Philadelphia Wings forward Kevin Crowley won a share of the scoring title in the outdoor Major League Lacrosse this summer. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Once the dust had settled with the conclusion of the Major League Lacrosse regular season this past weekend, National Lacrosse League players were well-represented among the outdoor summer league's top scorers. Philadelphia Wings forward Kevin Crowley won a share of the scoring title while four other NLL players in Paul Rabil, Drew Westervelt, Joe Walters and Brendan Mundorf, along with draft prospect Rob Pannell, also finished in the top 10 in MLL scoring.
Crowley finished with a team-high five points (3+2) for a total of 55 points (41+14) in 14 games on the season, but it wasn't enough to stop the Denver Outlaws (14-0) from a perfect season with their 18-12 win over the Hamilton Nationals (9-5), who slipped to third place in the standings. Walters registered four points (2+2) for Hamilton to finish tied for fifth in league scoring with 48 points (22+26) and fellow Rochester Knighthawks forward Cody Jamieson had three points (1+2) in the loss. Wings transition player Brodie Merrill had a game-high 12 ground balls, finishing with 91 on the season for the fourth-most ground balls overall and the most among non-faceoffmen. Merrill's Wings and Nationals teammate Jordan Hall also added two points (1+1). Edmonton Rush teammates contributed for both sides as forward Zack Greer scored once for Denver and Jeremy Thompson netted a goal for Hamilton. Highly-coveted defensive prospect Jason Noble, projected as one of the top picks in next month's 2013 NLL Entry Draft, recorded five ground balls in the losing effort.
Meanwhile, two other high-profile NLL draft prospects in Pannell and JoJo Marasco continued to make their presence felt with a combined 11 points for the New York Lizards (4-10) in their 14-11 win over the Ohio Machine (2-12). Both players recorded hat tricks while Minnesota Swarm transition player David Earl had two points (1+1) and four ground balls in the win. Pannell ended up ninth in league scoring with 42 points (25+17) in just 10 games, a 4.2 points per game pace which was the best clip in the MLL, and Marasco finished the season strong by scoring hat tricks in consecutive games. Swarm transition player Kiel Matisz scored a team-high three goals for Ohio who also got two points (1+1) out of projected first-overall NLL draft pick Logan Schuss.
The Chesapeake Bayhawks (9-5) earned second place in the standings with a 16-14 comeback win over the Charlotte Hounds (7-7) who will enter the playoffs as the fourth and final seed. Wings forward Drew Westervelt posted four goals and six points (4+2) for the Bayhawks to finish fourth in the league in goals (36) and tied for fifth with 48 points (36+12). Colorado Mammoth forward and 2012 NLL MVP John Grant, Jr. had six points (2+4) for Chesapeake with a team-high four assists while Wings defenseman Jeff Reynolds scored once in the win. Calgary Roughnecks transition player Geoff Snider recorded a game-high nine ground balls for Charlotte and went 18-for-28 (64%) on faceoffs.
The Rochester Rattlers (6-8) handled the Boston Cannons (5-9) by a score of 23-14, helped by four points from Wings defenseman Joel White (1+4), along with three points each from Wings forward Ned Crotty (1+2) and the Swarm's 2013 NLL Transition Player of the Year Jordan MacIntosh (2+1). Wings teammates Kevin Buchanan and Paul Rabil led the way for the Cannons as Buchanan scored a hat trick and Rabil notched a team-high five points (2+3) to finish the season third in MLL scoring with 54 points (35+19).
Stay tuned as NLL players will once again be counted upon when the four playoff teams (Denver, Chesapeake, Hamilton and Charlotte) advance to MLL Championship Weekend from August 24-25 in Philadelphia.