Three Anne Arundel County residents and five members of the Chesapeake Bayhawks have been selected to represent the United States in the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships, which begin July 10 in Denver.
US Lacrosse announced the final 23-man roster on Monday after head coach Richie Meade and staff cut eight players following training camp sessions last week in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Two of the county natives chosen - South River High graduate Michael Evans and Severna Park High product Dan Burns - play for the Bayhawks. Mitch Belisle, another Severna Park alum now playing for the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse, also made the team.
All three Anne Arundel representatives are making their first appearance with Team USA.
"Obviously, I'm very excited and honored to have the opportunity to represent my country," said Evans, a two-time first team All-American who received the Schmeisser Award as the nation's top defenseman his senior season (2009) at Johns Hopkins University. "I'm anxious to get out to Colorado and do whatever I can to help the U.S. win another world title."
Belisle joins Evans as one of six long poles picked for the squad. A first team All-American and another former Schmeisser Award winner (2007), Belisle works as Director of Marketing for Trilogy Lacrosse.
Burns, one of two short stick defensive midfielders named to Team USA, has come a long way since failing to receive a single Division I scholarship coming out of high school. He went to Maryland on the advice of Severna Park High head coach Jimmy Beardmore with a strong recommendation from his father - Hall of Famer Buddy Beardmore.
"From walk-on to world team... it's kind of incredible when you look back on it," Burns said when contacted by The Capital on Monday. "If Buddy and Jimmy Beardmore had not pushed me to attend Maryland and convinced me I could play at that level, I wouldn't be where I am today. I think about all the great coaches I've had along the way... this is a day that I'm thankful to all the people who provided help and support during my lacrosse career."
Other Bayhawks to make the cut from 31 to 23 are attackman Brendan Mundorff, short stick defensive midfielder Matt Abbott and defenseman Jesse Bernhardt.
"We're extremely proud that five players from our Bayhawks family have reached the pinnacle of the sport," Chesapeake president and head coach Dave Cottle said. "All those guys have worked very hard to put themselves in position to earn a spot on the national team. It's a very rigorous process and you have to prove yourself repeatedly in order to be selected."
Mundorf, a former MLL Most Valuable Player while with the Denver Outlaws, will make his second straight appearance at the FIL World Championships after leading Team USA in scoring in 2010. The left-hander out of Mount St. Joseph and UMBC has been hobbled by a nagging knee injury, but still leads the Bayhawks with 23 points on 17 goals and six assists.
"Brendan is one of the most dangerous dodgers in the game and a proven goal-scorer," Cottle said. "I was worried that Brendan might not make it because he missed most of the tryouts with the injury. Fortunately, Brendan has proven himself over the years."
Abbott, a former Syracuse All-American, leads Chesapeake with 27 ground balls and also has contributed seven points despite playing primarily a defensive role.
"Matt is the best transition player in the country. He's great at getting the ball off the ground and is outstanding at going from defense to offense due to his exceptional speed," Cottle said.
Bernhardt, a first team All-American as a senior at Maryland, has quickly established himself as one of the top defenseman in Major League Lacrosse as a second-year professional. The 6-foot, 200-pound Florida native is second on the Bayhawks with 25 ground balls and has contributed three points in clearing situations.
"You ask anyone on our team and they will tell you that Jesse Bernhardt has been the MVP of the Bayhawks this season," Cottle said. "Jesse is just a phenomenal defenseman who does everything well. He can play pole or close, cover a middie or an attacker. He's a tremendous athlete with great stickwork and is highly intelligent in terms of understanding defensive schemes."
Chesapeake also had two of its players - rookie defenseman Jason Noble and veteran midfielder David Earl - make Team Canada. Cottle is hopeful of having all seven of the World games participants available for Friday afternoon's Fourth of July contest at the Ohio Machine. Major League Lacrosse is taking the following week off so as not to conflict with the FIL World Championships, but the Bayhawks will not have any of the Team USA or Team Canada players for its July 17 home game against the Rochester Rattlers.
TEAM USA ROSTER
(Name, current team, college; * indicates previous Team USA member)
Ned Crotty, New York Lizards, Duke*; Marcus Holman, Ohio Machine, North Carolina; Kevin Leveille, Rochester Rattlers, Massachusetts; Brendan Mundorf, Chesapeake Bayhawks, UMBC*; Rob Pannell, New York Lizards, Cornell; Garrett Thul, Florida Launch/Philadelphia Wings, Army
Matt Abbott, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Syracuse; Kevin Buchanan, Boston Cannons, Ohio State; Dan Burns, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Maryland; Kyle Harrison, Ohio Machine, Johns Hopkins*; David Lawson, Rochester Rattlers, Duke; Paul Rabil, Boston Cannons, Johns Hopkins*; Max Seibald, New York Lizards/Philadelphia Wings, Cornell*
Mitch Belisle, Boston Cannons, Cornell; Jesse Bernhardt, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Maryland; Tucker Durkin, Florida Launch, Johns Hopkins; Michael Evans, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Johns Hopkins; Kyle Hartzell, New York Lizards, Salisbury; Lee Zink, Denver Outlaws, Maryland
Drew Adams, New York Lizards, Penn State; Jesse Schwartzman, Denver Outlaws, Johns Hopkins
Chris Eck, Boston Cannons, Colgate; Greg Gurenlian, New York Lizards, Penn StateCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun