By Sam Gest | 6/21/13 4:00 PM
Major League Lacrosse will announce the selections for the 2013 All-Star Game presented by Moe’s Southwest Grill on Monday, June 24. Players are selected through balloting process by MLL coaches and general managers. The game will be played in American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte on July 13. Each day this week, we will be previewing some players that have stood out in the first half of the season as names to look for when the selections are announced on Monday.
If you don’t have your tickets for the event yet, be sure to check out the MajorLeagueLacrosse.com All-Star page for information. It is sure to be a great event and with activities taking place throughout the weekend, will be fun for the whole family!
Today, we take a look at the top performers from the top two teams in the league, the Hamilton Nationals and the Denver Outlaws.
Kevin Crowley – Midfield
For the first half of the 2013 season, Crowley has been the best player in the league, and is leading the league in points (32) and goals (23). At times, he has looked like an unstoppable force, as exhibited by his week 1 effort against the Boston Cannons, in which he put up 7 points. He has scored at least two points in every game this season, and has also had a pair of six-point games. His active streak of 21 consecutive games with at least a point is a new franchise record. Only in his third season in the league, he is yet to appear in an All-Star game.
Brodie Merrill – Defense
In his ninth season in the league, Merrill is still one of the elite defenders in the game. He is one of the top shut-down defenders in the MLL and is updating his career record for ground balls on a weekly basis, which now sits at 668. Merrill has also notched a goal and four assists in six games, and his ability to make plays off of the wing on faceoffs gives is a perfect example of the versatility that helped him win Defensive Player of the year honors from 2006 through 2011. An All-Star selection in 2013 would be the eighth of his already exemplary career.
Brett Queener – Goalie
When healthy, Queener has proven to be one of the top goaltenders in the league, but he has struggled with injuries so far this year. However, when he’s played, he’s played extremely well. So far, he has posted the best save percentage of his career in seasons that he’s seen regular action, at .594. Queener’s athleticism adds another dimension to his game, as he will often take off after making a save, and run the ball into the offensive zone on his own, and sometimes take it further. Queener has made the All-Star game every year since 2009, after entering the league in 2008 from the University of Albany.
Brendan Mundorf – Attack
The Outlaws have the best offense in the league, and Mundorf has been the leader of that unit, with 28 points in the six games that he has seen action. His 13 assists ranks atop the league in that category, while he is third in total points. Mundorf has consistently terrorized opposing defenses, scoring four points on three occasions, as well as six and seven point efforts. With so many ways of beating defenses, he has been nearly impossible to stop this year, which will likely lead to him being selected to his seventh consecutive All-Star game.
Lee Zink – Defense
Despite not showing up much in the box score, Zink has cemented himself as the best shut-down defender in the league. After nine years in the league, offenses have still not figured out how to attack him, and it’s a tough task to find a weakness in his game. It is rare that he allows his man to score, which is incredibly impressive given the fact that he marks the opposing teams best offensive player every week. Last year, he snagged MLL Defensive Player of the Year honors from Brodie Merrill, and he isn’t showing any signs of loosening his grip on the award. Look for him to make his seventh consecutive All-Star appearance in Charlotte on the 13th of July.
Jesse Schwartzman – Goalie
Schwartzman has played in every game this season for the Outlaws, which isn’t surprising, given the fact that he’s been one of the most consistant goalies in the league for a few years now. He has a 7-0 record, and is giving up only 10.35 goals per contest while stopping nearly 57 percent of the shots he has faced. Most recently, Schwartzman played perhaps his most impressive game, when he stopped 17 shots in a 13-9 win over the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Schwartzman is looking to make his sixth straight appearance in the All-Star game since coming into the league in 2007 after winning a National Championship with Johns Hopkins.