At the Major League Lacrosse Championships on August 8, the New York Lizards reclaimed the Steinfeld Cup for the first time in 12 years. The Lizards overpowered the Rochester Rattlers in the final game in Atlanta despite leading only once.
“For as long as I can remember I have been a New York Lizards fan, waiting after games to see Brian Spallina and all the other players. Since I have started playing this game I have played for one reason, to WIN and to do so at the highest level. Now I finally have my first championship with the team I grew up dreaming to play for!” Rob Pannell wrote on Instagram after the Lizards’ championship victory.
The Major League Lacrosse Championships Are Ours
The Lizards, the league’s regular season champions, trailed the Rattlers for most of the title game. After Pannell tied the contest at 8 in the third, the Lizards gained momentum. Ultimately, the team was led by Paul Rabil, the Lizards big off-season acquisition. He contributed three goals and three assists to be named the 2015 MLL Championship Coca-Cola Most Valuable Player.
Rabil Looks Back on Lizards Ride to the Top
Whether they were in Atlanta or on Long Island, Lizards fans posted support for their favorite team all over social media. One fan wrote on Facebook: “Congratulations to my team the New York Lizards for winning the MLL Championship beating the Rochester Rattlers 15-12 on Sat. August 8th. WE ARE THE CHAMPS!”
The victory was particularly sweet for fan-favorite Greg “Beast” Gurenlian. Although he has been dominant at the face off his whole career, this victory gave Beast his first championship at any level. “I’ll be on cloud nine for weeks,” he told Lax Magazine. Gurenlian was also named the 2015 Major League Lacrosse Coca-Cola MVP, the 2015 USL/MLL Sportsmanship Player of the Year and the 2015 Face Off Academy’s Athlete of the Year.
Beast Shows Softer Side
On the other hand, winning the Major League Lacrosse Championships was familiar territory for others like defenseman Brian Spallina, who now has won seven Major League Lacrosse Championships, and long stick midfielder Kyle Hartzell, who holds lacrosse titles at every level of play.
All season, the Lizards coaches, including Head Coach Joe Spallina, Associate Head Coach Keith Cromwell and Defensive Coordinator Steve Duffy, directed an all-star cast to perform as one. Pannell, who contributed 30 assists in the regular season, passed a bit of credit to his fans in a comment on Instagram: “Still so stoked! Thanks to all the great fans who came out to the game on Saturday and a huge thanks to the New York fans who were there all season long!”
2015 MLL Championship Game Highlights