The Florida Launch were a professional men's field lacrosse team based in Boca Raton, Florida. They joined Major League Lacrosse (MLL) as an expansion team for the 2014 season until 2019. The team played its home games at Florida Atlantic University Stadium. The team was owned by Jim Davis, founder and chairman of New Balance, an early investor in the MLL.
|Based in||Boca Raton, Florida|
|Colors||Blue, gold, white|
|Head coach||Tom Mariano|
|General manager||Tom Mariano|
2014–2016: New beginningsEdit
In November 2013, MLL granted an expansion franchise to Palm Beach County, Florida for the 2014 MLL Season. The formation of the Launch coincides with the dissolution of the Hamilton Nationals, and former National players have become members of the inaugural Launch squad. Former Denver Outlaws assistant Stan Ross was named as the team's first coach.
Ross faced his former team in the Launch's inaugural game on Saturday, April 26, 2014 in their home opener. The Launch lost their first game to the Outlaws 14-10. Josh Amidon scored the first goal in franchise history. The team's first victory came in their second game, an 11-8 win over the Charlotte Hounds.
After coaching the Launch to a combined 13-29 record over their first three seasons, Ross resigned on November 17, 2016. Tom Mariano, former assistant coach for the Chesapeake Bayhawks, was announced his replacement on December 7.
2017: Playoff breakthroughEdit
When the 2017 schedule was announced on November 15, 2016, the Launch also announced that their first three homes games would be played at various cities in Florida as a part of their 2017 Florida Tour to grow the game of lacrosse throughout the state. Due to field renovations at FAU Stadium finishing sooner than expected, the Launch scheduled the home opener on May 13, 2017 after playing two games at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand, Fla.
The Launch started the 2017 season with an unimpressive 2-3 record. On May 28, with the first pick in the year's collegiate draft, the Launch selected Dylan Molloy, attack from Brown University. Molloy, originally from Long Island, boasted record break numbers at Brown University. Following the pick, the Launch rattled off three straight victories, including two over the New York Lizards to match their franchise high for victories in a season with five (only eight games into the season). The Launch would then go on to lose three of their next four, including an embarrassing 17-4 defeat to the Atlanta Blaze.
On July 29, the Launch entered their last game of the season controlling their own postseason fate. At 7-6, they entered Harvard Stadium to play the last-place Boston Cannons, who defeated them in the first week of the season in overtime. The Launch controlled the game for over 37 minutes, scoring the first six goals of the game and led 16-6 more than midway into the third quarter. The tides turned quickly however, and the Cannons rattled off 11 straight goals to take a 17-16 lead with 8:43 remaining. The Launch were able to recover though. Kieran McArdle tied the game a minute and a half later, and rookie Nick Mariano won the game with a goal with less than five minutes to go. The Launch would finally clinch their first postseason berth in team history with an 18-17 win over the feisty Cannons and head into the final week of the season with a bye.
On August 12, the Launch played the Ohio Machine at Fortress Obetz in the team's first ever playoff appearance. Florida kept it close for much of the game, but the eventual-champion Machine were able to separate themselves and defeat the Launch, 18-13.
The next season, the Launch were not able to replicate their success. Despite getting off to a 2-1 start including a dominating 16-7 win over the eventual champion Denver Outlaws, the team finished the season with a disappointing 5-9 record. Dylan Molloy led the team in goals with 41.
2019: MLL contraction and Launch foldingEdit
On April 1, 2019, the Florida Launch released a statement indicating that the team was folding as a result of a contraction of Major League Lacrosse from nine teams to six.
|Year||W||L||%||Regular season finish||Playoffs|
|2014||5||9||.357||7th in league||Didn't Qualify|
|2015||5||9||.357||7th in league||Didn't Qualify|
|2016||3||11||.214||9th in league||Didn't Qualify|
|2017||8||6||.571||3rd in league||Lost semifinal vs. Ohio Machine, 18-13|
|2018||5||9||.357||8th in league||Didn't qualify|
|Totals||26||44||.371||Total Playoff Record 0-1 (.000)|
|2018 Florida Launch|
|0||Patrick Resch||M||6 ft 3 in||200 lb||Duke|
|1||PT Ricci||D||5 ft 10 in||195 lb||Loyola|
|2||Ryan Drenner||M||6 ft 0 in||185 lb||Towson|
|4||Dylan Molloy||A||6 ft 0 in||220 lb||Brown|
|5||Tyler Warner||SSDM||6 ft 0 in||200 lb||Yale|
|6||Kieran McArdle||A||6 ft 1 in||175 lb||St. John's|
|7||Jules Heningburg||A||6 ft 2 in||185 lb||Rutgers|
|8||Michael Rexrode||D||6 ft 0 in||180 lb||Rutgers|
|9||Tim Barber||M||5 ft 10 in||192 lb||Syracuse|
|12||Jack Concannon||G||6 ft 2 in||200 lb||Hofstra|
|14||Austin Kaut||G||6 ft 1 in||200 lb||Penn State|
|20||Connor Buczek||M||6 ft 2 in||190 lb||Cornell|
|21||Michael Tagliaferri||M||6 ft 0 in||205 lb||North Carolina|
|23||Nick Mariano||M||6 ft 0 in||181 lb||Syracuse|
|25||Alec Tulett||D||6 ft 3 in||185 lb||Brown|
|30||Michael Noone||D||6 ft 3 in||205 lb||Lehigh|
|37||Ben Williams||FO||5 ft 11 in||192 lb||Syracuse|
|43||Mark Mcneill||M||6 ft 4 in||215 lb||North Carolina|
|44||Steven Brooks||M||6 ft 1 in||190 lb||Syracuse|
|51||Tucker Durkin||D||6 ft 2 in||210 lb||Johns Hopkins|
|55||Bryan Cole||M||6 ft 3 in||190 lb||Maryland|
|77||Mike Unterstein||M||5 ft 11 in||195 lb||Hofstra|
|88||Jarrod Neumann||D||6 ft 4 in||205 lb||Providence|
|91||Luke Duprey||D||6 ft 5 in||210 lb||Duke|
- updated 2018-07-16
Head coaching historyEdit
- Kieran McArdle: 2014
- Tom Mariano: 2017
- Casey Powell: 2014
MLL Collegiate DraftEdit
First round selectionsEdit
- 2014: Kieran McArdle, St. John's (4th overall)
- 2015: Lyle Thompson, Albany (1st overall); Connor Buczek, Cornell (2nd overall)
- 2016: Matt Landis, Notre Dame (3rd overall)
- 2017: Dylan Molloy, Brown (1st overall); Nick Mariano, Syracuse (4th overall); Sergio Salcido, Syracuse (8th overall)
- 2018: Jules Heningburg, Rutgers (7th overall)
- "MLL places team in Florida" (Press release). Major League Lacrosse. November 21, 2013. Archived from the original on November 26, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Wagner, Bill (July 19, 2017). "Bayhawks owner likes team, future of MLL". Capital Gazette. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
- "Major League Lacrosse finally lands its long-desired South Florida franchise". Sun-Sentinel. November 22, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
- "MLL Places Team in Florida". Major League Lacrosse. November 21, 2013. Archived from the original on November 26, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
- "Florida Launch lacrosse team rockets into fans' hearts". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
- "Florida Launch ignites to first pro lacrosse win". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
- Florida Launch accept resignation of head coach Stan Ross
- "Florida Launch Hire Tom Mariano". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-08.
- Florida Launch announce 2017 schedule
- "Major League Lacrosse, Florida Launch to Play Two Games in Central Florida". Florida Launch. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
- Dylan Molloy No. 1 to Launch
- Florida at Boston boxscore
- "Florida Launch clinch playoff berth". Archived from the original on 2017-07-30. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
- Florida Launch fall to Ohio Machine in first playoff appearance
- Florida Launch team leaders
- Launch, Florida. "Florida Launch Team Statement". Florida Launch. Retrieved 2019-08-28.
- "2014 Collegiate Draft Results". Major League Lacrosse. Archived from the original on 2014-02-09. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
- "2015 Collegiate Draft Results". Major League Lacrosse. Archived from the original on 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2016-06-08.