The Florida Launch return home to play the Atlanta Blaze at FAU Stadium Saturday, May 2. The Launch fell to 0-4 last weekend to open the 2016 Major League Lacrosse season after dropping a tough 12-10 battle with the undefeated Charlotte Hounds. Florida will host Atlanta for a 7:00pm face off to mark the first ever meeting of the two sides.
Despite losing their fourth straight, Florida returns home from Charlotte with much to be hopeful about. The Launch held their first lead at halftime this season, showing an offensive spark that was missing in past weeks. With Lyle and Miles Thompson back in the fold, more can be expected in their second week as team chemistry builds. Other key additions are David Earl and Liam Byrnes. Byrnes, the first Marquette player to be selected in the MLL Collegiate Draft, joins the Launch this week after a successful season in the Big East Conference. With Ken Clausen suffering a season ending injury, Byrnes brings a much needed defensive skill set to the Launch.
As for the competition, the Blaze are coming into this week’s matchup having won their first MLL game. Atlanta won 23-12 in a blowout over Denver to improve to 1-2 in their inaugural season. The Blaze feature several players who are very familiar with the Launch as Joe LoCascio, Nicky Galasso, and Casey Ikeda have all played for Florida. LoCascio and Galasso were traded in the offseason for future draft picks and Ikeda was picked up during the supplemental draft. Kevin Rice is the only Blaze player to have more points than Casey Powell. Rice’s 20 points are largely due in part to an 8 point effort in the Denver win. With a reinforced offense thanks to the Thompson brothers returning, Florida will no longer need Powell to shoulder the scoring load.
The Florida attack is primed and ready for the matchup as they have had 14 different players record at least a goal or assist. Heading into the matchup, Connor Buczek is tied for the league-high 2-point goals. Kieran McArdle has 8 goals and 6 assists through the first four weeks.
About Florida Launch
The Florida Launch began play in 2014 at FAU Stadium as a Major League Lacrosse expansion team. The team is dedicated to growing the game of lacrosse in Florida, as well as showcasing the sport at its highest level to the fans and community. For more information, please visit www.floridalaunchlacrosse.com<http://www.floridalaunchlacrosse.com>. To hear more about the Launch be sure to like us on Facebook<https://www.facebook.com/FloridaLaunch/> and follow us on Twitter & Instagram @florida_launch to stay up to date with team news, games, contests, and more!
About Major League Lacrosse
Playing its first season in 2001, the MLL is the nation’s’ premier outdoor lacrosse league. As of 2016, the MLL fields 9 teams featuring the world’s top players. For more information, please visit www.majorleaguelacrosse.com<http://www.majorleaguelacrosse.com>.