September 4, 2012

Five Things to Watch from Team USA at 'Duel in Denver'

by Corey McLaughlin | | Twitter

Defenseman Nicky Polanco is one of several stars back in the Team USA fold after falling just shy of making the 2010 men's national team.
© John Strohsacker/

It's just what it's called: a duel in Denver. Team USA and Canada square off Saturday (9 p.m. ET) at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., in a prelude to the 2014 FIL World Championships, hosted by US Lacrosse right back at the same venue. The "Duel in Denver" will serve as a lauching point for the selection of the USA's 2014 team.

Here's Team USA's "Duel" roster, and five things to watch when the team takes the field. Check back to this week for more preview coverage and again this weekend for updates from on the ground in Denver.

Attack: Ryan Boyle, Matt Danowski, Steele Stanwick, Drew Westervelt
Matt Abbott, Stephen Berger, Steven Brooks, Ned Crotty, Kyle Dixon, Kyle Harrison, Stephen Peyser, Paul Rabil, Max Seibald, Matt Striebel, Joe Walters
Greg Bice, Matt Bocklet, Joe Cinosky, Michael Evans, Nicky Polanco, Kyle Sweeney, Lee Zink
Drew Adams, Jesse Schwartzman
Faceoff: Greg Gurenlian, Matt Dolente*
*Injury replacement for Chris Eck

Click here to see Canada's roster. To see the matchup in person, general admission tickets are priced at $20 and are available at

1. The Elder Statesmen

Ryan Boyle and Matt Striebel just won't go away, but does anybody really mind? The Princeton alumni, and longtime friends and business partners are the only players on this team to have been members of the last three U.S. men's national teams (2002, '06 and '10). Will they make it four in a row – that's a span of 12 years – in 2014?

2. Welcome Back...

...Kyle Harrison, Nicky Polanco, Matt Danowski and Joe Walters. All of these stars fell just shy of making the 2010 U.S. men's national team, but they are a talented quartet of pro veterans back in the national team fold. Harrison, the former Johns Hopkins star, Polanco, the tough-as-nails Chesapeake Bayhawks defenseman who recently won an Major League Lacrosse title, and Walters (Hamilton Nationals) won silver with the U.S. in 2006.

3. The Stanwick Factor

Looking at the veteran-laden U.S. group, Steele Stanwick's name stands out. The 2011 Tewaaraton Award winner was by three years the youngest player on the team, before Matt Dolente was added to the roster last week to replace the injured Chris Eck. Stanwick is still the only 2012 graduate on the roster. He has already shown he can adjust to the pro game, averaging more than three points per game in his rookie season (seven games) with the MLL's Ohio Machine. It also will be fun to see how Stanwick and Boyle, the MLL's all-time assists leader, interact on and off the field.

4. Who is Team USA's Goalie of the Future?

It already seems like an eternity since Hall of Famer Brian Dougherty retired as a champion between the pipes with the U.S. in 2010. The U.S. will have a new goalie, or two, in 2014 in Denver. For this event, Drew Adams (Long Island Lizards) and Jesse Schwartzman (Denver Outlaws) are on the roster. Both are past MLL goalies of the year, with Adams taking the award in 2011 and again this season.

5. New Coaching Staff's Debut

Team USA's star-studded coaching staff shares the sideline for the first time as a group. Former Navy and current Furman head coach Richie Meade leads the staff, assisted by Kevin Cassese (Lehigh), Dave Pietramala (Johns Hopkins) and Jeff Tambroni (Penn State). No word on if Meade will sport a baseball cap from one of the ships in the Navy fleet, like he did while coaching the Midshipmen.

A version of this article appears in the September issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

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