Photo by Jason Honyotski – UltiPhotos.com
Another MLU season comes to a close with the New York Rumble on the outside looking in. The Rumble finished an overall disappointing year with a 2-8 record at the bottom of the MLU Eastern Conference.
It is rather easy to spot where the Rumble struggled. They had the lowest completion percentage in the league and generated the fewest blocks. New York also had the fewest breaks and led the league in both drops and throwaways.
“It was a similar story to previous seasons where we had great defensive play but those defensive players couldn’t take advantage of those turns and convert the breaks,” explained Robbie Gillies. “On offense, we seemed to get a little stagnant and maybe didn’t take some of the shots downfield we should have.”
New York struggled to find a rhythm throughout most of the season. Injuries and absences plagued the Rumble all year.
“I think the biggest reason for [failed expectations] was a lack of cohesion,” said Gillies. “I bet we had the most absences of players out of any team. It seemed like each week we’d be missing five key guys.”
While the season resulted in another last place finish, there were some bright spots. Chris Kocher made his MLU debut and made a case for himself as Rookie of the Year with an impressive stat line. Kocher racked up 32 points that included 11 goals and 21 assists. Chris Mazur had another impressive season too, finishing tied for 13th in the league for points.
Those two seemed to pace the offense while defensively, Jibran Mieser made his presence known. Mieser was only able to participate in three games this season due to injury but made a name for himself as a shutdown defender. He finished tied 20th in the league for blocks despite playing only 26 total points.
Those two were not the only bright spots of the season however.
“Our stand out moments were obviously coming together to just click against the Philly Spinners,” said Head Coach Anthony Nuñez. “That game showed what as a team we are capable of and how deadly we can be next year.”
This was also a learning experience for several of the other rookies on the squad.
“I honestly think just being around guys like [Joe] Smash, Mazur, Tim [MacGougan], and Muk [Kuzmowycz] helped me improve my game a ton this season,” said rookie Jake Price. “I think I got a couple of very thoughtful gems of advice from each of them on top of the fact that they were always demanding high-level play at practice.”
Charlie Patten already has his mind set on improvements for next season.
“I think we just have to focus on fundamentals and making offense easy on ourselves,” said Patten. “We frequently had execution errors on both the throwing and catching ends of those situations or were forcing very difficult throws that are near impossible to complete on a consistent basis. I think spending more time together in the preseason to iron those things out would be very beneficial.”
The Rumble certainly have their work cut out for them as management begins to prepare for next year. It will be interesting to see if the patience with the younger, developing players pays off.