Editor’s note: The MLL Philly Player of the Week will appear regularly as the region gears for the MLL Championship Weekend, presented by Smartlink, at PPL Park on Saturday and Sunday August 24-25. Tickets for the two-day event are available at MajorLeagueLacrosse.com/championship-weekend/
By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/6/13
Poli, making his professional debut, picked up a goal and three groundballs in helping the Hounds defeat the New York Lizards, 14-12, and improve to 2-3.
For Poli it was a perfect opening day. Drafted in the fourth round (27th pick) of the MLL draft in January, he was fresh off a season that saw his Bryant Bulldogs advance to the NCAA tournament by winning the Northeast Conference title following an 0-7 start. Poli was named a USILA Honorable Mention All-American after collecting 14 goals and eight assists as well as 35 groundballs and 13 caused turnovers.
“It was a great way to end my college career,” he said of the trip to the NCAAs where Bryant fell to eventual finalist Syracuse, 12-7, in the first round. “We end up with a loss, but after going from 0-7 to being in the tournament, it was great.
“Now I am starting over again. It was a big win. We have a great group of guys and hopefully we can make a run in this as well.”
Poli had stamped himself as an offensive threat in college. He was happy to get his first professional goal so quickly.
“I was happy to get it over with so early,” he said. “Warming up, all the guys said, ‘Go to goal.” I had to do my thing. Getting to this level, this was a way to get the nerves out.”
Poli – who played on Downingtown East’s 2007 state title team and also played for the Duke’s Lacrosse Club – said the transition to the MLL game is not easy.
“The biggest difference is the depth,” he said. “In college you have three or four or five guys to get the ball to. Now, anybody I can give it to anybody on the field and they can make a play.
“We have a lot of new guys coming in. Guys with obligations are back and hopefully we can put it together and build off last week.”
Poli said his experience at Bryant has prepared him for the pro game.
“I was a close defenseman and I loved groundballs and the transition game and coach (Mike) Pressler saw that and made me a pole. I had the stickwork; coach (Tom) Slate always had us doing 4 on 3’s (at Downingtown East) and I had the confidence. We were always pushing transition so it worked out pretty well.”
Poli would love to play in the MLL Championship Week at PPL Park.
“We have a great roster,” he said. “We just have to play together and maybe we can make it to PPL Park. It’s a great venue.”
Tags: Downingtown East