If a successful MLL career is about laying the bricks to build a foundation, then rookie attackman Mark Matthews is set to build a professional career the size of the Empire State Building.
In his first MLL game, Matthews had a hat trick well before halftime. He contributed four goals and two assists in the Denver Outlaws 18-16 loss to the Chesapeake Bayhawks Saturday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Because of his stellar performance, Matthews was able to earn Cascade Rookie of the Week (Week 5) honors for his debut performance.
Matthews credits seven year veteran Brendan Mundorf for his successful transition to professional play. Not only did Mundorf provide the assists on Matthews first two career goals, but he helped calm Matthews prior to the game.
"Honestly, Mundorf did what he could to settle me down," Matthews said after the game. "He told me 'Don't grip the stick too tight. Just play lacrosse.'"
It helps that Mundorf draws all kinds of attention from his opponents. His three goals and five assists against the Bayhawks gave the rookie some room to work.
"Guys always pay attention to Mundorf," Matthews said. "For them to just leave me alone in there, it's nice not everyone knowing who you are. You can kind of slide under the radar and I was able to put a couple in tonight."
The comforts of home also helped provide a slipper and fireplace-like atmosphere for Matthews who enters the MLL after a successful career at the University of Denver. It was there that he set the school's record for career points and goals.
Matthews had all of his DU teammates from last season in attendance, cheering loud and proud from The Corral.
Matthews wasn't the only rookie to take center stage at times. Drew Snider put in a goal, and Colin Briggs assisted Mundorf on a goal in the first half.
As for Matthews, he can't consider this game a complete success considering the outcome. He can, however, continue to build a nice career on the foundation of his initial performance.
Bright things are on the horizon for this young star.