Photo Credit: Casey Kermes
Last night’s All-Star Game for Major League Lacrosse was a low scoring event, but nonetheless spectacular and memorable. 10,327 fans packed historic Harvard Stadium from far and wide to catch a glimpse of Team USA on their road to Denver.
The game was a low scoring affair, but that was almost to be expected when one roster is built to win by international rules, not the MLL’s run and gun fashion, and that team is seriously gearing up for the World Stage. The final score was 10-9 in favor of the USA, but the game didn’t appear to be going their way the entire tome.
It was the USA that I expected, but not necessarily the one I wanted.
Team USA couldn’t posses the ball in the first quarter and didn’t tally a single goal in the third.
Goal production was low and we saw a few communication breakdowns that I hope the team finds their way past before Denver. I didn’t expect a 110% effort because players need to take care heading in to the World Championships, so I expected a slower paced offense speckled with tricks and other wrinkles to throw off opposing teams. The US needs to stock up on tricks to keep up their sleeve if they want to stay exciting and competitive in Denver.
It was awesome to see Greg Gurenlian back on the roster, helping Chris Eck to absolutely dominate at the face-off x. The defense looked quick, but not flawless, and the offense still has a few kinks to work out. The offense needs some work, but I have no problem holding on to the ball to find the perfect shot, the men just need to make sure to keep moving it to actually pressure a defense. I can’t say I was surprised to see Kyle Harrison possessing and shooting the ball even though he’s listed as a d-mid. This all might be a ploy to fool Canada and others in to thinking the Beast or K18 won’t be a threat, but I assure you, they will. Those kinds of wrinkles are going to be key in the success of Team USA, like using Mitch Belisle as a close defender and as a short stick mid.
Also, I love RP3′s playing style and he was stellar in the game but my personal MVP award goes to the seasoned vet Joe Walters who grabbed a hat trick of his own in the game last night. In my own opinion, he may have been a key piece to the Team USA roster if he would have tried out.
We will spend the next few days waiting on Monday’s cut down to the 23-man roster that we can expect to see in Denver.
Who is Zak Dorn?
During half-time of the #MLLASG, fans get to experience what is known as the Skills Competition. After the accuracy competition (won by Logan Schuss) was the fastest shot event, Jeremy Sieverts, Mike Manley, Brett Schmidt, and Justin Turri all took turns attempting to break the record, but 112mph was the closest they came.
The show wasn’t over yet, MLL fan, Chicago Outlaw forward, and self-claimed lacrosse store employee, Zak Dorn, was brought out from the crowd to participate in the World’s Fastest Shot Competition that took place during halftime of the ASG.
On his first attempt, Dorn hit 114mph, which was the record as set my Mike Sawyer in last years challenge. The next ball he sent in to the back of the cage was at a staggering 116mph, officially setting the new World Record for the Fastest Lacrosse Shot.
Later on in the evening, Dorn found himself on television sets across the nation when he placed as #8 in the SportsCenter Top10. We hope to have more on his unique story coming soon.
The game was neck and neck the entire time, neither team could hold on to the lead for too long. The game came down to the final minutes and with the score tied, a hero needed to rise from the sea of MLL All-Stars and Team USA. USA secured the final possession and worked the ball around to find the best possible final attempt they could muster up.
Rob Pannell, in true hero’s fashion, took the ball back to X, made a quick look to his right, then drove hard to the left on Kyle Sweeney. He may have hung Sweeney up on the quick stutter as he came around the crease, because it was just enough to get the step ahead to be able to plant and turn about 5 yards up from the goal. Rob came right under Sweeney as he was making a desperate attempt to close the gate. Outlets were cut off and help was nowhere in sight, so Rob ducked the check and punched in the game winner over Brett Queener’s left shoulder.
Nail, meet coffin.
The 2014 MLL All-Star Game was one for the books, but now I’m really counting down the days to July 10th when we all head to Denver to kick off the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships!