The Charlotte Hounds filled needs on both sides of the field with their two first-round picks in the 2013 Major League Lacrosse collegiate draft Friday night in Philadelphia.
The Hounds, who finished 5-9 in their inaugural season last year, grabbed Johns Hopkins defender Tucker Durkin with the third overall pick, then bolstered their offense by taking Loyola attacker Mike Sawyer at No. 8.
Charlotte, which had nine total picks in the MLL draft, also took Maryland attacker Owen Blye in the third round; Bryant defender Mason Poli and Virginia attacker Matt White in the fourth round; Cornell attacker/midfielder Max Van Bourgondian and Georgetown midfielder Brian Casey in the sixth round; Yale defender Michael McCormack in the seventh round and Bucknell goaltender Kyle Feeney in the eighth round.
Durkin was a first-team All-American and the Schmeisser Award winner as the nations top collegiate defender last season for the Blue Jays, who finished 12-4 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
Theres a few guys that we just couldnt pass up, Hounds director of player personnel Wade Leaphart said. We had our sights set on Durkin or (Virginia midfielder) Chris LaPierre (who was taken No. 2 by the Hamilton Nationals) with that third pick.
LaPierre would have been a bit more of a dynamic guy and helped us in a number of areas, but when Durkins sitting there ... the feeling was that Sawyer would be there at No. 8, so we couldnt pass up making that pick.
Sawyer, a Waxhaw native who played high school lacrosse at Charlotte Catholic, was a second-team All-American last season for the Greyhounds, who beat Maryland for the NCAA championship. In three seasons, Sawyer has scored 95 goals, including a career-best 52 in 2012.
Sawyer is who we coveted the most, Hounds head coach Mike Cerino said. We got everything we wanted in the first round we got a game-changing defenseman, and we got a game-changing scorer.
The picks help bolster a Charlotte offense and defense that ranked at or near the bottom of the league last season. The Hounds scored a MLL-worst 146 goals, while their defense allowed 200, second-worst behind the Ohio Machine.
The Machine like the Hounds, a first-year MLL franchise last season took Colgate attacker Peter Baum, last years college player of the year, with the drafts No. 1 pick.
After the Hounds took Durkin, defending MLL champion Chesapeake chose Maryland defender Jesse Bernhardt at No. 4, Hamilton went with Loyola midfielder Josh Hawkins at No. 5, Boston chose Denver midfielder Cameron Flint at No. 6 and the Denver Outlaws took Syracuse defender Brian Megill at No. 7.
Four other players with North Carolina connections were picked during Fridays MLL collegiate draft: UNC attacker Marcus Holman by Ohio in the second round and three from Duke defender Casey Carroll by Hamilton in the third round, midfielder Dave Lawson by Rochester in the fifth round and midfielder Jake Tripuka by Hamilton in the sixth round.