Dillon Ward Leads Denver To Season Opening Win Over New York

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Photo Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images                                                                                                   

In the 2019 MLL season opener the Denver Outlaws took down the New York Lizards 11-9 on the road. The Outlaws used a big third quarter performance to help get ahead and secure the win over the Lizards. While both offenses were on display early on, it was the goalies that really made difference down the stretch making save after save. 

Denver was led by rookies Brendan Kavanagh with 4 points (2G,2A) and Chris Aslanian with 3 points (2G,1A). John Grant Jr. also had 2 points (1G,1A) in his return to pro lacrosse after retiring in 2016. In cage Dillon Ward made 19 saves, helping to lead the way for the Outlaws. 

New York was led by Mark Matthews who tallied 4 points (2G,2A). Dylan Molloy and Kevin Crowley both had 2 points (1G,1A) while Rob Pannell dished out just two assist on the night. In cage for the Lizards Austin Kaut made 11 saves, anchoring that New York defense. 

Denver got things started quick with John Grant Jr. scoring just minutes into the game. Ryan Lee scored a few minutes later t put Denver up 2-0 early on. With things tied at 2 late in the first Nick Galasso scored off a rebound to give New York a 3-2 lead heading into the second. 

Dylan Molloy put New York up 4-2 early on in the second, scoring is first goal as a Lizard. After that the defense on both ends really stepped up, only allowing two combined goals through the rest of the half. 

With New York leading 5-3 heading into the third, Denver really stepped up on both ends. The Outlaws defense really limited the Lizards offense, continuing to shutdown Rob Pannell and the New York attack.

While goalie Dillon Ward and the Denver defense were getting hot so was the offense on the other end. Tim Barber got the Outlaws offense going early on, starting a three-goal run that put Denver up 6-5 early in the third. Kevin McNally finally broke the silence, getting New York going again. 

While the end of third was more back-and-forth, the Outlaws were able to take a 10-8 lead into the fourth quarter. It was all New York in the fourth as they unloaded. However, late in the game Dillon Ward came up with multiple huge saves, limiting the Lizards offense from even sniffing overtime with just a minute left in regulation. 

Ryan Lee put in the dagger, scoring on an open net with 9 seconds left in the fourth to secure the 11-9 win for the Outlaws. 

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Storylines From Each Team Coming Into The 2019 MLL Season

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Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Blaze                                                                                                                        

The 2019 MLL season is just a little over a week away with the season getting underway on Friday, May 31st. This year may be the most interesting year the MLL has seen since in a while with the number of teams being reduced to six, teams having new faces, the league having a new look, and more. 

As we sit nine days away from the start of the MLL season, here are some storylines to follow throughout the season. 

Will Atlanta Finally Get Over The Playoff Hump? 

The Atlanta Blaze have been around for three seasons and have failed to miss the playoffs each year. 2019 looks like it could be the year that the Blaze finally break through and reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Atlanta has a very strong core group of guys on both ends of the field, and bring in some very talented rookies that can make an impact day one, that’s what makes this years Atlanta Blaze so dangerous. 

On the offensive end they are led by midfielder Tommy Palasek who is their top returning point scorer. Palasek tallied 26 points (16G,10A) last season for the Blaze. In addition, Randy Staats is returning to Atlanta after being acquired by Dallas last season, Staats is an electric attackman and can certainly be a leader on this Blaze squad. 

Atlanta’s top returning defenseman is Liam Byrnes who has been a staple on that end of the field for the Blaze. They also return goalie Chris Madalon who will be stepping up into a bigger role this season as a starter, but has proven himself with this play last season, making 99 saves with a .559 save percentage.

What really gives the Blaze an edge this season is the rookie talent that they are bringing in. Three of the Blaze biggest signings have been faceoff man Alex Woodall, attackman Brendan Sunday, and midfielder Colton Jackson. Those three are expected to help take this Blaze offense to a whole other level. 

Can Boston Returns To Form?

Over the past few seasons the Boston Cannons have been one of the worst teams in the league. With some new faces emerging their year as stars, the Cannons have the ability to return to their former glory, sitting up there as one of the best teams in the league. 

Everything starts with the defense for Boston as James Fahey looks to step into a bigger role and be “the guy” on the defensive end for the Cannons. In cage, Boston returns Nick Marrocco but also bring in rookie Tate Boyce who had a fantastic college career at Providence. While it’s Marrocco’s job to lose, the Cannons goalie play shouldn’t be much of a problem this year. Rookie Zach Goodrich should also be a big help on the defensive end as one of the best SSDM’s in the game. 

On the offensive end of the field the Cannons are led by attackman Mark Cockerton who tallied 32 points (29G,3A) last season despite only playing 7 games due to injury. Attackmen Zed Williams and Will Sands will also be leaders for the Cannons again this upcoming season with Kyle Jackson and Shawn Evans possibly making big impacts as well. 

With the players that the Cannons return on both ends and the rookies that have a real shot at making an impact, they can certainly get back on track starting with this upcoming 2019 season. They just need to stay healthy, unlike last season. 

Is Chesapeake A Championship Frontrunner? 

When you look at what teams return the most talent from last season the Chesapeake Bayhawks jump off the page. After taking a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals last year, the Bayhawks return star players on both ends of the field and really look like a team that can make a run for the Steinfield Cup. 

Colin Heacock is one of the faces of the league and certainly a superstar talent for the Bayhawks squad. Last season Heacock helped lead Chesapeake’s offense, tallying 38 points (23G,14A). The attackman looks to bring that same energy and leadership to the Bayhawks in 2019 as well. Steele Stanwick and Matt Abbott also return and should also make big impacts for the Chesapeake in 2019. 

With Niko Amato and Brian Phipps as goalies, the Bayhawks have two guys that can step in a get it done, but Amato looks to be the starter once again. In front of the cage they boast a tough defense with Jesse Bernhardt being one of the leaders. Two-way midfielder Isiah Davis Allen and SSDM Nick Manis will also help add to that defense, especially up front. 

The Bayhawks also have a whole host of players that could possibly step up and see much bigger roles in 2019. This is a team that has mostly stayed together through the offseason, despite a few pieces here and there. That chemistry is their biggest strength. Just like last season, this team has a very good chance of hoisting the Steinfield Cup at the end of the season. 

Can Offensive Firepower Carry Dallas? 

In their first season in Dallas the Rattlers had a ton of success, making to the MLL championship where they eventually fell to the Denver Outlaws. While the Rattlers do return some pieces from last year’s squad they have also lost some big pieces and some new faces have been added as well. The Dallas offense looks to be the marquee aspect of this team, the defense has plenty of holes. 

The Dallas offense looks like it won’t miss too many steps with Ryan McNamara and Cody Radziewicz returning. Both were top five scorers for the Rattlers last season. Dallas also adds attackman Bryce Wasserman who they picked up in the dispersal draft. The attackman really broke through with Ohio last season and looks to do much of the same while playing back in his home state. They also add rookies Jack Jasinski, Joe Saggese, and Lucas Wittenberg who should also be able to contribute to the Rattlers offense as well.

While the Dallas offense certainly looks electric this season, their defense may take some time to develop with plenty of new faces and maybe less star power than some other teams. While they add rookie defenseman/LSM Craig Chick the Rattlers have one of the really have a lot of question marks as to who will fit in where on the defensive end. 

Does Denver Repeat As Champions? 

The Denver Outlaws come into the 2019 season as the defending champions. While the Outlaws have been the closest thing to a dynasty over the past few seasons, do they have what it takes to be able to repeat as champions? With Tony Seaman stepping in as the new head coach there may be some growing pains early on, but this is a team built to win. 

Denver has a strong core group of returners with faceoff man Max Adler and midfielder Zach Currier being the two “Faces of the team” while goalie Dillon Ward is also a big returner for the Outlaws as well, anchoring the defense in cage. Midfielder Mikie Schlosser and defenseman Matt Gilray will also be two returners that should make significant impacts for the Outlaws this season. 

That core group of guys gives the Outlaws a lot of consistency that other teams don’t have right off the bat. In addition, that also helps when bringing in rookies as well. The Outlaws have already signed rookie attackmen Kyle Marr and Daniel Bucaro who can be serious threats on the offensive end. Rookie midfielder Sean Eccles and attakckman Chris Aslanian could also contribute as well. 

What Can The New Look Lizards Do? 

New York might have the least amount of returners from last season and they have a new head coach in BJ O’Hara. With a new coach and new faces on the field, this New York team may be the newest bunch of teammates this league has seen in a while. It will be interesting to see how far they can go with the star power that they have on both ends, despite all the changes. 

The Lizards may have the best offense in the league with attackmen Mark Matthews, Rob Pannell, and Dylan Molloy leading the charge. In addition to signing Molloy, the Lizards also picked up star-studded midfielder Kevin Crowley in the dispersal draft. The Lizards offense will be one of the deadliest in the league. 

While the offense is certainly championship caliber, so is this New York defense. While Mike Unterstein is one of  the leaders of the New York defense, they picked up goalie Austin Kaut in the dispersal draft as well as defenseman Den Randall. Rookie Quintin Germain should also be able to make an impact on the defensive end as well. 

New York looks to be a championship caliber team with all the talent that they return and bring in this season. While they do look stellar at glance, it may take some time for all the pieces to gel properly. If they can figure that piece out fast then we could see something pretty special from the Lizards this season. 

Atlanta Announces A Slew Of Rookie Signings

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Photo Courtesy of Towson Athletics                                                                                                                 

Over the past few days the Atlanta Blaze have been hitting nothing but home runs with multiple rookie signings. The Blaze have signed number one overall pick Alex Woodall, Colton Jackson, Brendan Sunday, and a few others throughout the week. 

Alex Woodall was selected first overall by the Ohio Machine in the MLL draft and then Atlanta picked him up in rookie selection after Ohio, Dallas, and Charlotte folded. Woodall has been an impact player at the faceoff dot in college at Towson. In 2019 he went 74.2% at the faceoff dot, going 237-306. 

Brendan Sunday is a scoring machine as he was crucial to Towson’t offense through his college career. Sunday was selected thirteenth overall in the second round of the MLL draft. As a senior in 2019, the attackman led Towson in scoring with 74 points (49G,25A). 

The Blaze get a pure shooter in Jackson as he can flat out shoot the ball from the outside. At Denver Colton Jackson was one of the leaders on offense for the Pioneers. The attackman tallied 26 points (19G,7A). Jackson was selected twenty sixth overall in the third round of the MLL draft bu the Blaze. 

Atlanta has also signed two defenseman in Dylan Gaines and Eddie Bouhall. Gaines was selected fourteenth overall in the MLL draft by the Atlanta Blaze out of Denver and Bouhall was picked forty ninth overall in the sixth round out Lehigh. 

 

 

Cannons Sign James Burr and Tate Boyce to Rookie Contracts

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Photo Courtesy of Boston U. Athletics                                                                                                         

The Boston Cannons have signed three rookies to contracts prior to the state of training camp last week. The three rookies include James Burr, Tate Boyce, and Charlie Durbin. 

Burr was drafted 55th overall by the Cannons in the 2019 MLL draft. During his college career at Boston U. the attackman was a crucial part of the Terriers offensive unit. Burr finished his college career with 194 points (153G,41A), making him the all-time points leader in Boston U. history. As a senior in 2019, Burr tallied 72 points (56G,16A) while helping to lead the Terriers to a Patriot League tournament semifinal appearance. 

The Boston Cannons picked up Boyce after going undrafted in the 2019 MLL draft. While in college at Providence Boyce was one of the best goalies in the country, racking up a career total of 709 saves with a .536 save percentage. As a senior in 2019, Boyce helped lead Providence to the Big East tournament, making 200 saves. Boyce is the school leader in career saves at Providence.  

In addition, the Cannons also signed Charlie Durbin who they selected in the 2019 MLL Rookie Relocation Selections. Durbin played three years at Princeton due to a knee injury in 2018. The midfielder ended his career with 49 points (41G,8A).

 

New York Lizards Sign Dylan Molloy

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Photo Courtesy of Major League Lacrosse                                                                                                      

A week after being released from the Redwoods and let go of his PLL contract all together,  the former Tweaaraton winner is making headlines in the pro lacrosse world yet again. The star-studded attackman has gone back to the MLL and has signed with the New York Lizards. 

Following a very successful college career at Brown that included winning the Tewaaraton an leading Brown to the semifinals in 2016. Molloy was drafted first overall in the 2017 MLL draft by the now disbanded Florida Launch and took home Rookie of The Year Honors as well. 

Last year with the Launch, Molloy tallied 100 points (41G,59A) while being named an MLL All-Star as well. 

The MLL All-Star brings loads of talent to a roster that is already full of top-tier playmakers on both sides of the field. Molloy will be joining forces with players such as Rob Pannell, Kevin Crowley, Mark Mathews, and others on the offensive end. 

Playing for his hometown team for head coach B.J. O’Hara who had a successful run with Denver prior to taking over the coaching duties in New York, Molloy should be a force to be reckoned with of the Lizards offense this season. 

 

 

MLL Reducing to Six Teams, Florida, Ohio, Charlotte Are Folding

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images                                                                                                                         

Major League Lacrosse has announced that they will be reducing to six teams for the 2019 season, which will start on May 31st. The teams getting the axe are the Florida Launch, Charlotte Hounds, and Ohio Machine. 

According to the league, this move was unanimously voted on by the owners and is part of the MLL’s plan to focus on growth in strategic markets with the intention of creating an Eastern and Western conference. This move now limits an owner to just a single team. The league has also reacquired all media rights in an effort to find a broadcast partner. 

While these teams are folding for the 2019 season there are plans for returning the Charlotte Hounds in 2021 under new ownership after the constriction on American Legion Stadium has finished. According to the league, talks are underway for new owners starting in 2020. 

The full Reasoning behind why the league chose to fold these three teams is unknown, but all three were primarily owned by New Balance founder Jim Davis. There are some problems that come out of folding these three teams. The biggest issue is with Ohio as Fortress Obetz was built with the Ohio Machine being the cornerstone of the project. In Florida’s situation, they went through a lot of trouble to get out of their contract with FAU and change venues. 

Worst of all is the timing of this announcement, just about two months before the start of the 2019 season, after the collegiate draft and two supplemental drafts. Not to mention that the league already released the schedule months ago. But this timing is sadly not shocking as pro lacrosse has a long history of poorly timed announcements. 

Obviously the MLL has had to revise their 2019 schedule to include just six teams and you can find that up on their website now. Players from the three folding teams will be put in a pool and the six teams can pick them up in a draft late this month. 

 

MLL Draft Recap: Machine Select Woodall First Overall

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Photo Courtesy of Towson Athletics                                                                                                                 

The 2019 MLL Draft was held on Saturday night in Charlotte,NC at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In this years draft we did have some surprises and they started off right at the top with the number one and two picks. 

Round One

1. Ohio Machine: Alex Woodall, FO, Towson – In a complete and total shocking move, the Machine selected Towson faceoff man Alex Woodall first overall. Woodall has been a big part of the Tigers this year and throughout his time there. Th Machine add a complete machine at the faceoff dot with Woodall. (Pun intended)

2. Florida Launch: Tim Troutner Jr, G, High Point – The second overall pick was just as shocking at the first. The Launch selected High Point goal Tim Troutner Jr. who has been tearing it up this season for the Panthers.

3. Boston Cannons: Zach Goodrich, M, Towson – Goodrich was the second Towson player taken in the draft. The midfielder is a do-it-all kind of player. Goodrich has been a valuable asset to the Tigers as he can get it done at both ends of the field.

4. Boston Cannons: Austin Henningsen, FO, Maryland – Henningsen gives the Cannons depth at the faceoff position, becoming the third guy in that room. The Maryland product should have a shot to start as a rookie with his ability. 

5. Charlotte Hounds: Ryan Conrad, M, Virginia – Conrad will be able to help out the Hounds with his versatile skill set. The midfielder can play both ways, but will most likely do most of his work on the offensive side. 

6. Denver Outlaws: Max Tuttle, M, Sacred Heart – The Colorado get’s selected by his hometown team. Tuttle is a very electric midfielder who can score in a multitude of ways that get fans excited. 

7. Chesapeake Bayhawks: Pat Spencer, A, Loyola – Shockingly, Spencer dropped this low and the Bayhawks got a steal here. As one of the best and most electrifying players in college lacrosse over the past four year, Spencer is pro-ready and has been for sometime.

8. Dallas Rattlers: Chris Sabia, D, Penn State – The Penn State product was the first defenseman selected, and rightfully so. He is a very tough defender and his checks can kill you as well as his physicality. As an on-ball defender, Sabia has the ability to shut down some of the best guys in the country.

9. Denver Outlaws: Daniel Bucaro, A, Georgetown – Bucaro is a fantastic attackman who may be a little under the radar due to injuries. He has great skills as a dodger, passer, and finisher. He fits the Outlaws offensive identity very well. 

Round Two

10. Denver Outlaws: Nick Spillana, M, Penn State

11. Florida Launch: Sean Eccles, M, UAlbany

12. Boston Cannons: Clark Petterson, A, Cornell

13. Atlanta Blaze: Brendan Sunday, M/A, Towson

14. Atlanta Blaze: Dylan Gaines, D, Denver

15. Ohio Machine: TJ Comizio, DM, Villanova

16. Chesapeake Bayhawks: Greyson Torrain, M, Navy

17. Dallas Rattlers: Craig Chick: LSM/D, Lehigh

18. Denver Outlaws: Chris Aslanian, A, Hobart

Round Three

19. Ohio Machine: Johnny Surdick, D, Army

20. Chesapeake Bayhawks: Curtis Corley, D, Maryland

21. Boston Cannons: Nick DeCaprio, LSM, Michigan

22. Dallas Rattlers: Isaac Paparo, LSM, UMass

23. Charlotte Hounds: Matt Neufeldt, LSM, Denver

24. New York Lizards: Jack Tigh, M, Yale

25. Chesapeake Bayhawks: Noah Richard, LSM, Marquette

26. Atlanta Blaze: Colton Jackson, M, Denver

27. Boston Cannons: Ryland Rees, LSM, Stony Brook

Round Four

28. Ohio Machine: Chris Young, A, High Point

29. Florida Launch: Tyler Dunn, M, Penn

30. Boston Cannons: Brent Noseworthy, M, Michigan

31. Dallas Rattlers: Teddy Hatfield, A, Richmond

32. Charlotte Hounds: Austin Fusco, D, Syracuse

33. New York Lizards: John Daniggelis, M, Yale

34. Boston Cannons: Tyson Bomberry, D, Syracuse

35. Dallas Rattlers: Jack Jasinski, A, Ohio State

36. Denver Outlaws: Brandon Jones, D, Air Force

Round Five

37. Ohio Machine: Matt Borges, D, Ohio State

38. Florida Launch: Joey Sessa, M, Yale

39. Atlanta Blaze: Brett Craig, LSM, Seton Hill

40. Florida Launch: Andrew Kew, A, Chestnut Hill

41. Atlanta Blaze: Tyson Gibson, M, Robert Morris

42. New York Lizards: Connor Farrell, FO, LIU

43. Chesapeake Bayhawks: Austin French, A, Denver

44. Dallas Rattlers: Joe Saggese, A, Sacred Heart

45. Denver Outlaws: Kyle Marr, A, Johns Hopkins

Round Six

46. Ohio Machine: Sam Cleveland, A, Colgate

47. Florida Launch: Eric Applegate, A, Jacksonville

48. Dallas Rattlers: Lucas Wittenberg, M, Georgetown

49. Atlanta Blaze: Eddy Bouhall, D, Lehigh

50. Charlotte Hounds: Brendan Gleason, M, Notre Dame

51. New York Lizards: Danny Dolan, G, Maryland

52. Chesapeake Bayhawks: Warren Jeffrey, D, Vermont

53. Dallas Rattlers: Fleet Wallace, D, Cornell

54. Denver Outlaws: Jeff Rowlett, D, North Carolina

Round Seven

55. Boston Cannons: James Burr, A, Boston U

56. Florida Launch: Reid Malas, M, Bucknell

57. New York Lizards: Decker Curran, M, Michigan

58. Atlanta Blaze: Jake McCulloch, M, Cornell

59: Ohio Machine: Alex Heger, G, Robert Morris

60. New York Lizards: Brendan Kearns, A, Providence

61. Chesapeake Bayhawks: John Prendergast, M, Duke

62. Dallas Rattlers: Landon Kramer, M, Sacred Heart

63: Denver Outlaws: Kyle Pless, D, Rutgers

 

 

 

2019 MLL Draft is Coming to Charlotte

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Major League Lacrosse                                                                                                                                       

Major League Lacrosse announced on Wednesday morning that the 2019 MLL Collegiate Draft will be held on March 9th at the Nascar Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. 

The draft will be held the same very weekend as The Crown Lacrosse will be in Charlotte, and the MLL will be working with them through a partnership. The Crown Lacrosse will showcase Cornell, Towson, and Penn State as they will play each other on March 8th and 10th at The Sportsplex at Matthews in Charlotte. 

In a press release MLL Commissioner Sandy Brown said, “With a highly anticipated class of NCAA seniors set to be selected for the 2019 MLL Collegiate Draft presented by Cascade, we are excited to put on a show that aligns with the talent joining our league this summer.”

Per the league’s press release, they are working closely with New York Lizards owner Andrew Murstein to provide a unique fan experience for those who attend. Petty also owns Richard Petty Motorsports. 

Fans will be able to attend the 2019 MLL Draft FREE OF CHARGE. The event will be also streamed on Lax Sports Network. The draft will start at approximately 7pm where the Ohio Machine will have the first pick of the draft. 

 

NLRB Investigating MLL

Photo Courtesy of Joshua Kelly
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The National Labor Relations Board is investigating the MLL due to an illegal clause in player contracts. Terry Foy of Inside Lacrosse first reported the story Wednesday morning.

Rich Furlong, who helped with the CLA negotiations with the NLPTA over the summer, has issued the unfair labor charge on behalf four players. The Atlanta Blaze’s Jermey Nobel, Jason Nobel, Graeme Hosack, and the Denver Outlaw’s Dillon Ward.

The unfair labor charge is centered around a confidentiality clause in players contracts that prohibits them from discussing various elements of their contracts such as compensation, benefits, and more. Furlong filed the unfair labor charge on behalf of those four players (mentioned above) back in early November.

In the Inside Lacrosse article Furlong is quoted as saying “The MLL has a standard player agreement that has a confidentiality clause in it, found in Section 13.5, that in substance prevents employees from speaking to other employees about terms and conditions of employment. These types of provisions are wholly illegal. There’s absolutely no question they’re illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.”

Furlong and the players position is that the players contracts need to be nullified and thus they should should be able to sit down and negotiate contracts without this illegal clause. If the NLRB rules in the players favor then it would effect every player who is currently under contract or in contract negotiations with a MLL franchise. 


These kinds of investigations usually take 30-60 days before a NLRB regional office would make a decision to move forward with the case. In this case the Denver regional office is the one involved. The MLL could then settle with the NLRB or with Furlong and the players. If it goes to that the whole process could take about two months. 



MLL Releases 2019 Schedule

Photo Courtesy of The Sentinel

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) has announced their 2019 season schedule. The 2019 schedule includes some changes that include the start of the season being pushed back to to May 31st, after the NCAA season. The regular season will run through September 22nd. The MLL playoffs will be from September 27th-29th. 
In addition the MLL All-Star Game will take place on July 27th at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis,MD. The 2019 MLL All-Star Game will be broadcast on ESPN2. The MLL Championship Weekend will be September 27th-29th and the Championship game will be broadcast on ESPNNews. The location will be announced at a later date. 
The MLL has announced that they will continue their partnership with ESPN and Lax Sports Network. ESPN will air a Game of The Week on ESPN + during the regular season. 
MLL Commissioner Sandy Brown said, “This schedule is the result of input from our players, coaches, GMs and team presidents. It reflects our commitment to consistently improve the experience for our fans, our players, and our teams. The schedule highlights the best rivalries in the game and features a great lineup for our broadcast partners.” 

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