New York Lizards 2019 Season Preview
The New York Lizards are ready for a new season and a fresh start after a semifinal loss in the MLL Playoffs last year. With some new faces, new coach and new GM the Lizards would love to win their first championship since 2015.
The MLL as a whole is in a transitioning phase, as the Ohio Machine, Florida Launch and Charlotte Hounds have ceased operations and the league has re-taken broadcasting rights to better streamline their rights. The Lizards are now just one of six teams and with the new Premier Lacrosse League, have a fresh group of faces both on the field and in the office ready to succeed on Long Island.
Gone is Joe Spallina, but not due to lack of success. The longtime Lizards coach left his position as Head Coach to become General Manager. Spallina headed the search for a coach and came across one of the most successful in MLL history.
B.J. O’Hara left his post with the Denver Outlaws to join Spallina and the Lizards. The tandem creates one of the most interesting dynamics in lacrosse and a lot of knowledge and success to go around. O’Hara is a four-time champion, most recently with the Outlaws last season. He brings a pedigree of winning and will make sure the Lizards are ready for the beginning of the season.
With the PLL coming to fruition, gone are some major stars from the team. PLL Founder Paul Rabil is obviously gone, as is Kyle Hartzell, Brendan Fowler and Will Manny and Drew Adams just to name a few. However, the Lizards have some serious young talent that can re-tool the roster quickly.
Some of the new faces include Attackman Dylan Molloy, Goalie Brian Corrigan, Midfielder Steven Romano, Midfielder Kevin Crowley and Midfielder Brian Von Bargen. Crowley is the standout of this group as he is a two-time All-Star and the MVP of the 2013 MLL season.
Returning to the team are former MVP Rob Pannell, Justin Reh, Nicky Galasso, Jack Carrigan and Mike Unterstein. Pannell leads an extremely talented front four and Carrigan will most likely be the stalwart of the defense.
The expectations are very high for this team. After losing in the playoffs to Dallas last season, they need to at least make some noise in this year’s playoffs. This team is too talented to not compete for a title and with new and old leadership manning the ship, the Lizards will have every opportunity to succeed.
Rob Pannell will be the face of this team, but look for guys like Kevin Crowley and Justin Reh to make their marks early in the season. If the Lizards can get off to a hot start, anything is possible in a six team league.
The Lizards start off their season on Friday, May 31st with all day festivities for the Lizards and their fans. Highlighting the festivities is the inaugural Town Cup, which is a tournament played between the top 5th-8th grade teams on Long Island. The Lizards’ first game will be later that night, 7:30 PM, against the Denver Outlaws. The game will take place in Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University.