jersey. Be sure to check out the MLL All-Star Game event page for tickets and information.
The league’s newest team isn’t short on stars, but the excellent play of the Florida Launch has been a great surprise in the early weeks of the season. Players have been stepping up in many different areas, and they will no doubt be rewarded with an All-Star selection. Two of Florida’s top players have already been claimed by Team USA, but several more should be making an appearance in the All-Star Game for Team MLL. At the game, you can expect to see a few of the Launch’s offensive weapons, including Kieran McArdle or Kevin Crowley, as well as goalie Brett Queener.
One of the biggest stories for the Launch this year has been the addition of rookie Kieran McArdle. McArdle ended his college career at St. John’s in May as Big East Attackman of the Year, and he hardly missed a beat after entering the MLL. He was one of the first 2014 draftees to join the league, and he quickly made his presence known. In just his second professional game, McArdle recorded six points and was named Cascade Rookie of the Week. He leads all MLL rookies in goals and points, but his game is impressive for a player of any experience level. McArdle currently sits within the MLL’s top 20 point scorers, despite missing the first two weeks of the season.
Another reason for Florida’s success this season is the outstanding play of goalkeeper Brett Queener. The Launch seem to follow the veteran’s lead: when Queener has a great game in the net, the team starts clicking both offensively and defensively. Queener is no stranger to the All-Star Game, having been selected four out of the past five years. 2013 was statistically one of his best seasons, and he’s only getting better this year. Queener currently leads the league with 72 saves through 5 games. His veteran presence in the net has been a huge boost for the young Launch, and his athleticism has proven to be a huge advantage for the team. A great personality off the field as well, Queener has had an illustrious career and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
One more potential All-Star is star midfielder Kevin Crowley. Crowley is quickly returning to his award-winning form of 2013, as he is currently tied with McArdle for third place on the team with 10 points this season, and is tied for second in assists. Last season, he was named Brine Offensive Player of the Year after scoring 55 points with the Hamilton Nationals, and he was also named MVP of the 2013 All-Star Game after recording 3 goals and 2 assists in his first All-Star appearance. Crowley is certain to put on a show again this year if selected for the All-Star Game.
Lining up against the All-Stars will be the two Florida Launch players selected for Team USA, defenseman Tucker Durkin and attackman Garrett Thul. Each of these players will be making their first appearance in the All-Star, as they are both in their second year in the league. Thul was named Warrior Offensive Player of the Week after the second game of the year, in which he recorded a hat trick to help Florida achieve their first win as a club. Meanwhile, Durkin has been become the defensive star for the Launch, scooping up 12 ground balls and proving to be a force against some of the high-octane offenses that Florida has faced this season.
Team MLL will faceoff against Team USA June 26th at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Mass. showcasing some of the world’s best lacrosse in action and in a skills competition. If you don’t have your tickets for the event yet, be sure to check out the MajorLeagueLacrosse.com All-Star pagefor information regarding the event.