Rapid Reaction: Team USA 30-Player Roster
|Former North Carolina captain and
current Ohio Machine attackman Marcus Holman is part of a youthful
trend among those still in the running to make Team USA's 2014
World Championship roster. Twenty-six of the 30 have never played
in a world championship. (John Strohsacker)
Team USA head coach Richie Meade and the U.S. coaching staff on Wednesday night announced 30 players still in the running to make the 23-player U.S. team that will go for gold July 10-19 at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship, hosted by US Lacrosse, in Denver.
From this list, the final roster, with two alternates, will be named ahead of the world games, after this team plays a group of Major League Lacrosse All-Stars on June 26 in Boston.
Ned Crotty, New York Lizards, Duke '10 *
Marcus Holman, Ohio Machine, North Carolina '13
Kevin Leveille, Rochester Rattlers, UMass '03
Brendan Mundorf, Chesapeake Bayhawks, UMBC '06 *
Rob Pannell, New York Lizards, Cornell '13
Steele Stanwick, Ohio Machine, Virginia '12
Garrett Thul, Florida Launch/Philadelphia Wings, Army '13
The potential three-player combos are staggering. It's about mixing and matching players fit for certain roles.
Leveille, at 32 years old, is the oldest player in this group of 30. He's one of the all-time great finishers in the sport and holds the MLL record for longest goal-scoring streak (59 straight games). But he has never played in a world championship and is hungry to make this team after being an alternate and rooting for younger brother Mike LEveille in Manchester in 2010. Kevin first tried out for the team in 2001 while in college at UMass.
Thul has emerged throughout the tryout process as powerful lefty outside threat and 6-foot-4, 242-pound X-factor. Pannell has quarterbacked much of Team USA's offense, and also ran alongside his college rival Stanwick at times at Champion Challenge. Mundorf has been injured and only seen limited practice time, but has dynamic wing-dodging potential, as does Holman, who brought instant energy as a swingman. Crotty, who scored the game-tying and winning goals for the U.S. in the 2010 final, is versatile; he can play attack or midfield.
Kevin Buchanan, Boston Cannons, Ohio State
David Lawson, Rochester Rattlers, Duke '13
Matt Mackrides, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Penn State '12
JoJo Marasco, New York Lizards, Syracuse '13
Paul Rabil, Boston Cannons, Johns Hopkins '08 *
Max Seibald, New York Lizards, Cornell '09 *
Drew Snider, Denver Outlaws, Maryland '12
Rabil and Seibald, two members of Team USA in 2010, headline the group while Marasco, a late invitee the day before summer tryouts, has proved his staying power. Lawson continues to roll off of winning a national title at Duke and fits a role as a midfield finisher while other stars get more attention. Buchanan can do a little bit of everything on offense, while versatility is the name of the game for Mackrides and Snider, who both have experience in the finer points of short-stick defensive midfield and faceoff wing play that are very important in the international game, where possessions are at a premium with no shot clock.
Rabil and Marasco played together at Champion Challenge on White's first-line with three-time Team USA member Matt Striebel, who didn't survive cuts. Seibald, Buchanan and Mackrides comprised Blue's first-line midfield.
Mitch Belisle, Boston Cannons, Cornell '07
Jesse Bernhardt, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Maryland '13
Tucker Durkin, Florida Launch, Johns Hopkins '13
Michael Evans, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Johns Hopkins '09
Joe Fletcher, Loyola '14
Kyle Hartzell, New York Lizards, Salisbury '07
Brian Karalunas, New York Lizards, Villanova '11
Lee Zink, Denver Outlaws, Maryland '04
Team USA assistant coach Dave Pietramala, in charge of the defense, has stressed the importance of having guys that can play multiple positions on the final 23-man roster, should there be injury concerns. Although none of the eight in this group played for the U.S. in Manchester in 2010 (there was only one in the original tryout pool of 98 players), Zink, a 2010 alternate, Evans, Durkin and Belisle are proven commodities. Fletcher, the only current collegian still in the tryout process, has stuck around for a reason and drew rave reviews from teammates and coaches at Champion Challenge, seeing a lot of time during the Blue-White scrimmage.
Bernhardt, Hartzell and Karalunas have played both long-stick midfield and close in the MLL with Hartzell perhaps being the biggest threat to spark transition offense. Bernhardt (injured at Champion Challenge) is a Florida native. He gives this U.S. group a set of players from opposite corners of the country with midfielder Snider coming from the Seattle-area of Washington State.
Short-stick defensive midfield
|Chris Eck is almost exactly 50
percent for his MLL career against Canada's likely faceoff man,
Geoff Snider. (John Strohsacker)
Matt Abbott, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Syracuse
Dan Burns, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Maryland '11
Kyle Harrison, LXM PRO, Johns Hopkins '05
Jeff Reynolds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Maryland '09
Guess the Bayhawks have a pretty good short-stick defensive midfield group, huh? In addition to Abbott, Burns and Reynolds have been integral, do-it-all type parts for a Chesapeake franchise that's won three of the last four MLL championships. Through January's Champion Challenge, Harrison has run offensive midfield during the tryout process but will have a chance defensively when this team takes on a group of MLL All-Stars on June 26.
Chris Eck, Boston Cannons, Colgate '08
After Greg Gurenlian withdrew from final Team USA consideration due to injury, the U.S. staff picked Eck to be their man ahead of 33-year-old Anthony Kelly and second-year pro Mike Poppleton. Eck is almost exactly 50 percent against his likely stiffest competition in Denver, Canada faceoff man Geoff Snider. In five career pro matchups, the two faceoff men have squared off 162 times. Eck has won 82 to Snider's 80. They went exactly 50 percent (11 for 22) in the 2011 MLL title game, the last time they faced each other. Snider's played just five MLL games since then, but one of them was a 17-for-25 performance in Charlotte's MLL semifinal upset over Denver, and Kelly (4-for-16), last summer.
Eck, who missed the "Duel in Denver" against Canada in fall 2012 after having knee surgery, had his best year as a pro last summer, winning 59.8 percent of 389 draws. He's said competing for Team USA is one of the biggest goals of his life. If Eck can at least go about 50-50 with Snider, like Alex Smith did in 2010, the U.S. will be in good shape.
Drew Adams, New York Lizards, Penn State
John Galloway, Rochester Rattlers, Syracuse '11
Jesse Schwartzman, Denver Outlaws, Johns Hopkins '07
"The goalies, it's like pick one of them," Meade said. "They're all great. They're stopping the ball, leading the defense all those types of things. The one thing that has been very, very consistent is the goalies have been very, very good."
Schwartzman and Adams have won four of the last five MLL goalie of the year awards and Galloway, who finished his college career as Syracuse's all-time wins leader (59), has transitioned seamlessly to the pro and international level. Only one will fill the starting role left by National Lacrosse Hall of Famer Brian Dougherty, Team USA's goalie in 2010.
* 2010 U.S. men's national team member
Who's Not on the List?
You can bet most, if not all of these guys will be on the MLL All-Star team that faces Team USA in preparation for the world championships this summer:
Attack — Eric Law, Denver Outlaws, Denver; Ryan Young, Charlotte Hounds, Maryland; Matt Danowski, Charlotte Hounds, Duke; Drew Westervelt, Chesapeake Bayhawks, UMBC
Midfield — Jeremy Sieverts, Denver Outlaws, Maryland; Matt Striebel, New York Lizards, Princeton; Steven Brooks, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Syracuse; Ben Hunt, Chesapeake Bayhawks, North Carolina
|Kevin Leveille, 32, is the oldest
player on the 30-man list, two months older than 2010 alternate Lee
Zink. The crease attackman has never made a Team USA world
championship roster. He first tried out in 2001 while in college at
UMass. (John Strohsacker)
Defense — Brendan Buckley, New York Lizards, Army; Brian Farrell, Ohio Machine, Maryland; Brett Schmidt, Charlotte Hounds, Maryland; Michael Simon, Denver Outlaws, Stevenson; Kyle Sweeney, Boston Cannons, Georgetown
Short-stick defensive midfield — Kevin Drew, Charlotte Hounds, Syracuse; Chris Schiller, Charlotte Hounds, Penn State; Kevin Unterstein, New York Lizards, Hofstra; Stephen Peyser, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Johns Hopkins
Faceoff — Mike Poppleton, Florida Launch, Johns Hopkins; Anthony Kelly, Denver Outlaws, Ohio State; Greg Gurenlian, New York Lizards, Penn State
Goalie — Kip Turner, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Virginia
7 — Players on the 30-man roster from both the Chesapeake Bayhawks and New York Lizards, the most of any of the MLL's eight franchises. Three of the Bayhawks come from their short-stick defensive midfield group.
5 — Tewaaraton Award winners in the mix: Rob Pannell (2013), Steele Stanwick (2011), Ned Crotty (2010), Max Seibald (2009) and Kyle Harrison (2005).
4 — Members of the 2010 gold-medal U.S. team in the running for the 2014 squad. This is a decidedly new-look group. Who will be the leaders?
32 — Ages of the oldest members of the group, attackman Kevin Leveille and defenseman Lee Zink. Leveille was born two months before Zink in 1981. Their experience could help another gold medal run. The U.S. missed Leveille's inside presence at the "Duel in Denver" against Canada. Zink has drawn the assignment of Canadian superstar attackman John Grant, Jr. over the years in MLL play. "The hardest type of guy [to cover] in general is someone who is a physical dodger who wants to go to the goal hard," Zink has said. "John Grant Jr., when he has the ball and he wants to go to the goal, he can use his strength to get where he wants."
16 — Different schools, including NCAA Division III power Salisbury (Kyle Hartzell), represented on the 30-man roster. Maryland and Johns Hopkins each have a team-high five, followed by Syracuse and Cornell with three each.
1 — Current collegian to survive cuts, Loyola defenseman Joe Fletcher. Seven college players participated in summer tryouts. Fletcher, a card-carrying member of the fundamentally sound club, was the only one to survive a first round of cuts down to 52 players. He's now made it through again.
For more information on tickets to watch Team USA defend its world title against 38 other nations at the 2014 FIL World Championship in Denver, visit WorldLacrosse2014.com.