By Jessica Braveman | 6/6/14 3:30 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 New York Lizards have a roster of impressive talent. Between league point leaders and a dominating faceoff man, its no surprise that New York continues to be successful. The 2014 Lizards roster features eight members of the U.S. National Team, as well as a handful of potential Major League Lacrosse All-Stars. The eight U.S. National Team members include attackmen Ned Crotty and Rob Pannell; midfielders JoJo Marasco and Max Seibald; defensemen Joe Fletcher, Kyle Hartzell and Brian Karalunas; and goalie Drew Adams.
Although many of the Lizards players deserve credit for the hard work they put in on the field, three potential All-Stars really stand out. Faceoff specialist Greg Gurenlian, and midfielders Matt Striebel and Albert Maione all have the qualities of All-Stars.
Greg “The Beast” Gurenlian is known for his domination at the X, acting as the Lizards’ only FOGO specialist, and could potentially be selected to the All-Star roster for the second time. So far in the 2014 season, Gurenlian has been 84-138 on faceoffs, has scored 2 goals and has 30 groundballs. As the single-season record holder for highest faceoff win percentage (.641), Gurenlian can certainly be called an all-star. Gurenlian is always neck and neck with Boston’s Chris Eck, who will most-likely be the faceoff man for Team USA, for most faceoff wins, and would give the MLL All-Star Team the best chance at the X.
As a ten-year veteran of the league, Matt Striebel has had much success, including being a previous MLL All-Star. In the first five games of the 2014 season, Striebel has accumulated 5 goals, 2 assists and 13 groundballs. In the past two seasons (2013 and 2012), Striebel has had the most 2-point goals (8). Striebel’s tenure in the league and strong presence in the Lizard’s offense make him a good candidate for the MLL All-Star team.
Since joining the Lizards in 2010, Albert Maione has continued to be toward the top of the team’s point leaderboard with 16 points, 4 assists and 11 groundballs. So far this season, Maione has scored 6 goals and had 8 shots on goal. As an important member of the Lizards offense, Maione would fit right in on an All-Star Roster.
New York has more U.S. National Team players on their roster than any other MLL team. Of the eight Lizards on the U.S. roster, three players stand out: Ned Crotty, Rob Pannell and rookie Joe Fletcher.
Out of these three Lizards, Crotty is the only veteran, having previously been on the 2010 National Team roster. In his career, Crotty has scored 78 goals, with 74 assists and 48 groundballs. So far this season, Crotty has scored 8 goals, had 4 assists and picked up 3 groundballs. Pannell is only in his second year in Major League Lacrosse, but has already proved that he belongs among the best. In his two years with the Lizards, Pannell has totaled 36 goals, 25 assists, 24 groundballs and was named the 2013 Cascade Rookie of the Year. Fletcher made the U.S. National Team this spring, during his senior year at Loyola, and months before playing his first game for New York. Throughout his college career, Fletcher accumulated 76 caused turnovers, 1 goal, 1 assist and picked up 191 groundballs. So far in his two games with the Lizards, Fletcher has picked up 3 groundballs and was named the Warrior Defensive Player of the Week in Week 4.
With Lizards players potentially on both the All-Star Team and the U.S. National Team, it will be interesting to see how the teammates could possibly match up against each other at the MLL All-Star Game.
Team MLL will face off against Team USA, Thursday, 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 page for information regarding the event.