August 24, 2013

Snider's Faceoff Prowess Turns Tables on Denver

by Phil Shore | | Twitter | Live Blog Replay

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CHESTER, Pa. -- Time and time again this season Charlotte Hounds head coach Mike Cerino talked about how a hot faceoff guy would help the team build momentum.

In the Saturday's Major League Lacrosse semifinal matchup against Denver he got just that. Geoff Snider's stellar performance helped propel Charlotte's 17-14 upset win over the previously-undefeated Denver Outlaws at PPL Park.

Charlotte faceoff man Geoff Snider came up big in just his third game of the season, winning 17 of 25 faceoffs to help the Hounds upset Denver 17-14 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
© Kevin P. Tucker

"What he is is a winner most of all," Cerino said. "He's going to find a way to help his team no matter what it takes."

Snider had only played two games this season due to injury and only played in one last season. His semifinal performance showed no signs of rust, however.

Against a Denver team with the third-highest faceoff winning percentage this season, Snider went 17-for-25. He also scored Charlotte's final goal of the game, putting the icing on the cake of the three-goal upset.

"Hard work," Snider responded when asked what the game plan was for the game. "They're a really, really talented team. Very well coached. We just had to come out and work hard."

While most players need a couple games to shake the rust off, that wasn't the case for Snider. He said he always wants to play but the time off wasn't wasted.

"I was fresh. I've been training all year long. I haven't really stopped," he said. "I had a bad elbow. I've been staying fit. I got healthy. It was nice to get out here and compete."

It wasn't just Snider that was effective facing off. Tim Fallon went 5-7 on faceoffs and Cerino altered personnel on the wing. Denver was only 10-for-32 facing off.

"We went double pole a lot up there," Cerino said. "Ryan Flanagan, Mason Poli and Mike McCormack ... came up there and made a lot of big plays."

Snider and the faceoff unit's heroics could not come at a better time or against a better opponent. With the win, the Hounds thwarted Denver's attempt at not only its first MLL championship, but at a perfect season.

Hounds midfielder Peet Poillon, acquired during the offseason in a trade with the Outlaws, knows just how good Denver is and what was needed to beat them.

"They had a hell of a season. It was a historic season for them," he said. "It's just one of those things. Anything can happen in the playoffs. We took advantage of that. It was a lot of fun."

Cerino had said earlier in the week that while Denver deserved a lot of credit for what they had done this season he liked to think his team would be an equally tough opponent to face.

Snider, Fallon, Poillon and the rest of Charlotte's squad helped prove their coach right.

"I've been fortunate enough to play for great teams and come to this weekend multiple times out of my career," Snider said. "It's just an honor to be out here representing some of the best lacrosse players and lacrosse teams in the world and just proud to be out here with a great group of guys."

Snider doesn't have much playing time in the past two seasons, but with the FIL World Championships coming up in 2014 he may have had some extra motivation to look good in order to claim a spot for Canada's team.

"Obviously it's the greatest honor in sports to represent your country and building towards a solid camp in October and preparing to represent that group and show well in that tryout," Snider said. "But right now the focus is here with Charlotte."

Cerino would give Snider a ringing endorsement after the game.

"We sent him out there to try and win a face off in the last couple minutes of the game," he said. "You know he's going to find a way to come up with it."

Snider's strong game was needed to take down a Denver Outlaws team that could have been the best MLL has ever seen in 13 years of the league. It's the Hounds who advance and will look to win a championship in only the franchise's second year of existence.

"You get out what you put in," Snider said. "We're a blue-collar team. We're a gritty team. We're going to come out here and work hard and run our system that the coaches put in front of us and keep going and hopefully come together for the championship game."

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