via press release
When the Florida Launch return to Boca Raton this Saturday to take on the Denver Outlaws, one of the top MLL prospects will be added to the mix. The Launch are excited to announce that defenseman Matt Landis will be joining the team effective immediately. Landis, the 3rd overall selection in the 2016 MLL Collegiate Draft, becomes an active roster member after one of the most decorated careers in college lacrosse history.
The Notre Dame defenseman finished his senior year with a long list of accolades to his name. Landis is the first ever repeat winner of the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year award, a two-time USILA Top Defensive Player, and Tewaaraton Award finalist. In four seasons for the Fighting Irish, Landis posted 100 ground balls and 45 caused turnovers.
Landis will look to fill a void in the Launch defense left when Ken Clausen suffered a season ending injury against the Charlotte Hounds. Clausen recorded 16 ground balls and forced a turnover in 3 appearances before his year was cut short. Although he has big shoes to fill, Landis recorded 34 ground balls and forced 19 turnovers showing a penchant for disrupting opposing attacks. Coach Stan Ross believes that Landis will develop well with the help of league veterans. “For the last two years he is been the best defenseman in the NCAA. Not only is he a great on ball defenseman but he can help off ball as well,” Ross said. “With the mentoring of Tucker Durkin, we believe that Matt can become one of the best defenseman in the MLL.”
The current defensive lineup for Florida features Tucker Durkin, Kevin Randall, PT Ricci, and Pat Frazier. Durkin and Landis are both winners of the William C. Schmeisser Award which is given to college lacrosse’s best defensive player each year. With Landis and Durkin anchoring that group, the Launch can now enhance their transition game by sliding more mobile defenders into the midfield. With more flexibility, the team hopes that matchup problems will be created resulting in the opposition settling for shots.
As for this weekend’s contest, Landis is set to debut against Denver’s Drew Snider and Michael Bocklet. Snider and Bocklet have combined for 49 points this season, creating problems for many defenses. Durkin and Landis will likely be tasked with stopping the pair from creating opportunities and converting shots. If the Launch can slow down Denver’s attack, it will be on the offense to take advantage of one of the MLL’s most porous defenses. Denver has allowed 102 goals this season.
Landis is not the only draftee looking to make an impact in their rookie season with the team as others have begun to make their way into the MLL. Steve Pontrello, younger brother of the Launch’s Nikko Pontrello, is returning to lacrosse action for the first time since winning the NCAA Championship with North Carolina. Pontrello adds yet another scoring threat for Florida as he tallied 49 goals and 21 assists in his senior season. Liam Byrnes, Marquette’s first ever draftee, is making a name for himself as he forced 2 turnovers and picked up 6 ground balls since making his first appearance against the Atlanta Blaze.
Face off for the game is set for 7:00pm on Saturday at FAU Stadium. Tickets are available through www.floridalaunchlacrosse.com
or by calling 561-923-9067