CARON: Zed Williams & fellow Virginia lacrosse alums take the MLL by storm
Williams scores two goals in his first Major League Lacrosse game
If anyone knows how to make a Major League debut, it’s former Virginia lacrosse player, Zed Williams (’17).
The recent Virginia graduate and Rochester Rattlers rookie placed two in the back of the net Saturday night in his first Major League Lacrosse game – one of which was the winning overtime goal against the Chesapeake Bayhawks, home of former Cavalier teammates Ryan Tucker (’15), Michael Howard (’16), and Joe French (’17).
Williams’ first goal came early in the game, scoring the Rattlers’ fourth of the night with just over two minutes left in the first quarter. The mid-range shot put the rookie on Chesapeake’s radar, but Williams wasn’t finished.
After the Bayhawks battled their way back from a seven to three Rochester lead going into the second half, the teams were tied 16-16 when the clock ran out. Williams’ scored the game winner with 8:39 left in overtime, bringing the Rattlers a 17-16 victory in his debut MLL appearance.
This was the team’s first home game win of the season and fourth win of the season overall. A midfielder by trade, Williams played his senior year season at Virginia at attack where he posted 27 goals and a team-high 25 assists for 52 total points, second highest on the team, under the guidance of new coach Lars Tiffany. The All-ACC player had a standout season despite the switch.
As adaptable as he is capable and creative on the field, the New York native landed himself a spot on the Rochester Rattlers roster as the 22nd overall Major League Lacrosse Draft pick. Williams’ was Virginia’s highest selection of the 2017 class.
Teammates Tanner Scales, defenseman, and Joe French, attackman, also found themselves in the MLL post-graduation. Scales, the 56th overall pick, was drafted by his hometown team, the Denver Outlaws, who currently lead the league with a 5-1 record. French, the 84th overall pick, joined fellow former Cavaliers Howard and Tucker in Annapolis, Md. where the three will rejoin forces on the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
Virginia now has 52 all-time selections in the MLL Draft, second only to Syracuse for all-time drafts. The Cavaliers have had at least one first round selection in each of the past nine drafts, including the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 Draft and current Atlanta Blaze midfielder, Greg Coholan, until this year. Williams was selected in the third round, while Scales and French went in the seventh and tenth respectively.
After Williams’ clutch game winning goal, French gave him a shout-out on Twitter, which was re-posted by Virginia Men’s Lacrosse on Instagram supporting Williams’ OT success despite its cost for French’s own team. A photo of the two former teammates representing their new MLL team’s accompanied the Tweet.
“I've been on the right side of a lot of overtime games with this guy [Williams],” French said, “Tough to be in different colours tonight #LegendOfZed.”
Williams’ consistency, dependability and ability to excel under pressure characterized his play at the college level – and those traits didn’t fail him last weekend. Ending your MLL debut with a game-winning goal against former teammates? Not too shabby, Zed. Not too shabby at all.