By Molly Shunney | 8/6/14 2:00 PM
With the post-season just around the corner, the MLL is preparing to announce awards for the 2014 regular season. The Most Improved Player award has been another tough race, as players have been stepping up to help their team. The MIP will be awarded to the player whose skills and impact on the game have progressed the most since last season. Here’s a look at a few of the athletes who have been working hard to step up their game this year.
Jordan Burke – Goalie – Boston Cannons
After a notable 2012 season with the Cannons, goalie Jordan Burke fell into a slump during 2013. He had the most goals against (167) and the lowest save percentage (.504) of his career. Fortunately for Boston, Burke has made quite the turn-around this season. With more playing time than last year, his confidence has certainly risen, as was evident late in the game against Florida when Burke came up with huge saves to help get the Cannons secure the W.
Will Manny – Attack – Boston Cannons
13GP, 32G, 19A
The sophomore attackman is a powerhouse on offense and a consistent goal scorer for the Boston Cannons. He falls right behind teammate Paul Rabil in team points (51) and ranks among the top five in the MLL for points, goals, and assists (51pts, 32g, 19a). During his rookie season with the Cannons, he proved his ability to be a threat on offense, scoring 18 goals and tallying 12 assists in just 10 games. With one season under his belt, he’s built upon his rookie success and continues to exceed expectations. He will have to step up to the plate this weekend against the Rattlers to give Boston a chance to nail a spot in the playoffs.
John Haus – Midfield – Charlotte Hounds
12GP, 21G, 4A
John Haus has had a stellar second season with the Hounds, scoring 21 goals and tallying four assists in his 12 games, putting him 4th on the team in points. During his rookie season, he had only found the net three times in the eight games he saw playing time. Haus seemed hesitant to release the ball last year, with only 14 shots on goal. This year, with newfound confidence, Haus has shot the ball 39 times, a 30% increase in shooting percentage. The 2013 season provided a strong foundation for the Charlotte midfielder, and he has displayed significant improvements this year.
JoJo Marasco – Midfield – New York Lizards
13GP, 20G, 6A
JoJo Marasco is another sophomore player who has shown significant growth. He ended his rookie year with six goals in eight games. This year, with increased shooting percentage, Marasco has nearly tripled his points tally, scoring 20 goals in 12 games, and finding himself third on the team in points (26). He has earned the Coca-Cola Player of the Game title twice this season, clearly increasing his value on the offensive end.
Justin Turri – Midfield, Rochester Rattlers
13GP, 19G, 13A
After shifting around a bit in the MLL, Justin Turri is proving to be a solid offensive addition to the Rochester Rattlers roster. The third-year middie has been a powerhouse around the crease and a consistent scoring leader for the Rattlers all season. Rochester is the fourth team Turri has played for since the Charlotte Hounds drafted him in 2012. In his first two seasons with the MLL, he tallied 24 points in 22 games. Turri has always been a consistent player, but has significantly stepped up this season, finding him self leading the team in points (34) during just 13 games. It’s no doubt he is a breakout star of 2014.