By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/8/11
Athan Iannucci says he has experienced the absolute highs and lowest of lows during the past three years of his professional lacrosse career.
The Philadelphia Wings standout forward was the National Lacrosse League Most Valuable Player in his second season back in 2008. He set the league record for goals with 71 and won the league’s Player of the month award three out of the four times it was awarded.
But since then, not much has gone right for the Hofstra graduate and native of New Westminster, British Columbia.
In the following summer, Iannucci suffered a tear of the dreaded anterior cruciate ligament and in 2009 he played in only 10 games. He was never full strength and was limited to 23 goals. He learned that his ACL had re-dissolved into the body and he continued to play outdoor lacrosse in the summer.
Finally, Iannucci had another major surgery to have the ACL rebuilt, causing him to missed all of 2010 when the Wings fell to last place in the East Division with a 5-11 record.
But now he is back and feeling like the old Iannucci, a 6-4, 225-pounder who became the most feared offensive player in indoor lacrosse.
“I have been dealing with it,” said Iannucci, who will lead the Wings into their 25th season tonight when they open at the Wells Fargo Center against the Boston Blazers at 7 p.m. “If anyone has a serious injury, they know the frustration. It can be a trying sort of journey – to go from at the highest of highs and then to the lowest of lows.
“I have been crawling my way back and I’ve been playing the last couple weeks with no reservations, feeling good and going to the net hard. I have felt great.”
Iannucci said another he feels so good is the revamped Wings lineup. the squad has 14 new players and a brand new offense under new Offensive Coordinator Blane Harrison, prompting Iannucci to believe the team’s fortunes have turned.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Iannucci said. “Out of any of the years I played, this definitely is by far the best team for chemistry and atmosphere. It’s a good group of guys that want to go to battle and work hard for each other. Skill-wise, too, I think we really have a good mix.”
Iannucci is confident the Wings will be a challenger in the NLL this year.
“What sort of characterizes us is that we have really good sticks and everyone is looking to include everyone else,” he said. “They are all unselfish in moving the ball and working for each other. That’s a big X-factor.
“We had the worst season in Wings history last year and that’s not something anyone wants to remember us by. We’re taking the little things one step at a time and hoping to make every shift count. We’ll see where the chips fall, but I think we’ll be happy with the result.”