SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The National Lacrosse League (NLL) today announced that Minnesota Swarm transition player Kiel Matisz and forward Shayne Jackson have been named to the 2013 All-Rookie Team.
Matisz, 23, ranked second among rookies in goals (29) and assists (33) and third in rookie scoring with 62 points, which tied for 20th in the NLL. Matisz led all rookies and finished tied for seventh in the league with 11 power play goals and ranked fifth in the NLL with a .230 shooting percentage in 16 games played. With his bruising size at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Matisz broke Swarm rookie records for most goals and power play goals in a single season.
Among NLL rookies, Minnesota's first-round (No. 3 overall) pick in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft ranked second with 70 loose balls and fifth with eight forced turnovers. The Stoney Creek, Ontario native, who played collegiately at Robert Morris University, won one Rookie of the Month award and a league-high four Rookie of the Week awards.
“Kiel’s play this season was outstanding and I mean that in the most rounded of ways,” Swarm associate general manager and head coach Joe Sullivan said. “What he did on the floor was exceptional for a young man; he took on a lot and embraced it. When I look at him off the floor, he was a student of the game and anything we threw at him he made it his own and put his own spin it, but made it work within our program. It was great to watch him evolve from a raw rookie in our first six games to finish the season off as truly one of the leaders on the floor.”
Jackson, 22, finished second in rookie scoring, third on the Swarm and 19th in the NLL with 63 points (24g, 39a) while leading all rookies with 39 assists, which tied for 13th in the league. Minnesota's first-round (No. 4 overall) draft pick in 2012 tied for third among rookies with 24 goals and ranked fifth with 54 loose balls in 16 games played.
The Bowmanville, Ontario native, who played collegiately at Limestone College, won two Rookie of the Week awards and now holds Swarm rookie records for most points and assists in a single season.
"Shayne gave us a dynamic that we’d been missing for a while (on the left side)," Sullivan said. "We had Ryan Benesch but now we’re more than that, now we’re Ryan Benesch and Shayne Jackson and then we’ve got other guys to support them. Ryan had the kind of year that he had because of a young rookie in Shayne, who brought a lot of attention to himself. He has a great nose for the net, gets himself open, and plays with a ton of energy. He just got better and better. With players like Kiel and Shayne, Minnesota Swarm fans should be thrilled with what they’re going to see on the floor next season.”
Monday’s announcement marked the third consecutive season that two Swarm rookies have been named to the All-Rookie Team. Transition player Jordan MacIntosh and goalie Evan Kirk collected the honors in 2012, while transition players Andrew Suitor and Tyler Hass were named to the team in 2011.
Also joining Matisz and Jackson on the 2013 All-Rookie Team were Buffalo Bandits transition player Dhane Smith, Calgary Roughnecks forward Joe Resetarits, Colorado Mammoth transition player Joey Cupido, and Edmonton Rush forwards Curtis Knight and Mark Matthews.
The 2013 NLL Season Awards are determined by a vote of the league's Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches. Due to a tie in the voting, the All-Rookie Team was expanded to seven players this year.
The announcement of Season Awards continues on Tuesday with the All-Pro First and Second Teams followed by the Rookie of the Year award on Wednesday and Most Valuable Player award, presented by Reebok Lacrosse, on Thursday.