By Jillian Fay | 10/10/12 12:20 PM
The Hounds in August wrapped up a 5-9 inaugural season in Major League Lacrosse, drawing an average of 5,712 fans per game at American Legion Memorial Stadium. With 2012 successfully behind us, the organization takes an opportunity to check in with the players and learn what stood out to them about this year, as well as find out what they are looking forward to about the upcoming 2013 season. In Part 1 of "Looking Back, Thinking Ahead" the players -- in their own words -- share their most memorable moments of the Hounds' inuagural 2012 season. After reading what they had to say, be sure to log in to the comments section and share your most memorable moment from our first year!
Justin Turri, #12 (M): Easily the best moment for me was our home win over Chesapeake. Dino (Danowski) ripping a 2-pointer in the final seconds to beat the first-place and eventual MLL Champion Bayhawks in come from behind fashion. The crowd couldn't have been any louder and more excited that night -- truly a great atmosphere and a great game. The fan support both on and off the field (throughout the season) was incredible -- during the game, after the game, signing autographs, taking pictures, on Twitter and through other social media outlets. We easily have the best fan base in the MLL.
Ryan Flanagan, #24 (D): More than any specific game, I think the thing that I will remember most about the inaugural season is how receptive the Charlotte community was to the Hounds. I was fortunate that I moved to the area long before the season and got a feel for the excitement in the community to have a professional lacrosse team in the area. Coming out on opening night to 6000-7000 screaming fans was a huge thrill and definitely confirmed to me that I made the right decision when I took a chance and moved here.
Kyle Wimer, #20 (M): My most memorable moment was pulling out a win in our last home game of the season. The fans had been great, enthusiastic and supportive all season. They continued to provide a ton of energy and it all came together in our last game and we delivered a ‘W’ to finish everything off!
Gerry Reilly, #21 (M): My most memorable moment, or moments, were talking to the fans after the games. They were always supportive, win or lose, and I really think we have the best fans in the league.
Joe Vitale, #1 (M): My most memorable moment had to be scoring my first goal up in Hamilton after a lightning delay, and then not long after that getting my first career assist.
Ricky Pages, #11 (D): Scoring my first career 2-pointer and hearing the crowd roar afterwards.
Adam Ghitelman, #8 (G): Beating the eventual MLL Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks. It was a great game from both a player and fan perspective, and great for us to know we can play with -- and beat -- the best teams in the league.
Brett Schmidt, #44 (D): The most memorable moment for me was the last game in American Legion Memorial Stadium. Seeing and hearing the fans going crazy during the last few minutes as we beat Rochester was something I will always remember. They were great all year and it was awesome to end with a win and the support of the best fans in the league!
Eric Lusby, #3 (A): The most memorable moment was my first home game against the Rochester Rattlers when we played spoiler in front of a sold out crowd.
Joe Cinosky, #84 (D): My most memorable moment was ending the season with a Win and knocking the Rattlers out of a playoff spot.
Matt Danowski, #40 (A): For me, it was the win over the Bayhawks at home. To beat the eventual Champs like that -- with little time remaining, the way the fans stuck with us and brought us energy -- it was a sign of good things to come for the organization and our fans.
Stephen Berger, #13 (M): Hearing the FANS roar and explode during player announcements -- as well as anytime we made big plays, scored, or just needed them to get on their feet -- the HOUNDS Fans were there for us!!
Jerry Ragonese, #37 (M/FO): Beating Rochester at home to play spoiler in my first home game with the Hounds. That and the fried chicken!
Mark Manos, #54 (G): My most memorable part of the season would have to be the fans during our Chesapeake game, where we came back to win. It was incredible to be a part of such an up tempo and exciting atmosphere.
Kevin Kaminski, #15 (M): My most memorable moment was U.S. Army night in July, when Jeremy Boltus swore in the new Army recruits. The feeling I got when the paratroopers sailed down during the National Anthem is indescribable and made me proud to be an American. Sometimes we get caught up in our everyday lives and forget about the thousands of people fighting overseas to protect our freedoms. "Rock. Flag. Eagle." - Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
Josh Amidon, #9 (M): The moment I remember the best of the 2012 season was being named "Bud Light Player of the Game" in Week 3 vs Ohio.
Brian Carroll, #36 (M): My most memorable moment was our opening home game. We had amazing support from our fans from the start. I instantly felt like we were doing a great thing for lacrosse in Charlotte which was very rewarding to me as a player.
Jovan Miller, #7 (M): Matt Danowski hitting the 2-pointer to go ahead against the eventual MLL Champs, the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
-- Check back next week to read what the Hounds players are most looking forward to about the upcoming 2013 season!