The LXM travels to Tucson, AZ this weekend with Team STX holding a formidable 5-2 lead in the 13 game series. Maverik United needs to win 5 of the next six games to come out on top, but as each and every LXM game has been competitive this year, it’s not out of the question. With a veteran defense that continues to come together, and an offense that is learning how to hang on late in games, it’s clear that Mav has what it takes to win. In Tucson, they really have to.
This is a big weekend for the LXM because of the “must win” mindset of MavU, and for the LXM’s big sponsor, Adrenaline (ADRLN is a proud LAS partner), as West Coast Starz tryouts will be held on Friday, and a tournament for U-9 through U-15 players will run alongside the LXM event. There will be raffles, and competitions as well, and the LXM pros should be out in force, interacting with kids.
The LXM game itself starts up at 6:15pm on Saturday, and with the last game going to STX 10-9, the runes bode well for another tight contest. Can Maverik keep up their early scoring, and balance it with some late composure and smart play? Will STX continue to dominate from the midfield? Let’s take a look at the rosters for this one to get started:
#| Name | College| Position
2 | Chad Costello | Yale | LSM
5 | Andrew Casimir | Dowling | Defense
7 | Geoff Worley | Vermont | Midfield/Attack
9 | Nick Farrell | Denison | Defense
10 | Max Ritz | Maryland | Attack
12 |Sam Bradman | Salisbury | Midfield
14 |Xander Ritz | Maryland | Attack
15 | Peter Baum | Colgate | Attack
16 | Matt Russell | Navy | Goalie
18 | Kyle Harrison | Johns Hopkins | Midfield
19 | Brian Kelly | Whittier | LSM/Defense
20 | Pat Rogers | Denver | Midfield
22 | Jamie MacDonald | Denver | Defense
37 | Benson Erwin | Johns Hopkins | Midfield (d)
43 | Matt Drenan | Johns Hopkins | Defense
81 | Sean DeLaney | UNC | Midfield
Maxx Davis and Tim Desko are out this week with injuries.
#| Name | College| Position
0 | Shamel Bratton | Virginia | Midfield
1 | Johnny Christmas | Virginia | Attack
2 | Brandon Corp | Colgate | Attack
3 | Jerry Lambe | Georgetown | Defense
4 | Billy Bitter | UNC | Attack
6 | Brendan Porter | Rutgers | Midfield (d)
12 | Graham Gill | Navy | Midfield
16 | Mark Staines | North Carolina | LSM
18 | Roger Ferguson | Brown | Defense
20 | Ian Deveau | Colby College | Midfield
21 | SeanLindsay | Syracuse | Midfield
22 | Scott Bollert | UNC | Defense
23 | Nick Tintle | UNC | Midfield (d)
29 | Johnny Rodriguez | Salisbury | Goalie
34 | Tom Garvey | Johns Hopkins | Defense
35 | Erik Krum | Salisbury | Attack
36| Whit McCarthy | Colby College | Midfield (a)
44 | Hamilton Pollard | Penn State | Defense
Zach Brenneman is out this week with an injury.
While Brenneman is a big loss for Maverik, I think the biggest loss for either team is Maxx Davis for STX. Davis takes a ton of runs for STX on D, and pushes the ball relentlessly. With smaller rosters, he will be very missed by the fourth quarter. Benson Erwin will have to take a LOT of runs, and other middies could be asked to play more defense. Look for K18 to potentially fill this void at times. This should all combine open up the top of the field for the Brattons and Gill a bit more, and if Maverik wants to win, they will need to prove that true later in the game.
Since Tim Desko is also out, Baum, Bradman, or K18 could also play some attack. In the end, this may serve them well, but it could also lead to a further depleted midfield corps. If players like Deveau and McCarthy can get going against tired legs, Maverik could get the boost they’ve needed in some of their close losses.
Matt Russell and Johnny Rodriguez are both in net for STX and MavU respectively, and each teams stable of longsticks has veteran presence and toughness. It will be interesting to see if either Andrew Casimir or any of the other STX poles are asked to play some short stick d mid. They could use the legs it seems!
Both teams had six players put up points last time out in Dallas. Billy Bitter led Maverik with the hat trick and Peter Baum followed suit for STX. Harrison and Xander Ritz also had three point games. The 10-9 score was lower than expected, but both goalies played well, and Sam Bradman only had one goal on 10 shots, while Shamel Bratton had one on 12 shots. If either of those guys had exploded for goals, we’re talking different ball game.
This weekend’s tilt really comes down to the same thing. Someone from Maverik has to take the game on his shoulders late, and make smart plays. Other guys need to finish the ball when they get the chance. If MavU does that, they can take the win, and pull to a 3-5 overall record, with five more games to go. That’s manageable. 2-6 with 5 games to go? Not so much. It’s do or die for Maverik United. Who will step up?