By Heather Crowley | 6/6/10 10:11 PM
As draft day approached for the Denver Outlaws there were not obvious pressing needs. With the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft the Outlaws selected defenseman Ken Clausen from the University of Virginia. During his career at Virginia Clausen became a four-time All-American (honorable mention as a freshman). Clausen’s excellent on-field performance made him a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist in 2010.
For the Outlaws, Clausen is a player who brings consistency. The longpole started every single game of his career from freshman year to senior, totaling 70 straight starts. As a senior Clausen was voted team captain and acted as both a leader on the field and off.
At 6-foot-2 Clausen brings not only size but excellent speed. The former Cavalier will join an already formidable defense that features Team USA player Eric Martin and Matt Bocklet, a duo that Clausen says he looks forward to learning from. The Pennsylvania native has visited the Mile High City twice before and was excited to be traveling out west to the Outlaws.
“I’ve always had great impressions of Denver,” Clausen said. “It’s always a place I’ve wanted to spend a little time. No matter who you talk to, whether it’s indoor or outdoor lacrosse, I hear the fans are great. They are really supportive and I’m looking forward to that.”
In his first three years at Virginia Clausen recorded a ground ball in 50 of his 52 contests. In 2010 Virginia lead the nation in groundballs per game with 37.17 and Clausen finished eight in the nation in caused turnovers per game with a 2.06 average.
“I felt like he was a great athlete, really rangy and could also play long stick middie,” Outlaws general manager and head coach Brian Reese said. “He’s good at getting groundballs and really great between the lines. We really felt like he was the best defenseman in the draft.”
As in previous drafts Denver became active quickly in the early rounds and traded its 10th and 17th picks to the Toronto Nationals to acquire the 8th overall pick. At number 8 the Outlaws selected midfielder Sean Delaney from University of North Carolina. With injury to midfielder Shane Walterhoefer an opportunity may open up for Delaney to take the field, Reese said.
“We wanted to make sure to get a guy we really needed,” Reese said. “He is a great athlete and we didn’t want to lose him. We decided to go ahead and be aggressive and make the trade.”
In his senior season Delaney scored 25 goals for the Tar Heels and 9 assists. Delaney led the team in goals scored on man up with ten. During his time at UNC made the NCAA Tournament each season.
Denver struck again three picks later at the number 11 spot and snagged face off specialist Andrew Hennessey out of Bryant. This selection addressed one of Denver’s most obvious needs and is a player coach Reese said can fit into a one-two punch faceoff team.
Denver also added talent to their roster late in the draft. After picking 11th the Outlaws did not have another pick as for two rounds. In the fifth round Denver took midfielder Patrick Moran from Navy. The Outlaws continued their selection of hometown talent as Dillon Roy became an Outlaw in the sixth round and the 35th overall.
In the seventh round Connor Martin, who endured a long draft night, appeared elated when the commissioner announced he would be joining the black and orange out west. Robbie Pride, a midfielder from Dartmouth, became the final pick of the night for Denver at number 47, concluding a draft night full of fulfilling on field needs an adding depth to a solid lineup.
Denver is hoping that their draft success continues as two key starters, Max Seibald and Dan Hardy, were picked up in last year’s draft. Both instantly impacted Denver’s lineup immediately and in their second seasons are continuing to contribute to the Outlaws success.
Denver entered the 2010 draft with eight picks and ending up picking eight players, just at different spots then when the night began. The Outlaws added players in all the right places as the three middle selections focus on a midfield in need up depth.
Number 5 Ken Clausen UVA Defenseman
Number 8 Sean Delaney UNC Midfielder
Number 11 Andrew Hennessey Bryant Midfield/Faceoff
Number 29 Patrick Moran Navy Midfield
Number 35 Dillon Roy Defenseman University of Denver
Number 41 Connor Martin Attack Chapman
Number 47 Robbie Pride Midfield Dartmouth