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Maryland schools well represented in MLL draft

Nikko Pontrello was selected

Nikko Pontrello was selected eighth overall by the Denver Outlaws.

Of the 60 players selected in the MLL collegiate draft, 10 players played at a local college program. Powerhouse programs Johns Hopkins and Maryland each saw three of their players drafted while Loyola and Division III power Stevenson each had two players get their names called.

Loyola forward Nikko Pontrello was selected with the eighth overall pick and final selection of the first round, by the Denver Outlaws. Pontrello scored 51 goals last season with 12 assists. As a junior, Pontrello earned a USILA All-America Honorable Mention and is a preseason All-America Second Team pick coming into this season.

Pontrello joins Josh Hawkins, Mike Sawyer and Joe Fletcher as first round draft picks to play for the Greyhounds. Hawkins was selected fifth overall last year by the Hamilton Nationals and Sawyer was taken three picks later by the Charlotte Hounds. Fletcher was the third overall pick in 2013 by the New York Lizards.

Joining Pontrello as a selection from Loyola was defender Pat Frazier, who was taken in the fifth round, 33rd overall, by the Florida Launch. Frazier is a preseason All-American Honorable Mention. Last year the North Bethesda native who graduated high school from Georgetown Prep, started all 17 of the Greyhounds games and scooped up 27 ground balls and caused 15 turnovers.

Though they were shutout of the first round Johns Hopkins saw two players get drafted in the second round. Defender Michael Pellegrino was taken 10th overall by the Lizards and Wells Stanwick was selected 12th overall by the Boston Cannons. Pellegrino is one of the top long-stick midfielders in the country. Last year he was a Second Team USILA All-American after finishing with 27 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers. He also scored three goals and has two assists.

Stanwick, who like his well-known lacrosse family, went to Boy Latin before joining the Blue Jays. As a junior, the attack started 16 games games and showed his tremendous skills as a facilitator, finishing with 44 assists to go with 23 goals. He also scooped up 27 ground balls.

John Kelly was the third Blue Jay to get drafted. The Sandy Spring native who went to the Bullis School, started 15 games on close defense last year and recorded 38 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers. He was taken 53rd overall with the first pick in the eighth round by the Hounds.

Two Terps got selected by the brand new Florida Launch franchise. Midfielder Joe LoCascio started all of his team’s 17 games last year and ended with 20 goals and five assists. He was taken in the third round with the 18th pick. Eighth round draft pick Casey Ikeda was taken 5th overall. He started as both a sophomore an junior. Last year, he finished with 29 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers. Face-off specialist Charlie Raffa was a Second Team All-American and All-ACC player last year as he won 194 of his 283 faceoff attempts as a junior. For his career, Raffa has won over 60-percent of his challenges at the X. Last year he was over 68-percent. He recorded 114 ground balls ad also finished with five goals each of the past two seasons. He was selected 24th overall and will be staying local with the Chesapeake Bayhawks.

Division III power Stevenson also saw two players get drafted. Australian defender Callum Robinson was a USILA Second Team All-American last year and finished with 74 ground balls and 36 caused turnovers. He was selected one spot after Raffa, also by the Bayhawks. His college teammate Tony Rossi, was the Bayhawks eighth round pick. The Calvert Hall alum was a Third Team USILA All-American after scoring 36 goals with 22 assists. He also scooped up 23 ground balls and caused seven turnovers.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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