What a wild weekend in Major League Lacrosse! Boston grabs two wins in the span of three days. Atlanta gets their first ever win putting up 23 goals. Ohio dominated the defending champs on both sides of the ball. The young Hounds won again to remain the only undefeated team in the league. On the other side, for the second time in just three games, Rochester blew a 4th quarter lead by giving up seven goals. Even worse, the Rattlers were up by two with about three seconds to play on Saturday when they gave up an unimaginable 92-yard prayer from Boston’s Brodie Merrill that tied the game at the buzzer. If you have not seen the goal, be sure to look it up. It is easily the goal of the year!
It is still early in the season and teams have not had their final rosters set with indoor players and college draft picks so take the first few games for what they are. But, a few guys have already returned to bolster their team.
Joe Walters started off his MLL season earlier than ever this year with the Bayhawks. Walters only played half the year in 2015 and easily could have been the league MVP for what he did in his shortened season. He is still one of the most underrated players in league history and his early return is just what the Bayhawks need.
Boston’s Callen Rogers made his MLL debut after another solid season at Stony Brook. He played in both games over the weekend and notched his first career goal against Rochester.
Lyle and Miles Thompson returned for Florida, but were held to one goal each. The added offense still does not help the league’s worst defense.
Randy Staats made his way into the Blaze lineup just in time to help them get their first win. Staats is an interesting young talent after starting his career with the Rattlers. Along with Kevin Rice, that is an excellent 1-2 punch for the young Blaze attack. With Duke getting bounced from the NCAA Tournament last weekend, we may see #1 overall pick Myles Jones in the Blaze lineup. Adding him to the midfield with Ryan Tucker and Henry Schoonmaker put this franchise in good shape moving forward.
In addition to Jones, here are some other rookies to keep an eye out for this weekend after their teams were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament:
– Ryan Brown, Charlotte. Should fit right into the spot vacated by Mike Sawyer.
– Michael Quinn, Ohio. The Yale product adds to an already solid Machine defense.
– Deemer Class, Atlanta. Will provide depth on the second midfield unit.
– Liam Byrnes, Florida. The long stick middie from Marquette is much needed on a poor Launch defense.
Week 4 Game Balls
Brodie Merrill, Boston. Do I really need to explain this?
Will Manny, Boson. A 10-point night vs. Rochester on six goals, one 2-pointer, and three assists including a goal and a 2-pointer during their seven-goal 4th quarter comeback.
Randy Staats and Kevin Rice, Atlanta. The Cuse duo finished with 17 points combined leading the Blaze to the first win in franchise history. Staats had six goals and three assists while Rice had five goals and three assists.
Scott Rodgers and Adam Fullerton, Ohio. The Machine netminders turned away 17 of the Lizards 27 shots on goal. Rodgers had 10 saves and Fullerton had seven saves.
Week 4 MLL Top 9
1- Charlotte (3-0) Charlie Cipriano leads all goalies in goals against average and save percentage.
2- Ohio (3-1) Averaging a league best 16 goals a game.
3- Boston (3-1) Two big wins in a span of three days.
4- Chesapeake (2-1) Early return of Joe Walters is huge for the Bayhawks.
5- New York (2-1) Both offense and defense struggled vs. Ohio.
6- Denver (1-2) Goaltending and defensive struggles are clear.
7- Atlanta (1-2) Offense put up 23 vs. a weak Florida defense.
8- Rochester (0-3) 4th quarters are killing the Rattlers.
9- Florida (0-4) A good failure to launch pun would be perfect here.
Brendan McDaniels is a color analyst for the MLL Television broadcasts. Follow Brendan on Twitter @McDanielsSports.