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2020 MLL Season Preview: New York Lizards

Major League Lacrosse is set to descend on Annapolis, Maryland on July 18 to kick off their 20th season in a tournament format. Pro Lacrosse Talk is covering every team and how they’ll measure up in Maryland.

The New York Lizards head into the 2020 season seeking redemption after finishing last in the standings in 2019. BJ O’Hara’s squad will have their work cut out for them after losing superstar Rob Pannell to the PLL, following a quiet 63-point season that saw him tied for second in points. They’ll turn to established pros Dylan Molloy, Justin Reh and Austin Kaut to lead a team that many have already written off. Yet, it’s a short season, and momentum can be a powerful thing for a group of underdogs.

Strengths

Balance on both sides of the ball

The New York Lizards lost some big-name players this offseason with Rob Pannell and Greg Puskuldjian joining the PLL and Kevin Crowley getting shipped to Philadelphia. Yet, they retain leaders at nearly every position. Dylan Molloy will lead an attack that is expected to feature rookie Andrew Pettit and Connor O’Hara. Justin Reh will headline an offensive midfield unit with Alex Spring working the field at LSM. And Jack Carrigan and Ben Randall return to anchor a defense that will see Austin Kaut in cage for his second year as the Lizards netminder. The Lizards are well-rounded and could surprise other MLL teams that suffered more drastic losses this offseason.

Weaknesses

Youth and Inexperience

While the Lizards have many leaders on the team, they also have a handful of young players that will be expected to step up this season. Mark Andrejack is entering the season as the team’s top faceoff specialist and will be key in helping New York control the pace of play. Their ability to play consistently and control the flow of the game will benefit them and keep them in games.

Dylan Molloy enters his second season with the New York Lizards. (Photo courtesy of MLL)

Players to Watch

Andrew Pettit

The Lizards landed the Lehigh attackman in the final round of the draft and it could turn out to be the biggest steal of 2020. It’s possible that other teams were wary of drafting him due to past injuries, but the bottom line is Pettit is a talented attackman who can score in a variety of ways. Look for him to make an immediate impact and successfully play off Tewaaraton winner Dylan Molloy. There’s certainly no replacing a player of Pannell’s caliber, but Pettit could turn some heads this summer and prove a lot of doubters wrong.

Colin Burke

New York drafted Colin Burke third overall in the 2020 MLL College Draft and hope he can make an immediate impact at the midfield. He’s spent time at both attack and middie during his college career at Fairfield and Utah so expect Coach BJ O’Hara to use him all over the field, much like former Lizard Kevin Crowley was used last season. It’d be unreasonable to expect Burke to fill in seamlessly for the veteran Crowley, but if Burke can produce on a consistent basis, the Lizards could surprise a lot of teams.

Order Major League Life: Why Major League Lacrosse Players, Coaches, and Fans Share a Passion for a League that Often Goes Overlooked

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Hutton Jackson is a professional video editor, co-founder/host of Pro Lacrosse Talk and editor-in-chief of Lacrosse Playground. He is also an Emmy-winning associate producer with two major sports networks and oversees Lacrosse Playground's video content as the head coordinating producer. Hutton played four years of college lacrosse at DeSales University where his highest lacrosse accolade was being named to Inside Lacrosse's 2014 All-Name Team with current pros Challen Rogers, Deemer Class and Larken Kemp, an honor that didn't require stepping on the field. When he's not writing on lacrosse, he can usually be found diving around the crease in your local men's league and ranting about Baltimore and D.C. professional sports.

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