Atlanta Blaze Player Spotlight: Randy Staats
The Atlanta Blaze finished the 2019 Major League Lacrosse (MLL) season with an 8-8 record and their first playoff appearance in franchise history. Much of what the Blaze were able to accomplish in the season was to the aid of their prolific attackman, Randy Staats. Although the Blaze were eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual champion, the Chesapeake Bayhawks, in the MLL Semifinals, Atlanta can look forward to having Staats back as he is contracted to for the 2020 season.
In his fifth year in the MLL, Staats put up an impressive stat line as he finished with 50 points (17 goals, 33 assists) in only 11 games played. The Syracuse alum was named to the 2019 MLL All-Star Game for his efforts and was nominated for the Warrior Offensive Player of the Year Award at the 2019 MLL Honors.
In January, Staats was traded to the Blaze after spending a single season with the Dallas Rattlers. He spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the Blaze and was traded back, along with the 26th pick for Dallas' 22nd and 31st picks in the 2019 Collegiate Draft. In his first game against his former Rattlers team on June 21, he finished with six points (2 goals, 4 assists) to lead the Blaze to a 13-11 victory. Some of his other most impressive outings of the season were in a win against the Bayhawks on June 29, where he finished with six points (3 goals, 3 assists), and against the Denver Outlaws on July 11, where he had six points (3 goals, 3 assists).
The Blaze as a collective team went on to have an excellent season on the offensive end as they finished with 229 goals scored and broke the all-time MLL record for team assists in a season with 157. In a year where there was a league-wide boost in scoring, Staats and his team were the true embodiment of that trend throughout the season.
Staats got his start in collegiate lacrosse at Onondaga Community College where he put up a total of 295 points in only two seasons as he earned first-team All American honors both years. For his junior year he transferred to Syracuse and finished his remaining two seasons of his collegiate career with 109 points on 62 goals and 47 assists for the Orange. He was selected with the 29th overall pick in the 2015 MLL Collegiate Draft by the Rochester Rattlers.
The future looks bright for the Blaze as many of their other top players remain under contract for the 2020 season including top faceoff specialist and Cascade Rookie of the Year, Alex Woodall, and the 2019 Warrior Defensive Player of the Year, Liam Byrnes. It was a season that held a lot of success for Staats and the Blaze, and the league would be well to expect more of the same to come in the 2020 season from both parties.
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Major League Lacrosse Stories from November 4, 2019
- Atlanta Blaze Player Spotlight: Randy Staats - Atlanta Blaze
- MLL Player Movement Opens - MLL
- BayHawks to Celebrate 2019 Championship on November 7th - Chesapeake Bayhawks
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