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Swarm ink four defensive players

11/11/2013, 2:45pm CST
By Alec Schimke

Swarm re-sign Ball and Higgins; sign rookies Alexander and Jonas


Zach Higgins

            SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Swarm today announced that the team has re-signed D Dan Ball to a one-year agreement and G Zach Higgins to a three-year contract. The team also signed rookie defensemen Dominique Alexander (No. 39 overall, Ohio State University) and Nick Jonas (No. 52 overall, University of Minnesota) to two-year deals.

Ball, 26, recorded four assists and collected a career-high 27 loose balls in 14 games during his second season with the Swarm in 2013. The Barrie, Ontario native also registered 10 forced turnovers and was a receipent of the Fan's Choice Award during the Swarm's 2013 Awards Ceremony. Minnesota signed the 5-foot-11, 185-pound defender prior to the 2012 season out of Georgian College. In his two seasons with the Swarm, Ball has established himself as one of the team’s most energetic defenders.

“Dan is one of our unsung heroes,” Swarm associate general manager and head coach Joe Sullivan said. “He’s a guy that goes out and does what is expected of him. He’s a great agitator with good speed and he had a solid season in Brooklin working on his game this summer. Dan has become a very steady defender in the NLL and we look for him to continue to grow in 2014.”

Higgins, 22, completed his first season with the Swarm in 2013 and finished the final six regular season games, and two postseason contests on the team’s active roster. The Courtice, Ontario native is coming off an impressive summer season with the Brooklin Redmen where he was teammates with Ball, as he totaled a 4-3 record with an 8.21 GAA and .795 SV%.

“Zach had a breakout year with Brooklin this summer after he was given the opportunity to be in the starting role,” Sullivan said. “They upset a lot of teams this year, and he played a large role in that. He works hard all the time, has great focus and is always trying to get better. When you have a young goalie doing all of those things, it’s a great thing for us. Zach is going to come in and push Tyler Carlson and he’s going to see some floor time. Fans are going to enjoy watching Zach play because he’s a big goalie that takes the angles of the net away.”

Alexander, 22, finished his senior season at Ohio State University as a co-captain in 2013 and recorded 29 points (9g, 20a) along with 28 ground balls. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound defenseman appeared in 62 games during his four-year career, and started in every contest with the exception of one game, while totaling 95 points (47g, 48a) and 77 ground balls. Minnesota selected Alexander in the fifth round (No. 39 overall) of the 2013 NLL Entry Draft. The Baldwin, NY native was also teammates in college with fellow Swarm draftee and No. 1 overall pick Logan Schuss.

“Dominique is newer to box lacrosse, but he is a very disciplined player,” Sullivan said. “He’s a guy who pays attention to detail and his physical presence is one thing that we’ll be looking for in camp.”

Jonas, 22, became the first Minnesota Golden Gopher to ever be selected by the Swarm when he was drafted in the sixth round (No. 52 overall) this past September. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound defenseman spent the past four seasons playing with the Gophers in the MCLA, which included playing under Swarm assistant coach Aime Caines. Jonas is also a native of St. Louis Park, Minn. and played high school lacrosse for the Orioles.

“We interviewed and watched Nick at the NLL Combine and he caught our eye,” Sullivan said. “He’s very raw but he’s a guy that we’d like to work with. It’s great that he’s from Minnesota and it’s nice to see a local guy get the chance in box lacrosse at the pro level. We were not going to let him slide by us without giving him that chance at home.”

All contracts are currently pending league approval.

In 2014, the Swarm will be celebrating their 10th season of professional box lacrosse in the NLL and will kickoff the regular season on the road against the defending NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 28.

Minnesota will make its home debut at The Hive celebrating Native American Heritage Night on Sunday, Jan. 19 during a 2 p.m. matchup against the Philadelphia Wings at Xcel Energy Center. Swarm fans looking to lock up 2014 Season Tickets can take advantage of a Buy 2, Get 2 at 25% offer. By purchasing two season tickets at full price, fans can add an additional two tickets for 25% off. Call 1-888-667-9276 for purchasing information.

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