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Joe Beninati and Quint Kessenich cover MLL for the ESPN networks. You are guaranteed to see memorable things when you attend MLL Championship weekend in Annapolis, Md., on Aug. 27 and 28. Southwest Airlines gets you there cheap.
1. Youth Rookies seldom make the difference during MLL Championship weekend. The Nationals rely heavily on Kevin Crowley, David Earl, Jeremy Thompson, Dan Burns and Kevin Ridgway.
4. Young legs More often than not, veteran players take the lead in the MLL playoffs, that been proven year after year. But Hamilton rookie class is so influential to its success, they could be difference makers in a tournament that takes place in one quick weekend. First year pros Jeremy Boltus, Stephen Keogh, Crowley, Earl, Thompson, Kevin Ridgway, Matt Dolente and Dan Burns bring loads of youthful enthusiasm.
the goal skills with John Galloway or Greg Cattrano.
5. Clearing Hamilton has struggled to clear the rock. Aside from Steve Waldeck and Brodie Merrill, Hamilton lacks charismatic poles who can handle the pill under duress. Scotty Rodgers is an elite stopper, but nobody would ever confuse his out of Nike Foamposite Grey
3. Casey Powell Powell made his first appearance since 2008, contributing four points in the loss to Nike Blazer Vintage High Tops
leadership quotient is unquestioned by the Nationals, but the leader has to be sharp with his No.1 job description: Stop the ball.
2. Defense The defensive scheme isn always the right match up. Hamilton double poles up and shorts an attackman as their base defense. They play both Steve Waldeck and Brodie Merrill up top against midfielders, which causes midfield oriented teams some headaches, but against an opponent with three dodging attackmen that will spell defeat. If Hamilton shorts LI or Denver attack, they will be in treacherous territory.
3. A legend returns I am sure that my esteemed colleague in the booth (yes, that you, you paragon) will take a shot at Hamilton decision to add Casey Powell to its ranks. I can hear all the "If it ain broke, don fix it" comments. Any time you can put the all time MLL point scoring leader in your line up, you do it, and trust that he will acclimate himself quickly.
6. Gait way to Glory When at their best, the Nats move the ball with exquisite skill. Talent helps in that regard, and so too does the coaching of Gary Gait. The assstant coach/offensive coordinator of the Nationals won the MLL championship title three times as a player, and his guidance could play a major role in moving the Steinfeld Cup north of the border once again.
First of all, let acknowledge the obvious: Hamilton can win it all if they don get into postseason play. Assuming they take care of business against Long Island in Week 12 and/or the tie breaker math works in their favor, the Nationals have these six things going for them in the playoffs:
5. Mister Rodgers His subpar week 11 performance vs. Boston notwithstanding, Scott Rodgers has the potential to steal a game in goal. When he gets hot, we have seen him slam the door in the face of the opposition. His Foamposite Fantastic 4 Pack
6. Strength of Schedule Hamilton is hot right now, you can debate that. But let not forget that three of their wins have come against Rochester. And Hamilton has been fortunate to play LI (July 1) and Chesapeake (July 30) at opportune moments both opponents at the time of faceoff were not playing their best ball. On Saturday, Boston showed them who boss, sending goalie Scott Rodgers an early shower.
1. Brodie Merrill When it comes to game changing, game altering abilities few people in Major League Lacrosse have this man impact. Offensively, he wields the longstick with the ease of an attackman, creating scoring chances for himself and for his teammates. Defensively, he has an uncanny knack for anticipating ground balls from the face off, and he still has shutdown capability of the opponent top midfield scoring threat. He plays a ton of minutes, and even as well conditioned as he is, that tough on back to back days.
Can the Hamilton Nationals Win It All
Boston. But adding a player on Aug. 6 can help team chemistry. The future Hall of Famer will be challenged to assimilate into the Nationals culture so late in the campaign. Why change what working so well?
4. Attack can dodge Do Jeremy Boltus, Cody Jamieson or Stephen Keogh scare you as dodging ball carriers? They don frighten me.
2. Midfield scoring muscle For Hamilton to succeed in Annapolis, it must receive major production from their midfielders. Joe Walters leads Nike Dunk Melvin this gang, but he can do it alone, names like Jordan Hall, Kevin Crowley, Brett Bucktooth, David Earl and Jeremy Thompson have to sign in on the scoresheet.
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