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Dallas Rattlers New York Lizards Major League Lacrosse MLL 2018 Photo: Nick Coyne /
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Rattlers Secure MLL Championship Spot After Energizing First Year in Dallas

One of the biggest stats that stood out: the Rattlers were 0-7 in their previous matches with the Lizards.

New York came in two weeks prior, defeating the Dallas at home, ending their perfect home-game winning streak. It was safe to say that the Lizards were the fan favorites. At least over social media. That didn’t mean the fans of North Texas weren’t going to show up by the bunches. Rowdy and vocal as ever for their home team.

Setting the Stage

Over 6,100 spectators were in attendance that night. Telling you from field level, there were times I had to yell at the person next to me, just to communicate anything. It was a true playoff environment. The atmosphere provided the Rattlers the extra boost of support they needed, going into their last home game of the season.

Dallas Rattlers New York Lizards Major League Lacrosse MLL 2018 Photo: Nick Coyne /
Photo: Nick Coyne /

Needless to say, both rosters were stacked with some heavy-hitters. Each team has a handful of Team USA members that just earned a gold medal at this year’s World Championships.

New York: Rabil, Pannell, Hartzell, Fletcher, Bernhardt, Unterstein.

Dallas: Galloway, Wolf, Crotty.

You even have Staats and Thompson from the Iroquois Nationals, also on the Rattlers.

That’s not taking away any spotlight from the rest of the players on each respective team. It’s simply outlining the level of talent that was on one field. On paper alone, it was definitely going to be an epic playoff battle.

Down, Set, Whistle

Dallas took off with the lead and never let go. They paid no attention to their prior encounters with the Lizards, that didn’t result in the success they’re capable of. There was a sense of irritability, that they weren’t going to be snubbed this time, and definitely not in their new barn.

No matter the stigma over the relocation, you never want to lose at home.

Maybe this was a blessing in disguise, to be relocated and have a world-class facility. To start with a fresh face. Or maybe this group was destined to do this regardless. Either way, they’ve been a dominant force all year, and it wasn’t going to end here.

Dallas Rattlers New York Lizards Major League Lacrosse MLL 2018 Photo: Nick Coyne /
Photo: Nick Coyne /

They had everyone contribute on offense, with Joel White getting himself into the mix. This was one of those A+ game nights. Let’s not forget New York, though. These are pro lacrosse players too and this is a game that can turn quickly.

When they came to Dallas two weeks prior, they took an early lead, and held off for a strong victory, ending the Rattlers’ perfect home game streak. Not this time. Why?

Grinder Performances

Let’s not forget the real star of the game, Drew Simoneau. Dirty Drew won 24 of 31 faceoffs for the night, even snagging himself a goal. Simoneau has taken every. single. face-off. for the Rattlers this season, and has been a major key for their success.

He took a beating against New York, with them throwing Kelly, Fowler, and even Bernhardt at him. From getting slashed in the neck, to getting his leg battered, he was everything but torn away from the task he set out to complete.

Dallas Rattlers New York Lizards Major League Lacrosse MLL 2018 Photo: Nick Coyne /
Photo: Nick Coyne /

Simoneau has created a whole new level of value, but needless to say, it was a group effort. The team that best played as one came out on top.

When the dust settled, it was amazing to look back and reflect on this squad. In their first season as the Dallas Rattlers, they are now heading to the 2018 MLL Championship. Catch the action on ESPNnews, as the Rattlers take on the Denver Outlaws to duke it out for the Steinfeld Trophy. Tune in on August 18th at 7pm when action goes live from MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina.