Wings star Brendan Mundorf leads Outlaws into MLL semifinal

Denver attack Brendan Mundorf helped guide the Outlaws to a 14-0 record - Major League Lacrosse's first unbeaten regular season.
Denver attack Brendan Mundorf helped guide the Outlaws to a 14-0 record - Major League Lacrosse's first unbeaten regular season. (         TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 25, 2013

Denver Outlaws attack Brendan Mundorf raised his black right glove and circled his index finger before walking toward the middle of PPL Park without saying much.

He was indicating it was time to wrap up a passing drill.

As he slowly walked away, his teammates took some final shots before following him and moving on to another drill.

The same way he leads at practice, Mundorf helped guide Denver to a 14-0 record - Major League Lacrosse's first unbeaten regular season.

The Outlaws face the Charlotte Hounds at 1. p.m. in Saturday's semifinal at PPL Park and Mundorf is focused on winning his first championship.

"I feel lucky and fortunate to have been in the playoffs every year and have a chance to win the championship," Mundorf said. "We're trying to get the next win, and that's our main goal."

Mundorf was MLL's most valuable player in 2012 after scoring 32 goals and dishing out 27 assists in 12 games. But he tore ligaments in his left ankle in practice a day before the playoffs began and required surgery after the season.

He missed the semifinal and was severely limited in the final, which Denver lost to the Chesapeake Bayhawks, 16-6.

"It means a lot to be healthy," said Mundorf, who missed three games this season but scored 23 goals and finished 10th in the league with 41 points. "Making it through the season to this point is big for us."

"Brendan's great when there's nothing on the line," Denver coach Jim Stagnitta said. "I'm looking forward to watching him play when there's something on the line."

The 29-year-old Mundorf has been with Denver since its inception in 2006. While the Outlaws have made the four-team playoffs in each of their eight seasons, they have never won the championship.

Mundorf, in a plain gray shirt that differed from his teammates' bright orange practice jerseys and simple white cleats, was quiet and focused throughout practice a day before the semifinal.

"He's so focused," Stagnitta said. "He leads by example. He doesn't tell anyone to do anything that he's not doing himself."

"I just try to lead with my actions on the field," Mundorf said.

When the MLL is out of season, Mundorf plays with the National Lacrosse League's Wings. While he does not expect much fan overlap or any advantage playing in the Philadelphia area, he is excited that friends and family can travel from his native Baltimore to watch him play.

"They only get a couple chances per year to watch," Mundorf said. "It will be cool to play in front of some family and friends."

Chesapeake will play the Hamilton Nationals at 4 p.m. at PPL Park in the other semifinal. The winners of the two games will play for the MLL championship at 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available at majorleaguelacrosse.com or by calling ComcastTix at 800-298-4200.


MLL Semifinals at PPL Park

Here is a look at the Major League Lacrosse championship semifinals scheduled for Saturday at PPL Park in Chester. The championship game is 3 p.m. Sunday at PPL Park.

Game 1: Denver vs. Charlotte, 1 p.m.

TV: ESPN2

DENVER OUTLAWS

Seed: 1

2013 record: 14-0

2013 points scored: 236

2013 points allowed: 139

Head coach: Jim Stagnitta (second year)

Postseason record: 4-7 (.364 pct.)

Postseason appearances: 8

Title game appearances: 4

Steinfeld Cups: 0

Notable: The Outlaws recorded the first undefeated season in MLL history this year. . . . Goalie Jesse Schwartzman allowed just 9.67 goals per game to set a MLL record in that category this season. He led the league in nearly all goalie categories, ranking first in goals-against average, save percentage (.597), two-pointers allowed (3), and wins (14). He ranked second with 184 saves.

CHARLOTTE HOUNDS

Seed: 4

2013 record: 7-7

2013 points scored: 193

2013 points allowed: 189

Head coach: Mike Cerino (second year)

Postseason record: 0-0

Postseason appearances: 0

Title game appearances: 0

Steinfeld Cups: 0

Notable: The Hounds are making their first playoff appearance in their second year of existence. They won three of their final four regular-season games, and Matt Danowski leads the team with 49 points and 33 goals.

Game 2: Chesapeake vs. Hamilton, 4 p.m.

TV: CBS Sports Network

CHESAPEAKE BAYHAWKS

Seed: 2

2013 record: 9-5

2013 points scored: 193

2013 points allowed: 156

Head coach: Dave Cottle (Second year)

Postseason record: 11-4

Postseason appearances: 9

Title game appearances: 7

Steinfeld Cups: 4

Notable: The Bayhawks won the title last year and lead all teams with four championships. . . . Attackman Drew Westervelt led the Bayhawks in points (48) and goals (36) this year and set a team single-season record with 10 power-play goals.

HAMILTON NATIONALS

Seed: 3

2013 record: 9-5

2013 points scored: 180

2013 points allowed: 178

Head coach: Dave Huntley (third year)

Postseason record: 3-1 (.750 pct.)

Postseason appearances: 3

Title game appearances: 2

Steinfeld Cups: 1

Notable: Hamilton is 3-0 in the semifinal round. . . . Kevin Crowley set a team record with 55 points this season. He finished tied for the MLL lead in points, was second with 38 goals, and scored a point or more in his last 29 regular-season games.


Major League Lacrosse Championship

Where: PPL Park, Chester.

Semifinals: Saturday, 1 p.m. - Denver Outlaws vs. Charlotte Hounds; 4 p.m. - Chesapeake Bayhawks vs. Hamilton Nationals

Final: Sunday, 3 p.m.


Contact Nick Carroll and ncarroll@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @NickJCarroll.

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