By Stuart Zaas | 8/23/13 10:15 AM
DENVER – While the Outlaws tied a league record with four individual year-end honors on their way to becoming the first undefeated team in MLL history, no Outlaw took home the most coveted year-end honor – the MVP Award.
That went to Hamilton’s Kevin Crowley, who also won the league’s Offensive Player of the Year Award.
While the fact that an undefeated team didn’t produce the league’s most valuable player might seem like an oversight, those who watched the Outlaws this season shouldn’t be surprised.
Because who is the Outlaws’ most valuable player?
Is it the goalie of the year, Jesse Schwartzman, who set a record for lowest goals-against average in league history and led just about every goalie category this year?
What about the league’s defenseman of the year, Lee Zink, who took opponents’ top attackmen and held them to less than one goal per game?
If you’re looking at the team’s offense that came one goal shy of the league record, you’d turn your attention to Chris Bocklet, who led the league with 42 goals on his way to a new franchise record in that category?
Then there’s the feeder.
Brendan Mundorf, last year’s MVP, played an injury-shortened season but still paced the team and ranked third in the league with 1.6 assists per game.
Transitioning from defense to offense is where the Outlaws were especially dangerous in 2013.
Those unsettled situations were where Drew Snider took advantage in 2013. Sinder was named the league’s most improved player after scoring 21 more goals and 34 more total points than he did his rookie season in 2012. He netted the third-most goals of any midfielder in 2013, coming in right behind the league MVP in Crowley and Boston’s Paul Rabil. Not bad company.
Also lighting up the net this year was Jeremy Sieverts, who ranked third on the team and eighth in the league with 44 points this year. Sieverts made defenses cover all the way out to the two-point arc, where he buried six long-distance shots to tie for second in the league in that category.
There’s six viable MVP candidates right there.
The league’s coaches and general managers thought so too as each of those six players received votes on the MVP ballot. Only 10 players earned MVP votes and more than half of them came from Denver. If you add the votes up, Denver received two first-place, 11 second-place and seven third-place votes.
If an opponent gameplanned around shutting down one offensive option, there were five others to step up and find the back of the net.
If an opposing offensive player beat his Outlaws defender, Schwartzman was there to make the save.
And that’s why the Outlaws were so successful in 2013.
The unselfish, team-first culture installed by General Manager Tony Seaman and 2013 MLL Coach of the Year Jim Stagnitta has resulted in a roster that has put together a league-best 25-3 (.893 pct.) record over the past two seasons.
The fact that an Outlaw didn’t win the MVP award isn’t surprising.
It’s the reason the team became the first in league history to finish a regular season undefeated.