About Major League Lacrosse
Major League Lacrosse is comprised of six teams across the United States and Canada. The vision of the MLL began back in 1998 with the founder of “Body By Jake,” Jake Steinfeld. After reading a magazine article about a lacrosse equipment manufacturing company, Steinfeld sought to create a league. That owner of the lacrosse equipment business was a man by the name of Dave Morrow, and his business’ name was Warrior. The vision of these two men became a reality during a Summer Showcase in July, 2000, as they tapped into the growth of field lacrosse as a sport in the United States. Inspired by the success of this showcase, the MLL launched its first season the following summer. The league is currently a six team league, with each club playing 12 games in the season. At the end of the season, the playoff teams play for the prestigious Steinfeld Cup, named in honor of the league’s founder, Jake Steinfeld.
For more information on Major League Lacrosse, along with its teams, sponsors and vision, click here.
Who are the Long Island Lizards?
The Long Island Lizards are one of the three original MLL franchises along with the Boston Cannons and Chesapeake Bayhawks. The organization is based in Hempstead, New York, where it has become an active member of the community. The Lizards have, through the years, assembled teams with many of the top players in the world, including many born and raised in Long Island. Long Island has established a winning tradition, taking home the prestigious Steinfeld Cup twice.
2001 MLL Championship
The inaugural season of Major League Lacrosse was dominated by Coach John DeTomasso and his Long Island Lizards. The Lizards were an offensive machine in 2001, scoring a league-best 244 goals and finishing with the division’s best record at 10-4, with a 7 game lead over Boston for the American Division. The Lizards dropped their first game in franchise history against the Baltimore Bayhawks 16-13. After jumping out to a quick 5-2 lead, the Lizards would fall behind, as Tom Marechek led his squad back, scoring 6 goals in the win. However, this loss was just one of the few for Long Island, whose offense could not be tamed in the end. Casey Powell emerged as one of the true leaders for this squad, scoring 30 goals and 22 assists, as he led the team in points with 53. Terry Riordan and Gary Gait also fueled the attack for the Lizards, scoring 36 goals and 30 goals, respectively. When the playoffs rolled around, the Gait brothers would be instrumental, as their combined five goals helped Long Island come back and defeat Rochester in the 13-12 OT thriller. It would be Paul Gait who provided the heroics, as he caught a pass from Powell and fired it into the lower left corner of the cage past Brian Dougherty, sending the Lizards to the first MLL Championship game. After being named the Bud Light MVP of Long Island’s semifinal game, Paul Gait would then continue his spectacular play at Kennedy Stadium, scoring seven goals and one assist in the Championship Game against Baltimore, as Long Island avenged its two regular season losses to the Bayhawks. Sal LoCascio saved 19 shots in the game, helping to slow down the lethal Baltimore attack.
2003 MLL Championship
The Lizards and Bayhawks entered the 2003 MLL Season as the only two teams to ever make the Steinfeld Cup and the only two teams to have won. With the score set at 1-1 for MLL Championships, Long Island looked to rebound after a crushing defeat to their rivals in 2002. Before the season even began, the Lizards made t heir biggest splash, acquiring the Virginia Mountaineer great, Jay Jalbert, from the New Jersey Pride. Jay Jalbert would go on to have one of the finest seasons in MLL history, with a Lizards’ high 32 goals and 47 points. Not only was he a force offensively, but he also proved to be the defensive force that Long Island needed, as he forced numerous turnovers and picked up a Lizards’ single season record 105 groundballs. For his tremendous all-around season, Jalbert was named the 2003 Bud Light MVP. The Lizards also went out and got Brian Dougherty from Rochester. Dougherty, as he had in two prior seasons with Rochester, held the lowest Goals Against Average for Long Island at a mere 12.87. He also led the league in Save % and Wins. With such great additions, the Long Island Lizards easily won the division with a 10-3 record. The Lizards proceeded to win their semifinal matchup against Boston, as Tim Goettelmann’s 5 goals gave them an easy 20-14 win. The final would be a familiar one, as Long Island faced off with Baltimore for the third straight year, this time in Villanova, PA. After a deadlock in the first half, Long Island jumped out to a 10-8 lead going into the 4th. Despite Dougherty’s 9 saves in the 4th, however, Baltimore tied it up before the end of regulation, as former Lizard Gary Gait led all players with 6 goals. Just as quickly as the overtime started, however, Long Island found themselves back on top of the MLL, as Jay Jalbert set up teammate Kevin Lowe for the game-winning goal. The win marks the first MLL Championship to ever be decided in OT, as it goes down as the greatest game in Long Island Lizards’ history.