By Nate Puciato
For Major League Lacrosse All-Stars Niko Amato (Chesapeake Bayhawks), Isaiah Davis-Allen (Bayhawks) and Zach Goodrich (Boston Cannons), the MLL All-Star Game being held at Navy Marine-Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md., just makes sense.
Not only will the celebration of the league’s greatest talents be taking place in a hotbed for lacrosse July 27, it will also provide a chance for players to perform in the state where they played collegiately.
Amato, a Conshohocken, Pa., native, was Maryland’s goalie from 2011-2014. He won the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Jr. Award, which recognizes the top goalie in Divisions I, II and III, in 2014. He also became the first Terps goalie to ever earn All-ACC honors four times.
Davis-Allen, a teammate of Amato’s in Annapolis with the Bayhawks, also spent his college career with the Terps. The defensive midfielder was a two-time team captain and first-team USILA All-American. The midfielder also earned college lacrosse’s 2017 Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes significant contributions on the field and in the classroom.
Goodrich, much like Amato and Davis-Allen, was a highly-regarded local college player. He played 67 games for Towson from 2016-2019, and the defensive midfielder also was the program’s first-ever two-time USILA first-team All-American.
For all three of these players, hosting the All-Star game in the heart of lacrosse country couldn’t be more exciting.
“It’s really awesome,” Amato said on Glenn Clark Radio July 22. “Playing college lacrosse at Maryland is one of the greatest experiences you can have as a lacrosse player, and something I looked forward to since I was a kid.”
“Being named an All-Star this year is quite the honor. Obviously, it’s 42 of the best lacrosse players in the world on one field, so that’s always exciting, and to be able to do that in the state where I played lacrosse … it’s really quite an honor,” Amato added.
Despite the fact that his time with Maryland had ended in 2014, he still very clearly felt the excitement of the team’s 2017 national championship run, describing it as a “program win.” It was the Terps’ first championship since 1975.
“That senior class with Isaiah Davis-Allen, Nick Manis, Colin Heacock, all those guys were freshmen my senior year … I was really happy for those guys to be able to do it for the program,” Amato said.
“As soon as that game ended I actually ended up getting a phone call and a voicemail from Nick Manis just saying how he thanked us for all the Terps coming before him and how it was a true program win,” Amato added.
As Amato mentioned, one such Terp who was on the team during the national championship run is current Bayhawks teammate Davis-Allen. Amato and Davis-Allen have the Bayhawks sitting in third place in MLL with a 4-3 record.
However, while there is a lot to focus on now, Davis-Allen can still find time to fondly look back upon the 2017 championship run that ended a 42-year title drought for the Maryland men’s lacrosse program. Maryland lost in the championship game in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016 prior to breaking through.
“I mean, it was real special,” Davis-Allen said July 18. “I remember the year prior, my junior year in 2016, losing in overtime, and that was a really crushing loss for everyone. … To finally get over that hump was real special for everyone that has played at Maryland, but for our state as well.”
Davis-Allen, a Springfield, Va., native, has slowly come to accept that Maryland has become home for him, as he attributes this change in heart to his time spent within the Old Line State.
“I consider myself a Maryland guy now,” Davis-Allen said. “For me, it’s all about state pride. We claim to be the best at playing the sport, so I’m trying to prove it.”
Meanwhile, Goodrich, a Stevensville, Md., native, will be making his first appearance at the MLL All-Star Game as a rookie after being selected No. 3 overall by the Boston Cannons in the 2019 MLL Draft. Goodrich caused 65 turnovers during his time with Towson, which ties him for fourth in program history.
Much like Davis-Allen and Amato, Goodrich is excited about such a great event being held within a hotbed of lacrosse, especially considering it’s only a short drive away from where he calls home.
“Just being able to play the game in Annapolis, which is 15 minutes from my hometown on Kent Island, it’s amazing,” Goodrich said July 15. “I’ll have hometown fans there, I’ll have family there, and just being able to play in Maryland where I played my four years in college, and my four years in high school before that, it’s just an awesome opportunity.”
For more from Amato, listen to the full interview here:
For more from Davis-Allen, listen to the full interview here:
For more from Goodrich, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Boston Cannons