Lizards' offense starting to take shape
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The Lizards have a roster dotted with offensive firepower, and after six games this season, with the team finally at full strength, coach Joe Spallina witnessed what's possible.
For the first time, rookies Rob Pannell, JoJo Marasco and Steve Murphy, as well as captain Max Seibald (foot injury), played on the same field for the Lizards (3-4).
The result was a 12-10 win last Thursday against the Hamilton Nationals -- the team's first at Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island. The Lizards will look to continue to establish an identity on offense and even its record as the team heads into a four-game road trip starting Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the Boston Cannons (2-5).
"Last game was a little bit more of where we'd like to be and it was a good building block as we move forward because the talent level is through the roof," Spallina said.
Now, the challenge for the Lizards is to continue to play with continuity on offense. Pannell, Marasco and Murphy, fresh off completing their collegiate careers, have to jive with Stephen Peyser, Mark Matthews and Tommy Palasek, who leads the team with 17 points. Spallina isn't too worried about that being an issue, mostly because of his trust in Pannell, this year's Tewaaraton Trophy winner and the NCAA's career scoring leader.
"We want to run the offense through Rob," Spallina added. "He's the epitome of a lacrosse quarterback. He can shoot, dodge and has great vision. There's no part of his game that's deficient. It's just a matter of our guys being able to get used to his style and then being able to mesh that all together."
Gurenlian honoredGreg Gurenlian won league defensive player of the week honors, announced Monday, after he collected 17 of 26 faceoffs against Hamilton.
He also grabbed 10 ground balls in the victory and picked up an assist in the fourth quarter to secure the Lizards' lead. Gurenlian leads MLL in faceoff wins (117) and percentage (.650).
His success has been a constant piece of an evolving Lizards team.
"He's been awesome and he's a guy who takes a lot of pride in his trade," Spallina said. "He's been a steady influence in the middle of our lineup, being able to get us some extra possessions while our offense continues to try and find its way."
Goalie Adams strongDrew Adams made 10 saves against Hamilton and added to his league-leading total of 105.
"He's one of the top goalies in the league for a reason," Spallina said. "The MLL is a league of runs and great players across the board so you have to have a great goalie to be a great team and we feel like we have the best."
Adams and the rest of the defense will certainly be tested Friday night when they take on Boston. Despite a poor start to the season, the Cannons are led by Paul Rabil, widely regarded as the league's best midfielder, and Ryan Boyle, a top attackman.