Denver Outlaws’ Lee Zink has carved his name into the list of MLL all-time great defensemen. The long-pole captain earned himself the 2012 MLL Defensive Player of the Year, and is a front-runner for this year's same award.
Hailing from the University of Maryland, the 2004 fifth overall Collegiate Draft pick has consistently established himself as one of the best one-on-one defenders in the League for the past 10 seasons. Seven-year teammate Jesse Schwartzman put it plainly, "It's pretty simple what makes Lee one of, if not the best defender in the League. It's his ability to completely dominate his matchup and take the opposing attackman out of the game."
Standing 6'4" and handling a 6' pole, Zink is able to cover a lot of space. His length, and quick feet allow him to stick with anyone, whether it be an explosive, fast player, or a big, and physical dodger. Couple that with sharp game knowledge, smart positioning, and the ability to dictate his opponent, and Zink is a dream teammate.
This season the Denver Outlaw has won Defensive Player of the Week twice, picking up the accolade after shut-down performances against Rochester's Ned Crotty, and Chesapeake's John Grant Jr. Throughout the season Zink has matched up with the top offensive players in the League, and has consistently limited them to lower outputs and minimal impact. Just take a look at the chart below to see the breakdown of his impressive numbers.
Zink is anything but flashy, relying on his fundamental skills, and unyielding nature. He's able to bother his defender by consistently bodying up and staying on their hands. Able to close down his defender, the rest of the defense is able to worry less about sliding, and more about their own matchup. Denver's 'D' is often settled and relaxed, making it difficult for any opposing offense to shake them up.
Despite a lot of success for the Denver Outlaws, the franchise has yet to win a Steinfeld Trophy since their inception in 2006. Off to the best start in MLL history, and tied for the most regular season wins, we’re sure Zink and the Outlaws know that 'offense wins games, and defense wins championships'. You can catch Zink and his teammates at Championship Weekend presented by Smartlink on August 24 and 25. For more information and tickets to the event at PPL Park in the Philadelphia area, visit MajorLeaguLacrosse.com’s Championship Weekend page.