By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
After finishing last season in a seven-way tie for first place, the Boston Cannons, who did not qualify for the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) postseason due to tie-breakers, will attempt to earn a spot in this summer’s postseason as they begin their 2017 campaign this Sunday, April 23rd when they visit the Florida Launch.
Fans can watch the game on Lax Sports Network (LSN), the home for every MLL game this season.
Boston, which recently concluded its two-week training camp, will be led by captains Will Manny, Max Seibald, Josh Hawkins and Justin Turri. Manny led all players last season in points (50), while Hawkins enjoyed his best season as pro with a career-best 11 goals and 14 points.
All four will certainly be counted on this Sunday when the Cannons take on a squad they defeated last year in their season finale at Harvard Stadium.
Boston and Florida have met three times in the past two seasons with the Cannons claiming all three contests.
Last season, the Cannons overcame a three-goal deficit at the break to defeat the Launch, 11-10. The win bumped Boston’s record to 8-6 overall, however, due to other outcomes that particular day, the Cannons were eliminated from the 2016 MLL playoffs.
In addition to the team’s four captains, Boston will lean heavily on veterans Mitch Belisle, Kevin Buchanan and Brodie Merrill, along with last season’s NCAA Division I Defensive Player of the Year Matt Landis. Additionally, look for the 2016 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Rob Haus to step-up this season, too.
“We could not be more excited to head into our opening game with a group of men that want to win and be a part of something special this season,” Coach Sean Quirk said in Tuesday’s release about his team’s 25-man roster.
Florida, which finished its 2016 slate 3-8 overall, will look to bounce back this season. They will be led by Kieran McArdle and Connor Buczek.
The Launch should also receive a boost this season from Jason Crane, who was acquired earlier this week, according to the team’s website. Crane, who competed for the Chesapeake Bayhawks, could certainly be an important leader for the team’s backline.
Florida Coach Tom Mariano is optimistic about his team’s upcoming campaign, he expects the Launch to play ‘a tough, hard-nosed style of lacrosse.’
Following Sunday’s contest, Boston will visit Atlanta next Saturday, April 29th for its second contest of the season.
Check-in this Sunday for a complete game one recap, along with news and notes from the Cannons’ initial contest of the season.