SPARKS, Md. – After leading their teams to an undefeated month, Cal-Berkeley sophomore midfielder Matt Dixon and Kennesaw State junior goalie Jay Molander have been named the US Lacrosse MCLA Players of the Month for February.
Cal faced five ranked teams in February, recording a perfect mark thanks to Dixon’s work in the middle of the field. The San Francisco product leads the Golden Bears in ground balls (27) and has also chipped in with four goals and six assists.
In the upset of then-No. 1 Chapman, Dixon dished out a pair of assists and gobbled up eight ground balls to help in the 15-14 triumph.
"Any of our three starting attackmen – Jake Pistotnik, Jake Lombardo and Brendan Cook – are deserving of this honor, but our staff all agree that the man who has defined the toughness of our team so far this season is the guy leading us in ground balls and dominating the middle third of the field, and that's Matt Dixon,” said Cal coach Ned Webster.
“Matt is a true competitor and battles against guys from other schools the same way he does against his teammates every single practice. When one of your best players and strongest leaders is also one of your hardest workers, that's a recipe for success.”
Kennesaw is off to a 6-0 start in February, including wins over four ranked opponents, aided by Molander’s domination between the pipes. Playing every minute in the cage, the Acworth, Ga., native has a 7.67 goals against average and a 62.9 save percentage.
Against ranked opponents, Molander’s numbers improve to 6.75 GAA and a 67.1 save percentage.
"Jay Molander is a key component in our current season,” said Kennesaw State coach Alex Gavilla. “We, as a staff and team, are so proud of Jay's accolades, as we all know how hard he works.
“He is always 15 minutes early to work with goalie coach Brock Lohnes and the last one to leave practice. He organizes team lifts on our off-days and is a captain. His commitment and hard work are remarkable and we are glad it is paying off for Jay."
For their efforts, both Dixon and Molander will receive a one-year membership to US Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport. Membership includes on-the-field insurance coverage, discounted tickets and apparel, along with a subscription to US Lacrosse Magazine.
US Lacrosse MCLA Monthly Honor Roll
Keaton Collier, Soph., Attackman – Santa Clara
Griffin Giles, Sr., Midfielder – South Carolina
Brian Hanley, Soph., Midfielder – Stanford
Conrad McEvoy, Jr., Attackman – Georgia Tech
Connor Reed, Gr., Long-stick Midfielder – Concordia-Irvine
Jason Brown, Jr., Attackman – Baylor
Jacob Collins, Jr., Midfielder – UNC-Charlotte
Will Johnson, Fr., Attackman – UC Davis
Ellis Scherer, Jr., Midfielder – UC Santa Cruz
Sam Venette, Jr., Midfielder – Texas A&M-Galveston