Thursday, April 24, 2014

Versatile Midfield Ready for Season


DENVER -- In 2014, Denver will have a strong group of midfielders return from last season, and it will welcome back some new additions.

Drew Snider was the Outlaws’ most dominant midfielder last year and is set to return for his third season with Denver. Snider was named the Most Improved Player of the Year last season after finishing sixth in the league with 31 goals. The University of Maryland product also dished for 14 assists and collected 30 groundballs.

Complementing Snider at midfield is another former Terrapin in Jeremy Sieverts. Sieverts tied for tenth in the league last year with 27 goals. He also has the ability to score from far out — he had six 2-points goals last season. His season was good enough to earn him his first All-MLL honors and second-straight All-Star game appearance. 

Cameron Flint enters his second year in the league and first with the Outlaws. The Canadian midfielder netted eight goals and dished for nine assists last season with the Boston Cannons. A University of Denver graduate, he was a three-time All American in college and scooped up 110 groundballs during his collegiate career.

Also getting playing time at midfield will be Terry Kimener. Kimener enters his eighth year in the league and fourth with Denver. He ranks fourth on the Outlaws’ all-time assist leaderboard with 38. Last season, he posted 32 points on 17 goals and 15 assists, and two of his goals were game winners.

Rounding out Denver’s veteran midfielders is Justin Pennington. Pennington, who played college lacrosse at Rutgers, returns for his third season in Denver. In 2013 he set career highs with 10 goals, four assists and 39 groundballs.

Noah Molnar, who was signed after coming to Denver’s open tryouts, Dan Groot, Sam Snow, Domenic Sebastiani and Michael Simon will also be listed as midfielders on the Outlaws roster.


Simon was acquired via offseason trade with Chesapeake.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

HEAD COACH B.J. O’HARA WEEKLY CONFERENCE CALL QUOTES




See below for a transcript of Outlaws Head Coach B.J. O’Hara’s Week 1 MLL Conference Call
On following up a 14-0 season
“You mean 14-0? I don’t think so. We are going to be doing a lot of the same things. Having been with the Outlaws for the past two seasons with a lot of the same people there, I think I have a pretty good grasp of what has worked for us and what maybe hasn’t worked so well. I think we have a good line on the strengths of a lot of our guys. I think you’re going to see the same looks in a lot of ways – maybe with a few different wrinkles.”

On what John Grant Jr. brings to the team
“We obviously can’t wait to get John out there as soon as possible. I do have a history with John back in Rochester. He and I have a great relationship. We were together on the 2008 Rattlers team that won the championship. Speaking of championships, that is probably the thing that John brings as much as anything. He has won at just about every level – he’s won Mann Cups in Canadian box, he’s won NLL Championships, he’s won an MLL Championship, he’s won World Championships in field and in box. He knows what it takes and he has that experience. Not to mention, obviously some of the most amazing stick skills out there. He is still playing at a very high level. I saw him play the other night in Denver and he had five goals and he looked like a young boy out there leading the way for them on offense. We just can’t wait to get him going.”
On this week’s game at Florida and playing against former Outlaws Assistant Coach Stan Ross, who is now the Launch’s head coach
“I don’t think that will be much of an issue as far as the coaching staff. The game will be won and lost on the field. The big thing in the first game of the year in Major League Lacrosse is trying to predict who you’re going up against. It is hard to manage your matchups and things like that. We are going to have to do a lot on the fly because we really don’t know who they’re going to have. They have a number of guys playing indoor and coaching and things like that. We are trying to get through their lineup and see how they might matchup with different contingencies. The Launch staff has a pretty good idea of who we’re going to be putting out on the field and what they can do, so they probably have a little bit of an advantage there.”
On which players surprised him at training camp
“One actually came to us via our open tryout about a month ago named Noah Molnar. He is a big, rugged, athletic defensive midfielder from Lehigh University. I think he was drafted last year by Rochester but never had an opportunity to suit up. He caught our eye right away. He looks good getting off the bus. He had a great first week of training camp and last weekend, the second week, our round-robin day with Chesapeake and Charlotte, he showed really well, so he was one guy that came to the tryout and he’ll make us deeper and more athletic in that role. Via some trades, we got some new faces. Namely, Matt Gibson, who was rookie of the year several years ago and did not play much at all last year due to an injury. Matt is playing real well for us. Mike Simon came to us in that (Brendan) Mundorf trade and Mike – if you’ve never seen Mike – you’ll be able to pick him out. They call him ‘tree.’ He’s big and tall and has a long wingspan and handles the ball real well. He is going to be a real effective defensive longstick middie for us.”
On expectations for attackman Curtis Dickson
“We have held his rights for several years now with wishful thinking that someday it might be possible. He did sign his contract, we have had communication with him. We have sent him sticks to get ready – he uses a different manufacturer’s stick, so we had to get him new sticks rigged up. From all indications, as soon as his indoor season is over, he will be available. And part of his incentive is to get ready for the World Championships, of course. We are excited. We are just trying to think of the numbers of ways we can use him and combinations of guys with him and Grant Jr. and Zack Greer. We have a lot of player power there offensively.”
On how important it is to win early in the season
“That’s a great question. I think it is really important, because everybody is going to get better as the season goes on. It’s an evolution for every club. We feel like we’re going to be able to add some pieces going forward that are going to make us stronger, but so are everyone else. If you can put some in the bank early, then that just makes it a little bit easier and takes some of the pressure off going down the home stretch. Every team in this league has such great talent. Even now, even before they get all their guys in. Every game is going to be a battle, no matter who you are going up against. We saw Charlotte and Chesapeake last weekend. They were without all their guys and so were we and they were three pretty evenly matched teams. So, it is going to be a struggle, even early.”
On whether he plans to make any changes to the team’s playing style in 2014
“I definitely think we want to be smart about things. We want to make sure that we use the shot clock wisely. But the guys that we have on the offensive end, they are going to want to get to the goal. With the shot clock, you don’t have a lot of time to fool around anyways. On the defensive end, we think we have a great group at that end and they looked fabulous last weekend at our scrimmages. We are going to attack people on the defensive end and Jesse handles the ball so well, we like to think we can get it on the ground and up and out and create on the other end. But, we also want to make sure – one of our goals is to make sure we get a quality shot with every possession and not force and turn the ball over without getting a good look at the goal. Those are what we’ve talked about.”
On having early-season success in the past despite losing players to NLL action
“I think that as you are – (General Manager) Tony Seaman and I talked about this a lot since the end of the season – it’s trying to anticipate who might be late arriving due to their other commitments and who is in the pool or who could we trade for that might fill some of those spots early on until we get everybody in. That is exactly what we’ve done. For example, Matt Gibson is a very good left-handed attackman, a guy we felt we needed. Matt is an awfully good player, so he may well be around for a while. We made a couple of trades with those things in mind. We think we have all the bases covered for the time being. We’ll see.”

Positional Preview: Defense


 
 
Dominant defense set to return


Last season the Outlaws allowed the fewest goals in the league, 139, and opponents scored just three two-point goals all season. The success of the defense lifted Denver to the first undefeated season in league history — and much of the talent that led the Outlaw defense last year returns for the 2014 season. 

Veteran Lee Zink will once again lead the group of defenders. The 6-foot-4 product of the University of Maryland enters his 11th year in the league and ninth as an Outlaw. He ranks seventh in league history in games played with 117. Zink, who served as a team captain last season, was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season. The seven-time MLL All-Star scooped up 21 groundballs for Denver last year.

 Zink will be surrounded by youth on the defensive line. Roger Ferguson enters his second year in the league. He picked up 14 groundballs in four games last year and was just one of five rookies to get on the field for the Outlaws in 2013. In three seasons at Brown University he totaled 122 groundballs.

 Matthew Bocklet — whose brother Chris heads Denver’s attack — played in all 14 regular-season games last season and picked up a team-best 72 groundballs and also added a pair of goals. The three-time All-Star is Denver’s all-time groundball leader. He’ll return for his eighth year in the league and sixth with Denver.

Chris O’Dougherty played in 11 games last season for the Outlaws and collected a career-best 23 groundballs. O’Dougherty enters his fourth season with Denver.

Finally, Dillon Roy, a product of the University of Denver, will round out the defense. Roy enters his fifth year with the Outlaws and ranks sixth in team history with 104 groundballs. Last season he scooped up 23 groundballs.

 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Positional Preview: Attackers





  

Mix of experience and fresh talent to lead Outlaws’ attack

A year removed from an undefeated regular season, the Outlaws will look to their offense again to help them to another playoff berth. Denver netted a league-best 226 goals during the 2013 regular season — 45 more goals than the second-ranked team.

The Outlaws will welcome a wealth of new talent up front, but the attack will again be headed by Chris Bocklet who led the league in scoring last season with 42 goals. Bocklet — who returns for his third season in Denver — made history last year when he became the first player in team history to have multiple six-goal games, a feat he accomplished three times. He also netted a total of six goals in the Outlaws two postseason games. The numbers were good enough to earn the former University of Virginia standout a spot on the All-MLL team and MLL All-Star team last season.

Also returning for another season in the black, orange and silver is attacker Zack Greer. The native Canadian put up career bests in goals and assists in 2013 with 18 and 10, respectively.  Greer enters his fourth year in the league and second year with the Outlaws. He plays for the Edmonton Rush of the NLL to keep in shape during the offseason. 

Eric Law, a Colorado native who went to Arapahoe High School and the University of Denver enters his sophomore year in the league. Law put in 24 goals and passed for nine assists in his rookie campaign for Denver. The homegrown talent also posted the best shooting percentage in the league last season with a .632 mark.

Bocklet, Greer and Law will be complemented on the frontline by a number of new faces.  Cameron Flint, a former teammate of Law’s at the University of Denver, will return to the place he called home for four years. Flint, who played his rookie season with the Boston Cannons last year, was acquired in an offseason trade. The former Pioneer had a successful first year at the pro level, scoring eight goals and dishing for nine assists for Boston. Outlaws’ General Manager Tony Seaman called Flint “one of the up –and-coming stars of the league.”


Filling out the attack for Denver is a mix of youth and experience. One of the young gunners is Matt Gibson who enters his third year in the league and first with Denver. The product of Yale led all rookies with 33 points in 2012. On the other spectrum, John Grant Jr. will play his ninth MLL season. Grant, who also plays for the Outlaws’ NLL counterpart, the Colorado Mammoth, has been on three MLL championship teams. The veteran has also been named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year three times and has collected MVP honors twice.

Denver at Florida Game Notes

http://media.majorleaguelacrosse.com/files/140422-atfla-notes.pdf


Click here for game notes leading up to the Denver Outlaws' (0-0) Week 1 game against Florida (0-0). The release includes game information, statistical charts, notes of interest, team rosters, updated player/coach biographies and boxscores leading up to Denver’s matchup at Florida at 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday, April 26, 2014.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Molnar Makes Week 1 Roster



By Simon Kaufman



Midfielder Noah Molnar has gone from having to try out for a spot on the Denver Outlaws to making the Week 1 roster.

Following weekend scrimmages, the coaching staff told the team that decisions had been made about the roster for the first week of the regular season and that coaches would meet with players to inform them of their fate.

“Coach (General Manager Tony) Seaman just handed me a helmet, told me I’ll be heading to Florida next week and ‘congratulations’,” Molnar said. 

Molnar joins an Outlaws midfield that helped lead Denver to an undefeated regular season in 2013. The former Lehigh University standout recorded 71 groundballs during his four-year career as a Mountain Hawk before being drafted by the Rochester Rattlers last year.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound midfielder didn’t have the opportunity to prove himself last season and wasn’t ready to give up his lacrosse career yet.

“I felt like I could play in this league and I could have a place in this league,” Molnar said.

Motivated to get back on the field, he went to Denver’s open tryouts in late March, and was one of four players from the tryout that the Outlaws signed.

“He is a big, strong and athletic lacrosse player who has the ability to help us as a defensive midfielder,” Denver General Manager Tony Seaman said.

Molnar thinks his speed also makes him a dual threat, available to help on offense, too.

“I love playing a hard-nosed brand of defense,” Molnar said. “And then also have the speed and athleticism to push the ball in transition.”

Molnar — who planned on pursuing his real estate license and coaching lacrosse at Corona Del Mar High School, his alma mater, in Newport Beach, Calif. this summer — is excited about the new opportunity to play for Denver.

“It just seems like it’s a first-class organization,” Molnar said. “It’s run really well, and it just seemed like a great thing to be a part of.”

2014 Media Guide Available

The Denver Outlaws 2014 Media Guide is now available for download via the team’s website. The 145-page document contains front office, coach and player bios, team historical recaps, MLL directory information, team and league records and much more. Click here for a historical archive of the team's media guides.