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Where We’re At: The 2018 MLL Season

We’ve hit mid-May, meaning the Major League Lacrosse season is still in it’s adolescent-stage, but there are certainly some things we can take away from the season so far. With anywhere from 3-5 games in the books for each team (that’s one thing that has always bothered me about professional lacrosse – weird off weeks) we have been able to get a good sense of who each team is.

Therefore, I figured why not take a look at which teams and players have stood out, and which squads should be considered contenders. Let’s begin.

Biggest Surprise:

Without question, this is the Charlotte Hounds. The dogs down in the Queen City are both undefeated and absolutely rolling. Coming off a big W against the defending champs in the Machine, Charlotte is firing on all cylinders.

Now sitting at 4-0, the defeat of the Machine was easily their most impressive win of the season. Sure, you could consider their 25-7 shelling of the Cannons “impressive,” but when you realize Boston is a team in full-blown rebuild mode, a big win isn’t saying much. However, when you defeat the defending champs who are looking poised to repeat then we can talk about impressive.

So far this season, the Hounds’ offense is finding the back of the net with ease. In my preview of the team earlier this season, I noted that offense wouldn’t be their problem. Even without Joey Sankey, Charlotte still has plenty of firepower in Rambo, Chanenchuk, and Brown. They have all shown up so far this season, combining for 36 points. In addition to those guys, Kevin Cooper and Dylan Maltz have come on strong to provide supplemental scoring and are tied with each other for second place on the team with 11 points each.

What concerned me with the Hounds prior to the season was their defense. They didn’t really make a big splash with the draft and I thought not having a premier, lock-down defender would hurt them. So far, I’ve been proven wrong. Charlotte is giving up an average of just 10.5 goals a game, which is mightily impressive in this high-scoring league.

So far, so good. We’ll see if the Hounds can keep this up as we push forward into the season, and see what impact Connor Fields (assuming he gets healthy) will have as well.

Was That Real?

I’m referring to Marcus Holman’s ELEVEN (11) goals in ONE (1) single lacrosse game just a couple of weeks ago. The former Tar Heel could not miss, and made history (shocker) with the most goals ever scored by a player in a game.

What impressed me most about this performance was his ability to score in a variety of ways. He wasn’t just the beneficiary of good ball movement; he also found a way to get a step on his defenders from a one-on-one dodge and capitalized on his scoring chances.

Holman has always been impressive, that’s no secret. He was the only college player to make Team USA when he first tried out, and has become a key part of the Machine’s high-powered offense. Will his offensive production continue? You bet it will.

Last And Also Least…

I hate to do it to my hometown boys, but the Boston Cannons are in tough shape. After making a handful of off-season moves to address key holes in their lineup, it’s also clear they lost a lot of leadership in the process.

They got absolutely embarrassed in their opener against the Hounds and, frankly, did not deserve to be on the same field as another professional lacrosse team. Tyler Fiorito, their starting goalie, was hurt for the first couple of games, but even after his return they have not looked great. They currently sit at 1-4 and dead last in the MLL.

Will the addition of number one overall pick Trevor Baptiste help? It should. Obviously, winning your team possessions is never a bad thing, but we’ll have to wait and see what the Cannons do with those extra possessions to be able to tell if they’re a new team. Denver is still playing in the NCAA Tournament, so Boston will have to wait out the Pios’ season before the reinforcements arrive.

We’ll leave it at that for now. We have a big slate of games coming up this weekend, highlighted by Denver taking on undefeated Charlotte. Matt Kavanaugh is leading the league in goals scored, so will the Hounds be able to slow him down? We shall see.

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