2017 MAJOR LEAGUE LACROSSE SEMIFINALS
SCHEDULE (all times Central)
3:30pm: Rochester Rattlers at Denver Outlaws
6:30pm: Florida Launch at Ohio Machine
Four former Marquette men’s lacrosse players will be in action on Saturday as the Major League Lacrosse playoffs get underway with the two semifinal games.
In the first game on Saturday, Conor Gately and Ryan McNamara will try to help the Rochester Rattlers knock off B.J. Grill and the defending champion Denver Outlaws. Gately has seen action in six of Rochester’s 14 games, tallying 10 goals and four assists. After playing in three early season games, Gately did not play again until Rochester’s final three regular season contests, but he had a goal and an assist in each of those last three, including a two goal game against Denver on July 20th. McNamara has scored 11 goals and four assist for the Rattlers in seven appearances, all since June 10th. He had his first professional hat trick in a 21-9 victory over Boston on July 16th, and has scored at least two goals in four of the last five games that he got on the field.
The Rattlers are the #3 seed in the tournament, while Grill and the Outlaws are the #2 seed. That’s why they’ll be hosting this game in Peter Barton Stadium, and in fact, they actually tied with Ohio for the best record in MLL this season at 9 wins and five losses. Two of those losses came at the hands of Rochester, so an upset could be brewing. Grill has been a mainstay for the Outlaw defense, playing in all 14 games. He averages 1.9 ground balls per game, but Grill has only forced five turnovers all year, well off his one per game pace from 2016.
In the late game, Liam Byrnes and the Florida Launch will travel to Columbus to try to dethrone Ohio Machine, the reigning #1 seed in the tournament. As mentioned earlier, Ohio tied with Denver at 9-5, and tiebreakers ended up tipping in favor of the Machine. Byrnes had a late start with the Launch this season, appearing only five games from June 17th onwards. He was still with Georgia Swarm, his NLL team, up until that point, and given that the Swarm won the NLL title, you can’t really fault him for that. Florida went 3-2 with Byrnes in the lineup, as the 6’3” defensive minded midfielder collected more than two ground balls per game, and forced three turnovers in his five appearances.