People are already talking about the 2014 US Men’s National Lacrosse team. The announcers brought it up while the championship game between the US and Canada was still going on and IL dropped their lists this past week. LAS’ superblogger, 412 Lax, briefly excoriated them for their actions and then provided a little of his perspective, so I guess the topic is fair game. I’m diving into this ridiculous pool. It looks fun.
Let me preface this preposterous post with the following disclaimer: I have little to no idea what I’m talking about.
Paul Rabil will still be on the team and he will still produce like the monster he is. Max Seibald will be twice as good and still freakishly athletic. Kyle Dixon will be nowhere to be found. There won’t be a Powell on the team for the first time since 1994. Ryan Boyle will probably still be tearing it up but I don’t know about Drew Westervelt and Brendan Mundorf. They’re maybes for me right now but a lot can happen in 4 years and maybe they’ll still be among the best. Ned Crotty, on the other hand, will be the best player on the planet and he’ll be running the show.
Matt Danowski will be the second best (or best. who knows?) and he will have to be on the team. Dino and Crotty will tear the rest of the world up. Count it. Mike Leveille will still be around and will score a crazy amount of goals if he’s on the field with the Dukies just like Greer did back in Durham, but his brother Kevin (who was an alternate in 2010) will really be pushing it in his early 30s.
Alex Smith will still be eating up the X if he can keep at it but there will be others in 4 years. A guy like Mike Cama out of CW Post could put in the effort and beat out Smith. With a specialized position like that, the chance to be dethroned comes anew almost every year. The D will be extremely different as a lot of these guys are peaking right now. Joe Cinosky is the youngest and he has the potential to become the best American defender in the game, but for now that is just a big if.
There are a number of truly excellent poles that have graduated in the last few years and I expect to see a complete overhaul with a couple “veterans” and a couple younger guys. More than anything, the D is selected according to coaching style but guys like Joel White, Ryan Flanagan, Brian Farrell and Ken Clausen will probably be in the mix. Current MLL players like Matt Bocklet, Ricky Pages and Parker McKee will also be favorites if their play keeps evolving as it has.
I really think Scott Rodgers will be the US goalie for the next 2 FIL World Championships. Jesse Schwartzman would also be a solid choice in net for 2014 as he can really lead a defense and force everyone to play his team’s game, which is invaluable. He’s also a really good shot stopper and loves the long transition outlet pass. He’s exciting although maybe a bit too risky for the typical Team USA coach. Of course, Doc could also decided to suit up again and then they’ll just go with him. Rodgers is capable of big things though, especially on the international scene.
Now if you don’t pick a darkhorse, then you are taking yourself way too seriously so… My darkhorse is Stephen Berger. Sure he played D3 ball at WAC, sure he’ll be a bit older, as he graduated way back in 2004 but this guy LOVES lax. If he keeps progressing skill-wise as he has, he won’t need to be that athletic. The good news here is that Berger also happens to be really athletic. Top it off with the fact that he is a really hard worker. No one tweets about going for runs more than him. Science. Well, that’s why he’s my then-to-be 32 year old darkhorse. Heard it hear first.
Photo credits: John Strohsacker, US Lacrosse/LaxPhotos.com
About the Author: Connor is a life-long lacrosse player who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached at Wesleyan University and now plays for the Southampton LC in NYC. Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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