New York Lizards’ Greg Gurenlian Wins “FOAthlete of the Year” Award

Lizards’ Greg Gurenlian Takes Home Best Faceoff Specialist of the Year Award Presented By The Faceoff Academy


BOSTON  Major League Lacrosse has named Greg Gurenlian of the New York Lizards, the winner of the 2015 “FOAthlete award, presented by The Faceoff Academy”, an honor determined solely by statistical success at the faceoff position.

Gurenlian lived up to the nickname “The Beast”, after finishing the regular season with 280 faceoff wins out of a possible 383 attempts. This amazing feat broke the MLL single season record for most faceoffs wins, previously held by Alex Smith with 249 wins in 2008. Gurenlian’s 73.1% win percentage also makes him the current record holder for best MLL single season win percentage. If those two accomplishments weren’t enough, Gurenlian also claimed the record for most groundballs in a single season with 175.

To put it all in perspective, Gurenlian played in all thirteen games this season and won over half his faceoffs each game while being matched up against faceoff players who statistically trailed Gurenlian by nearly 20%. The number two ranked faceoff specialist behind Gurenlian, Anthony Kelly of the Denver Outlaws, ended the regular season with a win ratio of 169 of 298 faceoffs or 56.7%. The third ranked faceoff player, Mike Poppleton of the Rochester Rattlers, finished with a win ration of 105-190 faceoffs or 55.2%.

The award’s sponsor, The Faceoff Academy, was developed by Greg Gurenlian, Chris Mattes, and Jerry Ragonese, with a mission dedicated to developing the lacrosse skills of every athlete through the highest quality of instruction. It may seem interesting that Gurenlian, a Co-Founder and Coach of the sponsoring brand, is the award’s recipient, but given the award being based on the statistical best faceoff specialist in Major League Lacrosse, it can only confirm that Gurenlian is living up to his mission of providing the best faceoff training by the best in the game.  The FaceOff Academy who’s goal of providing  knowledge and skills at the “X” to aspiring athletes, can now proudly claim the best in the business on and off the field as well.

“When the FOA made this award, the idea was to give face-off athletes their own category that way it wouldn’t infringe upon any defensive athletes,” said Gurenlian. “It’s a huge honor but this is really going to our entire face-off unit. DeNap, Hartzell and Unterstein have been so great so I thank them for this.”

Player Team Draws Win %
1. Greg Gurenlian New York 280-383 .731
2. Anthony Kelly Denver 169-298 .567
3 Mike Poppleton Rochester 105-190 .552
4. Brendan Fowler Charlotte 207-411 .503
5. Greg Puskuldjian Ohio 176-329 .497
6. Chris Mattes Florida 165-335 .492
7. Craig Bunker Boston 165-356 .463

Gurenlian heads into the Playoffs with the New York Lizards as they faceoff against the Boston Cannons on Saturday, August 1, at 6:30 pm. EST at James Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, NY.

The winner of that game will move on to the 2015 MLL Championship Game on Saturday, August 8, at 7 pm., at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, GA.

About Faceoff Academy

Established in 2013, The Faceoff Academy is owned and operated by Major League Lacrosse players Greg Gurenlian (NY Lizards), Chris Mattes (Florida Launch) and Jerry Ragonese (NY Lizards).  With weekly stops in cities all over the country The Faceoff Academy provides elite level Faceoff instruction to coaches and players at all skill levels.  The FOA runs youth clinics, High School Elite combines and an annual National Recruiting Showcase with collegiate coaches on staff.  You can find out more about The Faceoff Academy by visiting their website or emailing them at

Be sure to follow them on Twitter @faceoff_academy and Instagram @TheFaceoffAcademy

About Major League Lacrosse


Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, was founded by Jake Steinfeld and is headquartered in Boston. Major League Lacrosse commenced play in June 2001 and has embarked on its fifteenth season. MLL has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports. The league is made up of eight teams: The Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws, Florida Launch, New York Lizards, Ohio Machine and Rochester Rattlers.