As the MLL All-Star Game takes place at 7 pm ET tonight, three rookies have played well enough so far this season to earn the title as an all-star. The New York Lizards Rob Pannell, Rochester Rattlers John Ranagan and Charlotte Hounds Mike Sawyer were the specific players to earn the honor for this year’s 2013 draft class. Coincidentally, all three players will play for Team Eclipse in tonight’s all-star game. How will each rookie fare in their first taste of action among the league’s best? Let’s take a look.
Rob Pannell, Attack, New York
Pannell should have the most impact among the three rookies in this all-star game. His blend of athleticism and vision will pay huge dividends for him in this game. On the season he has 14 goals and 10 assists while becoming the Lizards quarterback on offense. He will have a field day setting up some of the best players in the game with teammate Tommy Palasek, Denver’s Zack Greer, Rochester’s Ned Crotty and Matt Striebel and Charlotte’s Ryan Young on the field. I would expect Pannell to score no more than one goal in the game, but hand out four or more assists.
John Ranagan, Midfield, Rochester
Ranagan is quickly becoming one of the more dangerous midfielders in the league because of his ability to beat his defender one-on-one due to his rare size and athleticism, and get his shot off quickly before the slide comes. Since it is an all-star, he will have scoring threats all around him, thus giving him plenty of space to dodge up top. So if he doesn’t get his shot off, he will be able to force the slide and find players that can. Expect the former Blue Jay to have a couple goals tonight and add an assist or two as well.
Mike Sawyer, Midfield, Charlotte
A late addition to the all-star pool of players, Sawyer has had a solid season for the Hounds in his rookie campaign. The former Greyhound midfielder has 13 points on the year, including a three goal effort on June 29 against Denver. He has at least one point in all but one game this season. Expect a very solid all-around effort from Sawyer tonight as he represents the hometown team in the all-star game. Personally, I think he will put up a goal and a couple of assists to go along with a couple of ground balls.