Greg Gurenlian swiped his 1,000 th career face-off win last weekend, marking a major milestone for the New York Lizard. The face-off ace is no newbie to the game of lacrosse, or the MLL, but the first-time All-star may cap 2013 with his first Warrior Defensive Player of the Year award.
Since graduating from Penn State University and joining the League in 2006, only two different players have taken home Defensive Player of the Year. It's a tough feat, but then again that's what 'The Beast' is all about.
He's big, he's strong, and he's fearless. To own this position you have to be a grinder, a horse that believes that no ball is getting past you, unless you put it there. The mental capacity is one thing, but Gurenlian also possesses balance, complete control, and smart positioning.
What sets him apart is his stamina. Most big, physical guys are likely to crash at some point. The Lizards’ captain is an all-around athlete, he's able to go to cage and force the defense to make decisions. This season he has tallied three goals and five assists, leading all face-off men with eight points.
This season at the X, Gurenlian is 211-334, a .63 win percentage and the best of his career. The percentage tops last year's third-place MLL single-season record, and he has one more game this summer to improve it. Gurenlian has also accumulated 99 groundballs this year, the second highest total of his career, and now sits in third place for career groundballs with 438.
The eight-year veteran has amassed a career .56 face-off win percentage. The 1,008 face-off wins are currently fifth in MLL's all-time records, and Gurenlian will most likely jump to fourth after this weekend's game against Ohio.
Be sure to check back to MajorLeagueLacrosse.com on August 20, to see who wins this year's Warrior Defensive Player of the Year.