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Resetarits Nearing Powell’s American Points Record

Joe Resetarits is on the precipice of making box lacrosse history by surpassing his American idol on the regular season career-points list.

Resetarits, a Hamburg, New York native and current member of the Philadelphia Wings, needs six points to pass Casey Powell (who finished his NLL career with 674 points) to have the most points scored by an American player in National Lacrosse League history. Powell has had this record since 2011, when he passed former record holder Kevin Finneran, who put up 564 points during his NLL career.

“It’s pretty cool to be in the same category as Casey,” Resetarits said. “He’s a guy I’ve always looked up to from a young age watching him play lacrosse. He was one of my idols growing up. I would never put myself anywhere near him [in the all-time ranks for American box players], with all he’s done for the sport, but it’s so cool to be mentioned in the same category as him.”

On March 8th, 2014, Powell tallied his final NLL point in his final NLL game. He scored on the power play off of a feed from NLL Hall of Famer John Grant Jr. to give their Colorado Mammoth a 6-5 lead midway through the fourth quarter against the Calgary Roughnecks. It was a thrilling game that the Mammoth would win in overtime after surrendering a late multi-goal lead.

This was one of the few games of Powell’s career that Resetarits likely didn’t watch, and the only reason he would’ve missed it is because he and the Bandits had battled (and won) that night against the Minnesota Swarm in Buffalo. Nearly a decade after Powell’s final point tally, the former box star will soon watch as Resetarits breaks his longstanding record. It took 12 NLL seasons (spread across 15 years) and 137 regular season games to set it.

Powell, who has been a fan of Resetarits’ game for the last 20 years, is pleased that the title of the greatest American point-getter in NLL regular season history will now be held by someone he has so much respect for.

Casey Powell with the New York Titans

“I have nothing but the utmost respect for Joe with how he’s carried himself his entire career,” said Powell. “We’re both Upstate New York guys, and I’ve been able to follow his career. I remember when I was in college and then in the pros hearing about him coming up through the ranks. I was able to follow him at high school, college, and now pro. I’m super proud of the way he’s conducted himself as a professional. I respect the way that he plays, and that he has this opportunity to score more points than me.”

In today’s box game, Americans are becoming more and more prevalent – Resetarits, Tom Schreiber, Connor Fields, Blaze Riorden and Joe Nardella are among the most notable. But back in 1999, when Powell began his foray in the NLL, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Handfuls of Americans tried the Canadian version of the game, but many ultimately struggled to thrive in the league year after year.

There were indelible stars of yesteryear, such as Powell, Finneran, Jake Bergey, Ryan Boyle and Regy Thorpe that stuck around a for a while and gave the box game the old college try. Each of those men left a lasting impression on the next class of great players, but few did it like Casey Powell did.

Powell credits his decision to stay in the box game for as many years as he did as a main reason he reached such great heights. Yes, he had the longevity, but he also got better as the years went on.

One of the unique aspects of Resetarits’ box journey is that, unlike most American lacrosse players, Resetarits pursued both box and field when he was in the earliest days of his youth. And, not only was he playing box, he was watching the game be played by the best-of-the-best with his brother and father from the age of three. The constant exposure to box and field quickly made Powell an instant role model for Resetarits.

“I was growing up watching field and watching box, just seeing how easy the game was to him,” Resetarits said. “He was making stuff look easy that people only dreamed of doing. He’s a guy that was a hero, not just to myself, but to so many kids growing up in my era of playing.”

TORONTO, CANADA – October 1; Calgary selected Joe Resetartis as the 6th pick in The National Lacrosse League 2012 Draft at the Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, October 1, 2012. (Photo by Graig Abel/Abelimages)

As for Resetarits’ high school and collegiate careers – Well, it’s no surprise that guys around the game, including professionals, knew who Resetarits was, especially for guys who lived in Upstate New York like Powell.

Resetarits was a U.S. Lacrosse High School All-American, and was named Western New York Attack of the Year during those high school years. In college, he was a USILA Preseason All-American, and even found himself on the Tewaaraton Watch List. None of this would have been possible without his parent’s overwhelming support of Joe playing both indoors and outdoors.

“I thank my parents for keeping me active in the sport all year long,” Resetarits said. “Once the game started clicking for me, that was a dream that the [NLL] was something I wanted to be playing in. It took a lot of hard work. Every chance that I could possibly play, I did. The hard work will pay off if you put the time in.”

In 2012, Resetarits made that dream a reality. He was selected sixth overall in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft by the Calgary Roughnecks. During his rookie season, Resetarits would find himself going up against his Idol twice (once in the regular season and once in the playoffs). Resetarits’ Roughnecks were victorious on both occasions, but Powell had the better individual performances.

Those were the first – and only – times that they played against each another in the NLL, but in the summer before the NLL draft, Resetarits and Powell were teammates on the MLL’s Hamilton Nationals. Later in their careers, they teamed up again, this time playing for Team USA at the Word Indoor Lacrosse Championship in 2015.

It’s a surreal experience to get to spend valuable time around your idols. Both Resetarits and Powell have learned how valuable it can be to have such rare opportunities to play with and against the guys you’ve been trying to replicate throughout your career. Powell has watched as Resetarits has blossomed into an elite player on the floor and an even better person off of it. That’s how he learned to play and respect the game, and he’s very pleased to see the person Resetarits has become.

“I feel like when I had a chance to play against older players that I looked up to and respected, it was always a really good opportunity to learn from guys like that – learn how they play, learn how they approach the game, and how they conduct themselves as a professional lacrosse player,” Powell said. “Joe has represented himself and his family so well, and just goes out there and gets the job done every night. He’s a great player and a great teammate, and it’s exciting to see him go out there and do his thing.”

Resetarits with the Rochester Knighthawks. Photo by Josh Schaefer/Saskatchewan Rush/GetMyPhoto.ca

Resetarits hasn’t broken the points record yet, but it is inevitable. Through 11 seasons and 167 regular season games, he has quietly and methodically found the best ways to become one of the greatest American players to ever join the NLL. He has shown his potential on many occasions, but each of his three 100+ point seasons speaks volumes as to how good Resetarits can be in the box (two of those came when he was in his 30s – he is currently 34).

To be producing at the consistent level that he is right now, having logged as many minutes as he has, it’s a little bit surprising that Resetarits has had back-to-back 100+ seasons this late in his career. As a side note, not only was Resetarits the first American to ever reach 100 points in one season, he was the first to do it a second and third time, as well.

He said that his dedication to healing his body and staying even-keeled has helped him to perform like he has in recent years.

“It’s all about putting in that work off the floor,” Resetarits said. “Once you get into that early 30s range, you really have to start watching how you take care of yourself to be ready for games. It’s not taking the day off at the gym and it’s not doing the things that maybe you could’ve gotten away with in your early 20s. Every day you have to work to play at the shape you want to be playing at.”

Leaving a lasting positive influence on his children is also a leading motivator to perform at a high level and in a respectable manner.

“My wife and my kids – it’s tough leaving them on weekends, but they’re all for it,” Resetarits said. “I really appreciate what my wife lets me go and do, and still let me play this game I love. I also really enjoy having my kids be able to understand the game a little bit now too. Part of that is a big reason I still want to keep doing this, so they can remember these memories. Whether they play lacrosse or not, it’s showing them that if you work hard, you can do anything.”

What Resetarits has been in the NLL over the last 10, going on 11 years, should never be understated. He is a humble guy, who will always defer praise to his teammates, but Resetarits is considered a great player in the NLL for a reason. The next generation of lacrosse stars have been watching how Resetarits excels and how he comports himself.

There is no doubt he’s making a deep impression on those who want to one day have success in the NLL. That’s how Resetarits viewed Powell, and we know how that turned out. Powell has no doubt that Resetarits could one day make the same impact on the next generation as he did on guys like Joe.

“I think having a role model like Joe is great for the next generation of American players,” Powell said. “To watch him play and watch what he does out there – hes a great shooter, a great scorer, he sees the field really well, hes an unselfish teammate. I think a lot of young players can learn that you dont have to do everything all the time, but the little things matter.”

The end of the Joe Resetarits era is not here yet, although it may be on the horizon. In the time that he has left to be able to play in the NLL, Resetarits will continue to go about the his business with the same high level of poise and professionalism that he’s brought to every game so far.

The passing of the torch is coming, and when that time comes Resetarits will know that he accomplished what he did by doing things the right way and doing what was always best for the team. That leaves an impression on young Americans that are watching. Few NLLers know that better than Resetarits.