By Molly Shunney | 6/6/14 4:00 PM
The first double overtime in Major League Lacrosse history took place Thursday night in a matchup between the charged Rochester Rattlers and the buckled down Chesapeake Bayhawks. As if the back-and-forth momentum wasn’t exciting enough, Rattlers attackman Kevin Leveille earned yet another hat trick, scoring six goals in the last two games.
Let’s keep in mind that this was no ordinary hat trick. In a tenacious battle to the finish, Leveille’s third goal of the game solidified the Rattlers win and rewrote the record books. Leveille earned the top spot for the MLL All-Time goal scoring record, previously held by Tim Goettelman. With that, he was able to tie Goettelman for All-Time game-winning goals. Currently in his 10th season, Leveille sits at the top of a couple of extremely accomplished lists. In a phone Q&A, we were able to hear a few thoughts from the noteworthy veteran.
The quiet, humble captain of the Rochester Rattlers displayed his modesty when asked about the anticipation leading up to his record-breaking goal. “I didn’t think about it at all really,” he said. Immediately, he referenced the influence of playing with his brother Mike and players such as Conor Gill, Mark Millon and Ned Crotty. After crediting the guys he has played with over the years, he reminds us that, for him, “the focus is always on the W” rather than breaking any records. “It’s definitely exciting,” he adds. “I appreciate all the support from everybody”.
Last year, the Rattlers were unable to make the playoffs. However, the vibe this year is different and the Rattlers seem more connected than ever. Though the team lost some key players transitioning into this season, they were able to avoid any shortcomings with rookies such as Miles Thompson (A), John LoCascio (D), and Mark Cockerton (A). “We have what we call “Rat-itude”, Leveille said in response to the 2014 roster. “We enjoy being out there, we understand our roles.”
When it comes to mentoring the rookies, Leveille doesn’t see it that way. “Guys seem to be coming out of college more prepared to play than back in the day when I started,” he said. “We treat everyone the same, everyone’s equal on our squad. We show them a lot of respect coming in.”
Leveille has a lot to look forward to as a member of the 30-man roster for Team USA. While the final roster has not been determined yet, Leveille’s performance on the field will help him earn his keep. “It would truly mean everything,” he said about making the final cut. “That’s kind of what has kept me going. It has always been a goal of mine. Being named to the 30-man is an honor in itself.”
Leveille just missed the final cut for the last USA team, four years ago, and is looking to cement his spot this time. He feels confident in his performance thus far this season, stating that it’s been “an exciting year of lacrosse for me personally and I look forward to keeping that going.”
On Thursday, June 26th the All-Star Game will host Team USA at Harvard Stadium. It’s bound to be fast-paced, aggressive game and Leveille agreed. “Everyone involved here in the MLL and Team USA are very competitive. I mean, that’s a part of what makes this League so successful. I don’t think anyone’s going to be holding back on either side, so it should be a good game.”
As for Team USA’s chances in the World Championship, Leveille knows it won’t be an easy feat. With that being said, he has no doubt the team will be prepared and have the right people in the right place.
Leveille looks to continue his overwhelming success with not only the Rochester Rattlers, but also the League itself. “When I’m on the field I’m usually in awe of how quick everything happens, how fast guys are, how big they are, how hard they shoot…” He gives credit to the early guys that stuck with the League during its earliest days when there was never the promise of following seasons. As a veteran familiar with the League’s continual growth, he notes that the “game just keeps getting better and better.”
Leveille and the Rochester Rattlers are gearing up to play the Ohio Machine at Selby Stadium Saturday June 14th. Be sure to tune in to the MLL's YouTube Channel at 5:30 PM ET to watch the game.