By Rachel Villari | 6/9/14 10:20 AM
The Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game 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.
Although Paul Rabil, Mitch Belisle, Chris Eck, and Kevin Buchanan have already been claimed by Team USA, the Boston Cannons still have talent to lend to the MLL All-Star Team in attackman Will Manny, midfielder Stephen Berger, defenseman Brodie Merrill and goaltender Jordan Burke.
Manny has the best offensive firepower behind Buchanan and Rabil, literally in second place behind Buchanan on the team in goals (12) and behind Rabil in points (20). However, Manny has no previous experience playing in an All-Star Game, despite his impressive numbers. Midfielder Stephen Berger, is next in line in tallies with 11 goals and 15 points, plus four years of showings in All-Star Games (’09, ’10, ’11, and ’12), where he posted six goals and eight points. Either will surely prove to be an offensive threat for the All-Stars.
Defensively, Boston has the cream of the crop to offer the MLL All-Stars in Brodie Merrill, who has shut down stellar competition in six past All-Star Games, his first of which was in 2005. In six games alone this season he has collected 26 ground balls, second on the team only to Eck.
The All-Stars’ backstop will need to be experienced and hot to matchup against Team USA, who believe they have snagged the top three goaltenders in the League. The Cannons believe otherwise, though. Despite his injury inflicted 2013 season and not making the national team’s 50-man roster over the summer, Burke has not waivered and continues to compete at the top level. Currently, he holds the League’s second lowest goals against average (9.89) having started and played all six games this season. His .569 save percentage is second in the League behind Jesse Schwartzman and above Drew Adams’ .524 and John Galloway’s .570, all of whom are Team USA members.
On the other side of the field will be familiar teammates. Paul Rabil is used to the limelight, and with good cause. Dubbed as one of the most decorated and storied lacrosse players ever to take the field, he has helped carry many teams to a variety of championships, including Team USA’s victory over Canada in the 2010’s FIL World Lacrosse Championship. Although fellow defenseman Mitch Belisle, midfielder Chris Eck and attackman Kevin Buchanan have yet to compete at the World level like Rabil, they are no less ready, dominating the MLL season thus far. Eck is in third place in the League at the ‘X’, and Buchanan is second on the League leaderboard for goals with 17.
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 day.