Brock Sorensen (left) and Kiel Matisz (right) were both two-time captains in college.
During the 2012 NLL Entry Draft, the Swarm made some huge additions – literally. Going to Minnesota at the second and third overall picks were transition player Brock Sorensen and forward Kiel Matisz.
Sorensen is an imposing two-way player at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, who comes from Ohio State University, where he became the first Buckeye to be named team captain as a true junior since 2005. Matisz, who played his college ball at Robert Morris University, is an aggresive forward and is a hair shorter than Sorensen at 6-foot-5 and weighs 215 pounds. As the team captain during his senior season in 2012, Matisz posted a career-high 40 goals and was a third-team USILA All-American.
Both players pedigrees, combined with their large frames, make for a strong combination of size and athleticism at each end of the field as Sorensen points out, “We’ll bring size to both ends of the floor, Kiel being primarily offensive and me primarily defensive.”
Coach Joe Sullivan makes a point of noting that while both Sorensen and Matisz are now two of the tallest players on the team, both are very athletic and skilled as well. “They’ve got size, they’ve both got a mean streak, and they can move. You put those three things together and you’ve really got the full package.”
Not only do Sorensen and Matisz bring size to the Swarm, but they also come with a long string of relationships with members of the team. Sorensen hails from Sullivan’s hometown of Peterborough, Ontario and the two have spent time together the past few summers with the Peterborough Lakers of Major Series Lacrosse, where they have won two Mann Cups together. Their bond goes deeper than the sport, however, as Sorensen notes, “I’ve had a great relationship with Coach Sullivan, he actually coached my brother Kyle…so my family and I have known Joe for a long time, and I think that should be a nice transition into the league.”
Sorensen is certainly no stranger to playing against top competition and Sullivan thinks that he will fit in well in the NLL game. “He’s very coachable, very smart, very well-spoken, and plays with a chip on his shoulder,” Sullivan says. “All of those things are why Brock Sorensen was selected second overall…he’s a good person that wants to learn and get better.”
In addition, Sorensen has played with several members of the Swarm in the past. Although he was injured this past season as a Laker, Sorensen was teammates with Andrew Suitor, Andrew Watt, Josh Gillam, Jordan MacIntosh, and Tyler Carlson. In Jr. A ball, Sorensen was teammates with Suitor in Orangeville and with Gillam and Joe Wasson in Peterborough.
Matisz likewise enters his rookie season having had previous connections with the Swarm. The Stoney Creek, Ontario native is the fifth player on the roster to come from Robert Morris University, joining Andrew Watt, Jeff Gilbert, Corbyn Tao and Pat Smith. As a result, Matisz expects to adapt to life in the Twin Cities fairly quickly. “One of the main reasons I wanted to be drafted by the Swarm is that I’ve known a lot of guys on the team either by playing with them or against them, so it’s almost like going into an already comfortable situation for me,” Matisz says.
Matisz has also spent time with Gilbert and Dan Ball while playing for the MSL’s Brooklin Redmen from 2010-12, and MacIntosh on the OLA’s Jr. A Burlington Chiefs from 2008-10. The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MSL Draft expects his previous playing experience to carry over to the NLL game, especially his relationship with MacIntosh. “I know what kind of a player he is,” says Matisz, “and I think he knows pretty well the kind of player that I am so I can only say that it’s beneficial to have that chemistry already there.”
Since there’s so much young talent coming in, Sullivan suggests that the Swarm should be deep this season and that there will be some healthy competition for playing time. Matisz is a right-handed forward and will be sharing time with Tao, Card, and Callum Crawford: last season’s leading-scorer with 83 points. Sullivan notes that those players can be great mentors for Matisz and will welcome his size and playing ability to the right side of the field. “I’m sure that we’ll see him play offense when we need him to, and he can definitely throw the ball in the net and bang some bodies up here and cause some trouble and havoc for other team’s defenses.”
Sorensen joins Suitor and MacIntosh to mark the third-straight year that the Swarm has selected a transition player in the first round of the draft. The group is certainly talented, as ILIndoor.com claims that the addition of Sorensen “to the likes of Suitor, MacIntosh, Watt and Hass; the Swarm will be one of the deepest transition games the NLL has ever seen.” Sullivan recognizes the potential that this group of players possesses, but explains that while the hype is nice, it all starts with the basics. “We have to learn a system first, or crawl before we walk, so to speak…we need to make sure we get our systems in place first before we worry about taking off down the floor. It’s defense first and what we produce from our defense will create opportunities for our transition players.”
The combination of size, continuity, and depth that Sorensen and Matisz bring to the Swarm presents ample opportunities, particularly the chance to become teammates. The two played with each other for short stints with Edge Lacrosse and the Team Canada U-19 team in 2008. However, most of their lacrosse careers have been spent going against one another. In Jr. A, Matisz’s Chiefs often faced Sorensen’s Northmen. When the duo graduated to the MSL’s Peterborough and Brooklin affiliates they were pitted head-to-head once again. Moreover, while at Ohio State University, Sorensen played against Matisz’s Robert Morris Colonials as well. Matisz explains that, “playing against him (Sorensen) my whole life and then having a couple opportunities to play with him, I can say it’s a lot better to play with him than against him.”
When lined up together with familiar teammates, former coaches, and old rivals, coming to Minnesota should certainly make Sorensen and Matisz feel right at home.