After reading Quint Kessenich’s blog on his best 30 players, as well as reading about a Sports Illustrated player poll that rated the top 10 most over-rated baseball players. I began to think of some of the great pro lacrosse players that never got enough respect. Here they are in no particular order:
Paul Gait-Was on a great team with his brother Gary, Casey Powell, Terry Riordan, Tim Goettelman, and the Sombrotto brothers the first year of the MLL in 2001. Only played in six games in the regular season, but had 10 goals and 7 assists in those games. His real moment was in the MLL championship game when he had seven goals in a win over the Baltimore Bayhawks. Only played three more MLL games for the Boston Cannons in 2002.
Sal LoCascio-Was the main starting goalie for the 2001 Champion Lizards team. His back-up was the great Brian Carcaterra, who started four of those games. He only played one season in the MLL but was a great college goalie for UMass, Team USA, and was one of the only American born goalies to be successful in the MILL/NLL as a goalie.
Greg Cattrano-The original goalie for the Bayhawks. Also the first goalie to score a goal in the MLL. Led the Bayhawks to three straight Championship game appearances, and one title before going to Philadelphia to play for the Barrage andwin the 2004 championship. He then went to Long Island to play for the Lizards, they faced the Bayhawks in the 2005 championship game and lost. Retired after the 2006 season.
Vinnie Sombrotto-Was an original Lizard in 2001. He was 41! Not only did he help win the 2001 title as a player, but he also helped coach the team to a 2003 title.
Kevin Finneran-Another original Long Island Lizard. Scored 8 goals in the inagural season. Was a much better player before the MLL existed, but was consistent in his NLL and Team USA career.
Roy Colsey-According to the latest MLL record book, Roy is the career leader in two point goals. Was one of the original Barrage players, back in the days of Bridgeport and playing in a baseball stadium. In 2001 he lead the team in assists, and tied for points. In 2002 he lead the team in goals. He was an integral part of the 2004 title team, and lead the team in goals and total points during their 2006 title run.
Tim Soudan-Another throw back pro who spent a lot of time in the NLL before getting a chance to play in an outdoor league. Tim was an original Rochester Rattler. Who was a consistent player for a couple seasons.
Brian Reese-An original Baltimore Bayhawk. Great defenseman who lead the team in GB’s by someone not named Paul Cantabene in 2001. Played for the Bayhawks until 2005 when he was on the Barrage. Retired to coach the Denver Outlaws.
Stephen Sombrotto-Brother of Vinnie Sombrotto and also an original Long Island Lizard. Was in his late 30s when he played. Won a pair of championships with the Lizards.
Dave Evans-An original Boston Cannon, probably one of the hardest shots ever. I think he did 106 during one of the first All-Star skills competitions. Lead the Cannons in goal scoring, 2pt goals, and points in 2001. Also did it in 2002. After that he was just a real consistent player.
Pat McCabe-An original Long Island Lizard and part of one of the greatest defensive units of all time. In the Championship winning season of 2001, his teammates included John Gagliardi and Brian Spallina. In their 2003 Championship season, MCCabe played with Damien Davis and Brian Voelker. Was a very consistent pro.
Jamie Hanford-Known as a great face-off player in the NLL, Hanford was a great defenseman in the early days of Major League Lacrosse. An original Bridgeport Barrage, he lead the team in GBs in 2001 playing in one less game than most of his teammates. He was 4th on team GBs in 2002 playing in four less games. He was traded to the Bayhawks in 2003 and was 2nd on the team in GBs behind Paul Cantabene.
Tim Goettelman-An original and still a member of the Long Island Lizards. Which means he was part of two title teams and appeared in two other championship games. Goettelman is a consistent player for the Lizards and is always near the top of the scoring statistics. Eight summers in the MLL is rare, and is quite a feat.
Dan Denihan-An original Bayhawk and big time point producer just behind Mark Millon and Tom Marechek in 2001. Also played for the Bridgeport Barrage and was their leading scorer in 2002 and 2003.
Mark Frye-I have been a Mark Frye fan since his days at Loyola College. Not only did he have a hard shot, but he also was a hard hitter too. You did not want to go through the crease on this guy. An original Baltimore Bayhawk was a consistent point scorer for several years. Was on the 2002 and 2005 championsip teams.
Jay Jalbert-Was an original member of the New Jersey Pride and was one of their biggest point producers. However, he is better known for being a Long Lizard and leading them in points in their 2003 Championship season, as well as 2004. Career cut short to injury. Also was a beast in the NLL, one of the few Americans who could dominate in box lacrosse.
Connor Gill-Was one of the first true rookies in the MLL and started playing for the Boston Cannons in 2002. While he is well known, I don’t think he gets enough credit of being a dominant scorer and feeder that he really is, since he is probably one of the MLL’s top players. Lead team scoring in 2003. As well in 2004 when they appeared in the MLL championship game and in 2006. Now plays for the Washington Bayhawks.
Peter Inge- This Aussie only really had one great season. Where he dominated the league at the face-off x all summer. Would have lead the team to a title if it wasn’t for a late season injury. A testament to how the MLL doesn’t cater to college stars. As long as you’re athletic enough, you can find yourself on an MLL roster.
AJ Haugen-Another orginal member of the 2001 Long Island Championship team. Was a consistent scorer on a great offensive unit that had Casey Powell, Tim Goettelman, Terry Riordan, andthe Gaits. Also played with Jay Jalbert, Blake Miller, Stephen Berger, Kevin Lowe, Chris Massey, and Kevin Finneran. Was on two championship teams and appeared in two other title games.
Blake Miller-Blake is a major contributor to the current Long Island Lizard squad. he will be 36 in a few weeks, and that is not the amazing part. What is amazing is that he became a star in the MLL long after he entered the league with the Bridgeport Barrage in 2001. His breakout season was in 2004 when he lead the Barrage to their first MLL championship and lead the team in scoring. He is now leading scorer for Long Island.