The Rochester Rattlers opened their 2012 training camp on Saturday, April 14 th in Sahlen’s Stadium with some new additions to the roster. Three of the Rochester Rattlers biggest additions during the 2012 offseason, A Kevin Leveille, D John Lade, and M Steve DeNapoli, practiced with the Rattlers for the first time. Rattlers general manager Rob Clark and head coach Tim Soudan brought in each player to fill specific needs that the Rattlers had during the 2011 Major League Lacrosse season.
A Kevin Leveille is one of the most accomplished goal scorers in Major League Lacrosse history. He has scored 224 goals in his first seven years in MLL – an average of 32 goals a season. Leveille has been amazingly consistent in his goal scoring totals over the course of his career with 28G in 2004, 39G in 2005, 27G in 2006, 36G in 2007, 35G in 2008, 35G in 2009, and 29G in 2010. Leveille chose not to play during the 2011 season, but he is eager to return to MLL and play for the Rochester Rattlers in 2012.
“It’s good to be back in the league again this year, and it’s nice to have the opportunity to play in Rochester.” Leveille said. “People remember the Rattlers from the 2008 Championship team, but they’ve done a lot of good things with their roster over the past year. I think we’re going to surprise some people this year.”
Last season Rattlers A Ned Crotty led the league in scoring with 29G and 20A. His two partners in the attack were rookies Jordan McBride and Grant Catalino. Both missed the first part of the season completing their college commitments, but once they joined the team they finished with 16 goals and 17 goals respectively. An in form Leveille could provide the Rattlers with a more lethal goal scorer to turn all of the chances that Crotty creates into markers during the 2012 season.
The second major addition of the off-season attending the first weekend of camp was D John Lade. Last season Lade played three games with the MLL champion Boston Cannons as a rookie after completing his commitment to Syracuse University in the spring. Lade was a standout defenseman with the Orange. He started all 45 games that he played from 2009 to 2011. He was a three time All-American and a two time First Team All-American. In 2011 he was recognized as the top defensemen in the nation. Lade finished his career with the Orange with 114 ground balls and 44 caused turnovers after transferring to Syracuse from Villanova after his freshmen year.
The Rattlers are hoping that Lade’s pedigree as a defenseman can help Rochester improve in the defensive zone in 2012.
The third addition on display during the first weekend of training camp was SSM Steve DeNapoli. DeNapoli was one of the best short stick midfielders in the country coming out of Hofstra University in the spring of 2011. He was the 30
th overall selection of the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the 2011 MLL Draft. He played in five games as a rookie with the Bayhawks and scooped sixteen ground balls (3.2 GBs/game). He also added one assist for one point and logged 1:30 in penalty minutes.
DeNapoli collected 195 ground balls and caused thirty-one turnovers with Hofstra. He scored twelve goals and added eleven assists for twenty-three points in his career with the Pride. DeNapoli was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team in 2008. He was named second team All-CAA in 2009, and he was selected to play in the USILA North-South Game as a senior.
“DeNapoli is really quick. He was a pleasant surprise during the first weekend of camp.” Rattlers Assistant General Manager Nathan Snyder said. “Some of our veteran attacking players came off the field commenting how difficult it is to get by DeNapoli. You think you have enough room to dodge him, but he ends up getting into you because his closing speed is so great.”
The Rochester Rattler had Canandaigua’s SSM Dan Groot filling a key role in the midfield last season. In an expansion year where Major League Lacrosse added two teams, Rattlers management had some difficult decisions to make. One of those decisions was to leave Groot unprotected. He ended up being selected by the Ohio Machine in the 2012 MLL Expansion Draft. Rochester addressed the need in the 2012 MLL Draft, but there will still be a window in the beginning of the season where they won’t have a lot of depth in that position. The Rattlers management hope that DeNapoli can come into training camp and solidify himself as an option as a short-stick defensive middie.
Rochester Rattlers 2012 Training Camp
The Rochester Rattlers training camp continues on Saturday, April 21
st and Sunday, April 22
nd. On Saturday from 1PM to 3PM the Rattlers will be holding tryout for the Rattlers Elite Youth Team. From 3PM to 4PM the Rattlers will be holding a free youth lacrosse clinic. From 4PM to 6PM will be practice. At 7:30PM the Rattlers will be at the Rochester Stock Exchange for the Rattlers Players Party.
On Sunday the Rattlers will have practice from 9AM to 11AM.
Both training camp practices will be held at Sahlen’s Stadium. They are free and open to the public.