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A fan's view of the MLL title game

by Fran Stuchbury
August 25, 2003 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL)

I attended my first ever lacrosse game this past Sunday - the Major League Lacrosse championship, which pitted the Baltimore Bayhawks versus the Long Island Lizards at Villanova. Since I live near Philadelphia, I decided I wanted to take in the MLL title game.

While traveling by train to Villanova I met a lacrosse fan named Mark Serron. He flew in from Rochester to see the game. While on the train we had a nice talk about the sport, and he told me lacrosse players are not making that much money and they are mostly playing for the love of the game.

After I collected me press pass at Villanova, Mark and I walked around, and saw a food tent. They had a great deal, all the food you can eat plus drinks for only 10 bucks. So we sat down and ate. After that I went off to the press box to watch the game.

Long Island won the game 15-14 in overtime thanks to a Kevin Lowe goal. These teams have met in all three championships of this league's existence with the Lizards now winning two of the three games.

The announced attendance was 6,593 fans, a very good turnout which may help Philadelphia get a future expansion franchise.

All the fans were seated on one side of the field so it would look good for television purposes. The game was broadcast on tape delay on ESPN2. The press box side of the field where I was sitting had no fans, only a couple of photographers.

Several players like Baltimore Bayhawks attacker Tom Marechek play in both the MLL and the National Lacrosse League. Marechek plays in the NLL for the Philadelphia Wings. At the game I saw several Wings fans wearing their jerseys, and when his name was announced they cheered him on.

Bayhawks player/coach Gary Gait, the Michael Jordan of lacrosse, scored a MLL career-high six goals. He has done much to help promote the sport and also plays in the NLL for Colorado Mammoth. Gait organizes several lacrosse camps, helping to get more kids involved in playing the game.

The one thing I didn’t realize was how defensive the game is. Both goalies did an outstanding job in stopping some shots. Lizards goalie Brian Dougherty set a MLL post-season record with 28 saves. Bayhawks goalie Greg Cattrano totalled 17 saves.

When I got home I watched the game on television, and it was nice to see the replays of all the goals that were scored. The action is so fast paced it is sometimes hard to keep up.

I have been impressed with the way the MLL has been going about its business. It is only a six-team league in its third year. Though they have been slow on expansion, they are interested in adding another 6 teams in the West in 2005. Hopefully they may also consider Philadelphia, too, because I would definitely go to some games.

The talent level will only get better as well. There are many fine players who just finished playing lacrosse in college who will be available for MLL teams to draft next season.

I’m going try to attend a Philadelphia Wings game next season to compare the styles of the indoor and outdoor games. The indoor game is higher scoring because the field is smaller and some of the rules are different.

If you haven’t seen a lacrosse game either, see a team that’s in your area or watch the MLL on ESPN2 next season. It’s worth taking the time to check it out!

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central.

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Major League Lacrosse Stories from August 25, 2003

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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