The Florida Launch jumped all over the Blaze early and were able to hold off a late rally in the week one finale of the 2018 Major League Lacrosse season beating Atlanta 13-10.
What better way to avenge an embarrassing loss last season in Atlanta then to begin this season at that very place and embarrass the home team.
Dylan Molloy picked up where he left off last season netting the first goal of the game for the Launch off a feed from a fellow second year pro Ryan Drenner.
Molloy would add another before assisting on a Steven Brooks goal. A pair of goals from Sergio Salcido, with an unassisted goal from Drenner saw the Launch jump out to a 5-0 lead.
Mike Begley put the Blaze on the board with 54 seconds left in the first quarter for their first goal of the season. The Launch would add two quick ones and hold a 7-1 lead to end the first quarter.
Atlanta showed life in the second with goals from Syracuse royalty Tommy Palasek and Kevin Rice, narrowing the lead to 4.
Salcido tallied a first-half hat trick as he took a pass out of the box and dodged down the right alley beating Atlanta goal keeper Adam Ghitelman high, putting the score at 8-3. The teams would trade goals before the half and Florida led 9-4 at the break.
Florida scored twice on consecutive possessions to start the second half and it looked like the Launch would run away, up 11-4.
Atlanta however, scored four straight goals to close the quarter and trail 11-8 going into the fourth.
Nick Mariano tallied his second goal of the game with just under nine minutes left but Deemer Class scored the game’s first and only 2-pointer and the Launch held onto a 12-10 lead.
Long stick middie Jarrod Neumann scored his second step down 14-yard shot of the afternoon, adding to the lead at 13-10.
The Launch begin the season 1-0 and what a day for Player of the Game Austin Kaut, who made 19 saves and made crucial saves late to hold off Atlanta’s rally.
Launch face-off specialist Kevin Reisman had a strong first half but struggled in the second, winning only three of the 11 second-half draws.
Florida was without all-star attackman Kieran McArdle as he finishes his NLL season with the Toronto Rock. Ex-Atlanta Blaze member Tom Moore got the start for the Launch and had one goal and one assist against his former teammates.
Florida travels home for a matchup with the new look Chesapeake Bayhawks on April 28th at 7 p.m.
The Florida Launch play home games at FAU stadium which opens 90 minutes before face-off. If you can’t make it out, don’t miss the action on Lax Sports Network.
Stats worth noting:
FLA – Dylan Molloy – 2 goals 3 assists
FLA – Sergio Salcido -3 goals
ATL – Kevin Rice – 3 goals 1 assist