Author’s Note: The Launch are locked into the 3rd place finish we predicted last week after the results of the last weekend around the league. The team will be travelling to either Ohio or Denver for the semifinal game. If Ohio loses Saturday it means they will host the Launch and the same occurs if both Denver and Ohio win. If Ohio wins and Denver loses we will be travelling to Denver. Frankly, if Denver loses I’d rather be going there to play the semifinal since Denver has struggled some more down the stretch than Ohio has. Either way, the Launch are looking at putting together a watch party for the semifinal game and we will help keep you up to date on those plans!
For the first time in franchise history, the Florida Launch have secured a playoff berth in a thrilling 18-17 road victory against the Boston Cannons.
After losing to the Cannons in their season opener, the Launch evened the series in a redemption match at Harvard Stadium. With a six-goal scoring run to kick off the game, the Launch took off, going on three separate goal-scoring runs in the first half to give them a solid eight goal lead.
“I thought we did a great job moving the ball, really playing team ball, being unselfish,” said coach Tom Mariano at halftime.
In an effort to stifle the Launch’s offensive onslaught, the Cannons retaliated with an 11 goal run to start the second, evening the score at 16 late in the fourth quarter. But, the Launch’s playoff push could not be silenced, as scoring efforts from Kieran McArdle (4G, 4A) and Nick Mariano (3G) quickly ended the Cannons only lead of the game. McArdle’s eight point performance earned him Coca-Cola Player of the Game honors.
“We needed some plays. He made some plays,” said coach Mariano following the game.
Goalie Austin Kaut, who has been a force in the cage for the Launch all season, tallied 15 saves on 31 shots. Kaut’s regular season performance has earned him the third spot on the all-time single season record list with 256 saves. He finishes the regular season as the league leader in saves.
“We know we just have to focus on us,” said McArdle, “I think we’re in a good spot right now. I think we can clean up a few things, but overall, we’re rolling, and we’re going into the playoffs.”
The Launch return to action on August 12 in their first ever playoff appearance. For up to the minute news, visit floridalaunchlacrosse.com.