Youth helped out Charlotte last year as the rookies contributed immensely to the Hounds’ success in 2013. In only their second year of existence, Coach Mike Cerino and the front office put together a championship caliber team that downed the undefeated (14-0) Denver Outlaws in the first round of the playoffs. They met the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the MLL Championship game where the Hounds’ youth showed and Coach Cottle’s veterans took over. Matt Danowski tallied a two point goal from midfield to bring his team within one with no time left on the clock to lose a heartbreaker to Chesapeake 10-9.
To make the championship weekend in the MLL is one of the hardest things to do and for the Hounds to achieve that goal in only their second year of operation is huge. It is difficult for a team that was successful to make changes to their squad, but it may be easier for the Hounds as they can look back on the championship game and see what they could have used during their run.
He may not be the oldest, but one of the more veteran guys on the team last year was Peet Poillon, who is now with the Chesapeake Bayhawks. He made an enormous impact for Coach Cerino and the midfield unit. Replacing him will not be easy to do. In return, the Hounds picked up Chesapeake’s Second Round, Ninth Overall pick in this years Collegiate Draft. In another move, the Hounds acquired attackman Joe Cummings. The former Ohio Machine attackman rejoins his Terrapin teammates Ryan Young and Owen Blye.
Chris Schiller (Penn State) is the oldest player on the Hounds and has been in the league since 2001. The speedster can help a lot of the young guys adjust to the intensity of the MLL game. He adds a leadership quality at the midfield that Matt Danowski gives the attackmen, Mike Gabel can give to the goalies and Joe Cinosky will provide for the defense.
There’s not much to Charlotte’s game that I would change. They used their youth to their advantage beyond what anyone thought possible and defeated the number one team in Denver during the 2013 MLL semifinals. Unfortunately, their miracle run fell short, literally, as Danowski brought the Hounds within one of the championship with only a second left on the clock to lose 10-9 to Chesapeake. One main area I’m worried about with Charlotte is face-offs. Last year, they used Tim Fallon for most of the regular season. Geoff Snider was added to the roster on July 26 off of PUP. In Snider’s 2013 debut, he went 8-17 with Fallon going 5-8 in their win over Hamilton. During their loss to Chesapeake in the final regular season game, Snider again took most of the draws going 18-28 while Fallon went 4-4. In the playoffs, Fallon won 5-7 vs the Outlaws and didn’t take any against Adam Rand in the title game. Snider dominated, going 17-25 against Denver and took all 20 draws against Chesapeake in the championship game, finishing 15-20. Fallon has been a fighter for Charlotte and has given them a lot. Unfortunately, he’s not as consistent as they would like. Snider is very dominant at the face-off x in both the NLL and MLL, which is also a problem as the NLL season runs over the MLL’s and the Hounds aren’t sure when he will be available. Luckily, Brendan Fowler from Duke is entering the draft and has a bright future ahead of him after he helped Duke win the NCAA championship just this past season.
Trades before, during and after the draft could play a factor as to what Charlotte wants to do heading into the 2014 season. I’m going to give them Duke Face-off man Brendan Fowler with their first pick. With Snider not joining the team until possibly later in the season, Fallon will be their main guy, which is a grinder, but with the possibility of them still able to draft Brendan right out of the gate, face-off is a must have. Who do you think or want the Hounds to draft with their first round pick?
Here is the draft pick order for Charlotte:
Round 1 – No. 7
Round 2 – No. 9 – From Ches From Ohio
No. 11 – From Boston
No. 14 – From Denver
Round 3 – No. 18 – From New York
Round 4 – No. 31
Round 5 – NO PICK
Round 6 – No. 47
Round 7 – No. 55
The 2014 MLL Collegiate Draft takes place this Friday in Philadelphia, PA at 8:30pm. Tune into Major League Lacrosse’s YouTube channel as the two first rounds of the draft are streamed live from the Marriott Hotel Liberty Ballroom. If you’re in the area, admission is free to the pubic so come on down!