NATIONALS BACK IN CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND
8/25/11 12:00 AM
Game Notes: The Hamilton Nationals are returning to the playoffs after a one-year absence. The Nats won the MLL title in 2009, which was their only other postseason berth. Hamilton (7-5) meets the Denver Outlaws (7-5) on Saturday, August 27th in a 3:00 p.m. semifinal showdown at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 2 and ESPN3.com.
Download Game Notes: For a PDF of the Nationals game notes click here.
Playoff Matchups: The 2011 Sports Authority Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekend begins on Saturday, August 27th with a noon battle between the first-place Boston Cannons (9-3) and the fourth-place Chesapeake Bayhawks (6-6). The MLL Championship Game will be played Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
Head-to-Head: Denver is 6-1 in the regular season, but 0-1 in the postseason versus the Nationals. Hamilton knocked off the Outlaws to win the 2009 MLL Championship. This year, Denver was 2-0 against Hamilton with wins of 18-10 and 15-7.
Hamilton Notes: The Nationals won six of their last eight games to advance to the 2011 playoffs. Joe Walters led the offense with 39 points (18+1+20) and finished fifth in the MLL in points and second among league midfielders. His 20 assists were a single-season franchise record. Walters ended the 2011 regular season as the Nationals’ all-time leader in assists (37) and points (81). He ranks second in goals with 41. Goalie Scott Rodgers was third in the MLL with an 11.46 goals-against average and set a single-season team record with 106 saves this season.
Earl honored after a gem: Midfielder David Earl was named as the Cascade MLL Rookie of the Week on August 15th after scoring three times and adding one assist in the Nats’ 14-8 win over Long Island. The win propelled Hamilton (7-5) into the 2011 Sports Authority MLL Championship Weekend. Earl earned first Cascade MLL Rookie of the Week award of his career on the strength of his third hat trick of the season while matching a season high with his four-point performance.
Road Warriors: Hamilton was tied with Boston and Denver for the best road record in the MLL at 5-1. The Nationals ended the regular season riding a franchise-record five-game road winning streak dating back to June 10th.
Brodie a hoover: Nationals defenseman Brodie Merrill led the MLL with 77 ground balls, which marked the third time in his career he has accomplished that feat (2006, 2007). He ranks second on the league’s all-time ground ball chart with (524), trailing only Paul Cantabene (538).
Brodie the ultimate ‘Warrior:’ For the sixth straight season, Brodie Merrill has been named the Warrior Defensive Player of the Year.
Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Boltus was named the 2011 Cascade MLL Rookie of the Year after leading all MLL rookies with 30 points (19+11). He led the Nationals with a seven-game goal-scoring streak and a 12-game point streak.
Catch me if you can: In his two games with the Nationals, Casey Powell notched two goals and three assists to give him 393 points to move within seven of becoming the first player in MLL history to reach the 400-point plateau.
Five first teamers: The Nationals have five First Team All-Americans from the Class of 2011: Matt Dolente (Johns Hopkins), Kevin Ridgway (Notre Dame), David Earl (Notre Dame), Jeremy Boltus (Army) and Kevin Crowley (Stony Brook).
This place looks familiar: The last time Casey Powell appeared in a playoff game was on August 24, 2008 at Harvard Stadium. That afternoon, he recorded three assists in a 16-6 victory over the Denver Outlaws to secure the Steinfeld Cup for the Rochester Rattlers.
Denver Notes: The Outlaws won their last two games to lock up the No. 2 seed in the MLL Championship Weekend. The 15-9 victory over the Chesapeake Bayhawks on August 13th allowed the Outlaws to achieve their sixth winning season in their six-year history. Brendan Mundorf was named the MLL Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season after scoring five goals and adding three assists against the Bayhawks. Mundorf, who was named as the MLL Offensive Player of the Week for the fifth time in his career, finished the season tied for the MLL lead with 30 goals and ranked third in the league with 45 points. It marked his fourth 30-goal season in the last five years. Mundorf earned 18 of those points (10+8) in two games against Hamilton. Drew Westervelt also placed in the Top 10 in points, finishing tied for eighth with 32 (23+1+8).
The Max Factor: Outlaws midfielder Max Seibald finished the season tied for fourth on the team with 17 points (12+3+2), despite playing only nine games.
Top stopper: Goalie Jesse Schwartzman ended the season with the best goals-against average in the MLL at 9.87. He was also second with a .566 save percentage. Schwartzman has a lifetime 2-3 record in playoff games.
‘Pistol Peet’ back in the Final Four: Midfielder Peet Poillon is back in the MLL Championship Weekend for the second straight season. Poillon was a member of the Chesapeake Bayhawks team that defeated the Long Island Lizards 13-9 in the 2010 title game. Poillon scored a hat trick to help the Bayhawks win the Cup. He was dealt to Denver this offseason.