A day after the University of Denver men’s lacrosse team had their hearts broken after Connor Donahue’s last minute diving goal was waved off because he landed in the crease, Major League Lacrosse, the professional outdoor lacrosse league, held its annual Collegiate Draft. The event took place in Boston and featured a number of college lacrosse’s best players, including two of Denver’s standouts this year.
Prior to the draft, there was a good amount of speculation that Pioneers All-American attackman Connor Cannizzaro might be taken first overall by the Florida Launch. Instead, the Boca Raton-based franchise chose the 2016 Tewaaraton Award winner Dylan Molloy out of Brown University.
Notre Dame’s Sergio Perkovic, Maryland’s Matt Rambo, and Syracuse’s Nick Mariano were picked second, third, and fourth, respectively before Cannizzaro was picked by the Ohio Machine with the fifth overall pick. The Machine lost to Wes Berg’s Denver Outlaws in the MLL Championship last season.
— Ohio Machine (@MachineMLL) May 28, 2017
After notching at least a point in the final 58 games of his career, Cannizzaro was, for a time, seen as a lock for that first overall pick. However, after a quiet NCAA semifinal against Maryland notching just one goal and speculation about his size, he fell to the fifth pick. The bottom line is Cannizzaro is a top-5 pick and, with the Machine, he’ll have a chance to compete for an MLL championship immediately.
The other Pioneer drafted today was Christian Burgdorf, the Pioneers’ defensive captain this year. He was drafted by the Atlanta Blaze in the third round with the 20th overall pick. In a position that is often overlooked because defense isn’t ‘sexy,’ Burgdorf stood out for the Pioneers with his dominant and stifling defense. Simply put, he was a difference-maker over the course of Denver’s run to Championship Weekend.
— Atlanta Blaze (@AtlantaBlaze) May 28, 2017
Coming into the draft, Burgdorf was seen as one of the better defensive prospects. While he wasn’t the first taken off the board, he was among the highest. He’ll join a Blaze team that has been trying to find an identity since joining MLL for its inaugural season in 2016. They went 4-10 last year and finished in eighth place out of nine teams. Burgdorf will be sure to give Atlanta a solid lift in the defensive end.
Cannizzaro and Burgdorf will join the growing list of former Pioneers who have gone on to play professional lacrosse after college including Eric Law, Wes Berg, Mark Matthews, Cam Flint, Chase Carraro, and others. This is a fitting end for the most important and winningest class in Denver lacrosse history. Both Burgdorf and Cannizzaro deserve this honor and are sure to go on to do wonderful things at the next level.