On Saturday night, Casey Powell recorded 1 goal and 6 assists in the Florida Launch’s 15-12 victory over Chesapeake. Such a high-scoring game wasn’t unusual for Powell, especially this season, but this game was significant because Powell reclaimed the MLL all-time record for points scored, with 428, a record he originally held for five years until Boston's Ryan Boyle took the crown last season. We reached out to the veteran player to talk about the record and playing in Florida.
“To be recognized as one of the top scorers– I guess
the top [scorer] for now– it’s good,” Powell says. “I’ve played in the league since it started, and obviously there’s a lot of great players, and it feels good to be up there amongst the top scorers.”
This achievement is nothing new for Powell, who previously held the record until it was broken by Boyle last season. Even now, Powell and Boyle are separated by only one point, so the back-and-forth battle could go on all season. It’s hardly a “battle” to the two players, though, as Powell called Boyle “a great friend of mine, and a great player.”
The possibility of reclaiming such a huge title might be distracting for some players, but not Powell.
“I was aware of it, but I wasn’t thinking about it… I knew the importance of the game heading into an off weekend with Memorial Day, and [it was] a big opportunity for our club, so I was concentrating more on winning than anything else.”
Powell is averaging 5.75 points per game, which is on pace to break the MLL record for points in a season currently held by Paul Rabil at 72. When asked about the record, Powell says it’s not the top priority, but it’s certainly attainable.
“I feel really good physically. Mentally, I feel like I’m ready to go and put a full season in, which I haven’t done in a few years, so I’m excited about the season and I hope to play and get better every game.”
The impressive start to his season is nothing new to Powell, although it has been several years since he’s been so dominant early in the season. He attributes that to a higher comfort level on the field this season.
“I’ve played midfield in the past couple seasons, and [now] I’ve been able to play attack, which I feel more comfortable doing. I like getting into the flow of the game. Being put at a position that I like a little bit better, it enables me to get more touches and get more involved in the offense, and I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve been off to a quicker start this year.”
Of course, playing in his home state of Florida has also helped Powell’s hot start.
“It feels really good be playing in front of some of the kids that I teach and my friends that are down here. It makes things a lot easier, and I’m really excited about the future of the Florida Launch and what this franchise can bring to the state of Florida.”
The Launch currently holds second place in league standings, and their impressive start is getting attention from media and fans all over the country. Powell thinks they will only improve from this point forward.
“We have a great core of players. Our defense is playing really well, our offense is getting better from a chemistry standpoint, and we’re doing what it takes to get the job done… I think we can get a lot better, and I think everybody on the team knows that. We’re just trying to concentrate on getting better each week and continue to figure each other out.”
Florida coach Stan Ross has praised Powell’s leadership on the team, asserting that Powell “has done everything we’ve asked and then some.”
The Launch have a young team, but veterans like Powell are proving to be highly instrumental in the team’s success.
Powell takes the role of a leader seriously, saying, “I remember, when I started in the league, there were some guys in their thirties like Tim Soudan and a few other guys, and I just remember being like, ‘What are these guys doing? Why are they still playing in their thirties?’ And here I am, you know, sitting in my late thirties, and still continuing to play. But I did look up to those guys. They’ve been through the wars, and I think that’s what I’ve been able to do for a lot of our younger guys. I’ve been through the battles and played a lot of games, so I have a lot of experience, and I think they draw off that experience of mine.”
As for the Launch’s ultimate goal in 2014, Powell says the team is shooting high.
“We’re in it to win it. We have guys that have won championships before. Brett Queener’s playing really well, and you know, Tucker Durkin is one of the best defenders out there. Guys are contributing all over the place and in different roles, but we’re in it to win it.”