MLL Rookie Report: Week 14
The Rattlers ended their season on a high note in their victory over the Boston Cannons in the final week of action. Dave Lawson and John Ranagan both showed up strong in the blowout victory and gave Rattlers fans a glimpse of what could be one of the best midfield units for the next couple of years. Lawson continued his hot play of late and finished with five points in the victory. Lawson finished the season strong finishing with 23 points on the season, including two five point efforts in the last three games of the season.
Meanwhile, Ranagan got back to his early season form by netting a hat trick. After scoring five goals in the last four games, Ranagan found his scoring touch and finished the season with 19 points, 18 of which were goals.
While Ranagan’s athleticism and rifle of a shot from up top makes him a matchup nightmare for any defender, Lawson has a similar scoring ability from up top but also a more all-around game in case defenses slide early. Teams will be having headaches trying to contain the two of them in the future.
It was only fitting for the Cannons to finish the season with a loss as it capitalized what had been a rollercoaster ride of a season. Despite its shortcomings, the team can take solace in the fact that it picked up some nice young pieces in this past draft.
Scott Ratliff established himself as a starter at close defense and finished the season with 37 ground balls and three points. His seven ground balls tied for the team lead in last week’s loss. For his efforts on defense, the former Greyhound was named the team’s Rookie of the Year for his stellar play.
Meanwhile, Will Manny and Cameron Flint both provided an offensive spark to a veteran laden offense. While Flint didn’t play in the last game of the year, he registered 17 points this season while playing only seven games. Manny, on the other hand, finished off a stellar rookie season with four goals in the losing effort. He finished the season fourth on the team in points with 30 and really grew in the offense and found a significant role despite playing with Paul Rabil, Matt Poskay, Kevin Boyle and Stephen Berger.
The Hounds may not have the players from this year’s draft that were superstars, but they certainly provided depth across the board this season and all could evolve into good starters for years to come in the league.
The team’s midfield depth has turned out to be a huge plus for the Hounds. After being shutout last week, Mike Sawyer responded with two goals in the loss to the Bayhawks and finished the season with 20 points. Meanwhile, Jake Tripucka registered one of the game’s three hat tricks and finished the season with 11 points, six of which came in the final two games of the season.
Defensively, Josh Hawkins scored two goals in the loss and finishes with five points on the season while splitting time at Charlotte and Hamilton. Hawkins has evolved into one of the game’s more dangerous defensive midfielders as he has the ability to take the ball on defense and force transition opportunities and put the ball in the back of the net if given the opportunity. Finally, John Haus scored a goal as well in last week’s loss and finished with five points on the season as well. Both Haus and Sawyer are great building blocks on the defensive midfield.
Matt White had two points last week and finishes the season with a modest 11 points. Although, not spectacular, he provides a steady hand in the offensive half of the field. Long stick midfielder Mason Poli recorded two ground balls in the past week’s loss and astoundingly finished with as many points as White.
New York Lizards
The 2013 rookie class for the New York Lizards ended the season on the highest of notes and gave the MLL a glimpse at how dangerous and talented their team could be next year on offense. Rob Pannell, Steve Mock and Jo-Jo Marasco all recorded four or more points in the Lizards 14-11 win over the Ohio Machine.
Pannell capped off a stellar rookie campaign with a six point effort on the night as he scored three goals and handed out three assists as well. He finished the season with 42 points, good for ninth in the MLL. If not for missing the first four games of the season because of still playing at Cornell, he may have led the MLL in scoring.
Meanwhile, Marasco finally showcased why he was one of the best players not only in college but in Syracuse’s illustrious history, as he went off for five points in the victory. After scoring one point through his first six games as a pro, Marasco woke up and registered eight points in the final two games of the season. For his effort against the Machine, Marasco was named Player of the Game and was also named Cascade Rookie of the Week.
Finally, Mock continued to add to his goal total as he scored four more goals to finish the season with 11 goals on the season. After being traded midseason for Stephen Berger, Mock seemed to rekindle his chemistry with Cornell teammate Rob Pannell and continue his scoring ways after putting up 60 goals this past season in the NCAA.
While the Bayhawks have the smallest rookie class from this year’s draft, they have found their roles and been integral parts in the team’s path to Championship Weekend. LSM Jesse Burnhardt and SSDM Dom Sebastiani both add youth, athleticism and rugged defense to a veteran heavy team. Bernhardt was an instant impact player for the Bayhawks and scooped up 28 ground balls this season, including four in the team’s victory over the Hounds.
Meanwhile, Sebastiani came on as of late and scooped up two ground balls in the victory and finishes the season with five on the season. While not showing up in the boxscore, Sebastiani does the dirty work for the Bayhawks and makes the plays that don’t show up on the statsheet.
After stealing a win from the Boston Cannons last week, the Machine fell back to earth and finished the season by losing 14-11 to the New York Lizards. Logan Schuss finished the season very quietly, atleast for him, by only recording a goal and an assist. That last observation should be read more like a compliment because Schuss had been on a tear having scored four or more points in the team’s previous five games. Nonetheless, Schuss provides the team with a true franchise player for the future and one player that could be one of the best MLL players for the foreseeable future.
The Machine also got contributions from Marcus Holman, Dominique Alexander and Jake Bernhardt. Holman tallied one assist and finished with 20 points on the season, while Alexander scored his first career goal early in the game. Bernhardt scored a goal and handed out an assist to finish the season on a high note. He recorded five of his seven points on the season in the last two games and should be a solid two way midfielder for the Machine in the future.
Despite losing to the Outlaws and a No. 2 seed in Championship Weekend, the Nationals had impressive rookie performances. Tucker Durkin continues to be a key piece of the Nationals defense along with Jason Noble. Dillon Ward came in for Brett Queener about midway through and held his own against the Outlaw offense by posting a solid .500 save percentage.
The most notable performance of the afternoon, however, was faceoff man Mike Poppleton who went 24-31 on the day and scooped up seven ground balls. If he can carry that performance into Championship Weekend the Nationals will be a dangerous team as he gives offensive juggernauts Kevin Crowley and Joe Walters more opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net.
The final game of the season saw the Outlaws complete their quest for perfection as they defeated the Nationals 18-12. Eric Law bounced back from being shutout by scoring seven points in the victory. Law had four goals and two assists, while also showing off his shot and recording his first ever two pointer. He finishes the season with 34 points and an earth shattering 63 percent shooting percentage. For his career game, Law was named game MVP and will look to be a large part of a lethal Outlaw offense heading into Championship Weekend.