By Jillian Fay | 8/30/13 9:48 AM
Several Hounds players will be in Baltimore, Md., this weekend to try out for the U.S. Men’s National Team, which will defend its world title at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships on July 10-19, 2014, in Denver, Colo. Tryouts will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Goucher College. A total of 98 players were invited to tryout, but after some withdrawals it appears there will be closer to 93 players competing for 46 roster spots. That will give head coach Richie Meade and staff two teams worth of players to evaluate through January's Champion Challenge, the annual US Lacrosse event in Florida. Final cuts for the 23-man roster will be made after that.
Nine Hounds received invitations, including Matt Danowski and Ryan Young at attack, Peet Poillon and Mike Sawyer at midfield, Kevin Drew and Chris Schiller at short-stick defensive midfield, Ryan Flanagan and Brett Schmidt at defense, and Adam Ghitelman at goalie. However, Poillon -- the Hounds’ third leading scorer with 35 points (25-5-5) in 2013 -- has withdrawn from the tryout in order to focus on his new assistant coaching position at Hobart College.
Ghitelman was the Hounds’ rock in cage, posting a 12.13 goals against average and 50.9 save percentage through 15 games including the postseason. He was aided in front by Flanagan and Schmidt, both 2013 MLL All-Stars. Schmidt led the defense with 45 groundballs and added 4 points (2-1-1), while Flanagan was right behind him with 43 groundballs and 2 points (2g). Meanwhile, Drew was key to the Hounds’ wing play and transition game. He tallied 25 groundballs and 5 points (2g, 3a). Schiller, who was only able to compete in the first half of the season due to the birth of his twin daughters, recorded six groundballs.
The duo of Danowski and Young carried the Hounds’ offense in 2013, as both players posted career bests in goals and points. The veteran Danowski led the way with 54 points (36-8-10), followed closely by Young with 50 points (36g, 14a). The third-year player earned a 2013 All-Star selection for his breakout season. Also getting the All-Star nod in 2013 was Sawyer. The rookie was shifted from his natural attack position to midfield with the Hounds, but still posted 27 points (20-1-6) in just 13 games.
Schiller is the only Hounds player to have previously represented Team USA, as he was a member of the 2010 squad that won Gold with a 12-10 victory over Canada in Manchester, England. Meanwhile, Danowski this past year has competed in two US Lacrosse exhibitions, including the September 2012 “Duel In Denver” and January 2013 Champion Challenge. Schmidt, Flanagan, Sawyer and Poillon also were participants at the Champion Challenge event.
In addition to those vying for a spot on the U.S. roster, Hounds faceoff specialist Geoff Snider is expected to compete for Team Canada, while short-stick defensive midfielder Casey Cittadino is expected to represent Team Israel.
The Hounds are coming off back-to-back games after playing in MLL Championship weekend, which was held Aug. 24-25 in Philadelphia, Pa. The team in its semifinal on Saturday upset the previously undefeated Outlaws 17-14, before ultimately falling to the Bayhawks 10-9 in the title game. The 2014 season will begin at the end of April, but season tickets available now by calling 704-206-1515 or visiting www.charlottehounds.com/tickets