The Rochester Rattlers return to action in Major League Lacrosse this weekend with a reinforced roster that is looking to make amends for the team’s season opening loss in Week One. Rattlers coach Tim Soudan is expecting as many as eight new faces in Maryland this weekend as Rochester visits the Chesapeake Bayhawks on Saturday, May 12 th at 7PM. 2011 Rattlers Most Valuable Player A Ned Crotty, offseason acquisitions D John Lade and M Dan Hardy, and rookies M Carter Bender and D Will Koshansky are among the Rattlers expected to make their 2012 MLL debuts this week. The Rattlers lost to the defending MLL Champion Boston Cannons 15-3 in their season opener two weeks ago, but expect to make a better showing this weekend.
“We know we’re a better team and have more potential than what we showed in Boston.” Rattlers coach Tim Soudan said. “We were left shorthanded in Week One due to the early start to the 2012 season, but now we’re starting to be able to put our full roster together. We have high hopes for this group this year, and we’re expecting to take a step forward this weekend.”
A Ned Crotty’s return to the Rattlers is sure to bolster an attack that only scored three goals in their season opener. He is one of the bright young stars in the game of lacrosse, and the player who the Rattlers run their offense through. Last season Crotty led MLL in points (50) and assists (29). He was an MLL All-Star selection, an All-MLL selection and the Rattlers MVP in 2011. In 2010 Crotty won the MLL Cascade Rookie of the Year award after he won the NCAA National Championship and the Tewaaraton Trophy with Duke University. He will be playing in the attack with MLL legend Kevin Leveille (225 career goals) and Steven Boyle for the first time this weekend.
“Our offense sputtered in Boston in Week One, but Crotty answers a lot of the questions that we had coming out of that game.” Soudan said. “Our offense runs through Ned. He can hurt you in so many different ways. He can dodge a defender and then set up a teammate or score on his own. He makes everyone in the attack better. This year we’ve got some new options in the attack, so Ned can set up Kevin (Leveille) or Steve (Boyle). We think this group has a lot of potential “
Two of the Rattlers offseason acquisitions are expected to make their 2012 debuts this weekend. M Dan Hardy is reporting to the team after completing his NLL season last weekend while D John Lade is eligible after sitting out Week One with a one game suspension. Both Hardy and Lade were standouts with Syracuse University. Lade was a three time All-American with the Orange. He was a two time First Team All-American as a junior and as a senior. In 2011 he was selected as the nation’s best defensemen as a senior. Lade was drafted by Boston and played three games for the MLL champions last season. The Rattlers acquired him in an offseason trade with the Cannons.
M Dan Hardy will be playing with his third MLL team in four years this season with the Rattlers. The young veteran has 29 goals and 28 assists in his MLL career. Hardy was a star with the Orange where he scored 83 goals and added 53 assists during his collegiate career. Hardy was a three time All-American and a two time National Champion with Syracuse.
Hardy and Lade will be joined by two rookies, M Carter Bender and D Will Koshansky, as the Rattlers highly regarded 2012 MLL Draft Class begins to become eligible as the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse season comes to an end. Bender scored 35 goals and added 20 assists this spring with the Hartford Hawks. He was named a USILA Honorable Mention All-American as a junior after he scored 35 goals and added 18 assists as a junior. Bender finished his collegiate career with 104 goals and 64 assists. The Rattlers will look for Bender to add some scoring punch out of midfield. D Will Koshansky was named Second Team All-Ivy for each of the past two springs, and provides some size (6’2” – 195 lbs) to the Rattlers defense. He had five goals and two assists with 47 ground balls and 45 caused turnovers as a junior.
The Rattlers will be playing the Chesapeake Bayhawks, one of only three undefeated teams left in Major League Lacrosse this season. The Bayhawks defeated the Lizards in Long Island 13-11 in Week One, and then they topped the Ohio Machine 23-11 in Week Two. Chesapeake has a potent midfield with Kyle Dixon leading MLL in points (13), Ben Hunt tied for the MLL lead in goals (7) and Steven Brooks tied for third in MLL in goals with six. Last week the Bayhawks packed in over 10,000 fans for their 2012 home opener.
The Rochester Rattlers game on Saturday night with the Chesapeake Bayhawks can be seen live at 7PM on ESPN3 or on TWC Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo.
The Rochester Rattlers home opener will be Friday, June 1
st at 7PM in Sahlen’s Stadium against the Boston Cannons. Tickets are on sale for the home opener and the season by calling 585.454.5425 or visiting rochesterrattlers.com.