By Caitlain Kelley
If there was ever a baby born with a lacrosse stick in his hands, it was Brett Queener. His parents coach. His sister played at Yale and his brother played at Georgetown. The Queener boys overlapped in high school and won the New York state championship when Brice was a senior and Brett was a sophomore. Brett then attended Albany and is now in his third season in Major League Lacrosse and has a Brett a career save average of 62.4% playing against the best in the world.
Queener’s saving abilities are from more than good genes, he prepares both mentally and physically. Although he is a goalie who likes to run out of the cage, he says, “The mental aspect is a lot more important for a goalie. In this league where you have such great shooters, you need to know where their tendencies are.” Queener studies the competition’s tapes, picking up anything he can learn from the opposing offensive unit.
In fact, when we caught up to Queener yesterday, he was preparing for this weekend’s game against the Chesapeake Bayhawks by reviewing the game last week in which they dominated the Long Island Lizards. “They have a bunch of weapons,” Queener said. “We’re not going to be able to stop them, but we need to figure out how to contain them.” Queener knows he needs to watch out for Bayhawks’ Peet Poillon and Kyle Dixon who posted big goals last week.
“Poillon is just letting the ball fly every time he touches it,” Queener said. “Obviously, Dixon is one of the best players in the world and is one of the best shooters in the world, if not the best. He can score from five yards outside the two-point range. He has the ability to put it where he wants.” Queener needs to factor in everybody on the Bayhawks offensive squad, but “those two guys really jump out as far as shooters.”
While the Bayhawks secured a week one win, the Toronto Nationals had trouble syncing in a devastating loss to the Chicago Machine. After losing 16-9, Queener says the Nationals know they have a lot of work to do. “I think we can improve in every facet of the game,” Queener said. “We can make a couple more saves on the goalie end; our defense could step out and be a bit more athletic and play better one-on-one defense; we could play better team defense; our offense could move the ball better; we need to shoot better; we need to pick up ground balls.”
Keep in mind, the defending MLL champions did not have training camp like every other team. “We were playing indoor lacrosse seasons somewhere else and just for the first time got together last weekend and gave it a go,” said Queener. “We will develop as the summer goes along and I think we will have very good team chemistry because our team is basically Team Canada. I don’t want to say we didn’t put forward our best effort last weekend, but I think you’re really going to see us come together as a unit.”
Queener looks forward to playing Saturday and feels the Nationals will be ready to take on the Bayhawks. “I think this weekend will be a good opportunity for us because we’re going to all get in on Friday night, have a nice practice together and look to play in front of a good crowd in Toronto and really show what we’re about.” Maybe all the defending champs need is practice and bonding.
This Saturday, May 22 at 2 p.m. turn on ESPN2 to watch the Nationals come out guns blazing trying to grasp their first win of the season over the Bayhawks, and be sure to look for Queener between the pipes in the second half.
To hear a full interview with Toronto Nationals Goaltender Brett Queener, click here: