The Rochester Rattlers have been making huge moves this off-season, most notably trading Max Striebel and Ned Crotty to the New York Lizards. The one that probably is of more importance than that trade, at least to the New York Lizards, is the trading away of Steve DeNapoli. The Lizards gave up Mark Mathews, the young Canadian and Denver grad, and a fourth round pick in the Supplemental draft.
DeNapoli is going into his fourth season in the MLL, with his third team, and looks to be going to a team that is trying to turn their luck around. DeNapoli isn’t much of an offensive threat, but is always good for a handful of goals and assist during a season. Where he makes his mark is on the defensive side of the ball. DeNapoli is one of the best short stick defenders in the league. He is able to take the one on one match up against the opposing teams top players and come out on top.
He will add a real grit to a team that was lacking all kinds of grit. The Lizards last season were one of the worst teams to ever step on the field in the MLL. Their biggest problem was the fact that their offense didn’t hang on the ball, which caused the defense to play more than it needed to and led to the defense playing at a subpar standard almost all season.
This is where DeNapoli comes into the picture on defense, he creates an ability for the Lizards to play defense from the top of the box, where as last year they were unable to achieve any cohesive defense from the midfield.
DeNapoli has been an All-Star before and could very easily be in route to another All-Star year with the Lizards. The Lizards will now need to shore up their defenders to round out the work they have all ready done with the short sticks.
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