Getting any player midseason can be a boost for any Major League Lacrosse team. Having fresh legs coming into a fresh system should bring energy to the club, especially a young player.
Even coming off of a grueling college season that saw the nation’s second leading scorer’s team in Brown make it to the NCAA final four, Kylor Bellistri has jumped in head-first into the Boston Cannons lineup, and has provided the energy of a player fresh into a season of lacrosse.
“I think the nonstop factor, with the 60-second shot clock, it always ends up ticking down a little faster than you’d expect,” Bellistri said was the biggest difference. “In offensive sets, we’re going right away. I think a lot of times in MLL, what I’m getting used to, there’s more one on one dodges. We’ve been working on working off of that and being more of team aspects, such as six on six. The biggest thing is pace of play, and how consistent it is. Coming from Brown, I’m used to it and more used to it than maybe some other people.”
Since joining the Cannons, Bellistri has taken over as one of the starting attackmen. He has nine points, with three goals and three assists, and has taken a position as a feeder on many transition goals, and has found himself able to work around the net and behind it. He has taken the majority of the possessions on offense ever since making his debut midway through his first game against New York.
“It’s a tribute to the other guys on the team, and our coaching staff,” he said of his success thus far. “When I got picked up [by the Cannons off waivers], I talked to a few of the guys, a few of the coaches, and they told me to play the game of lacrosse that I knew how to play. To just do what I do, and that it would fit the Cannons system. It’s been great to get to know the guys on the team better, because that helps the chemistry.”
Bellistri was a key player in Brown’s NCAA tournament run, as the nation’s second leading scorer. He had to step up when the top scorer in the country Dylan Molloy was injured in the Bears’ semi final game. He broke out this past year, putting up a monstrous 92 points, including a whopping 63 goals, 50 more points than his previous career-high 42 from the season before.
“I was lucky to play pretty far into May, unfortunately we didn’t win it all, but I’ve been fresh and ready to come off of a full season,” Bellistri said. “Playing the game my way, and knowing my role is the biggest thing, doing what I have to do. If I have to dodge, I can dodge. If I can move off the ball, I can move off the ball, but just playing with the guys and knowing them better and build chemistry has been beneficial for me.”
Bellistri joined the Cannons in the midst of a playoff race where Boston is battling it out for one of the last seeds. The Cannons are tied with the Ohio Machine to trail the Rochester Rattlers by just percentage points for the fourth and final spot in the playoffs.
“It’s pretty wild,” said Bellistri. “It’s the same ideas with a playoff run, but obviously a little different. Coming off of a college season like that, playing with guys that you see every single day of the week and you work together, but at the same time we have an incredible opportunity to make the playoffs with the Cannons.”
The former Brown attackman is familiar with the Cannons home turf, though it is a different experience being the home team at Harvard. Bellistri has good memories from the past season, but with one game under his belt from Harvard Stadium, it will still take some getting used to.
“It was different, having it be my home field coming from Brown. Harvard being one of our biggest rivalries, I never enjoyed going to that stadium. This year it was great, we beat Harvard up there. Playing for the Cannons on their home field, it’s great, going to take a bit to get used to, but I love it. I’m excited for the opportunity to play at a great stadium and a great group of fans.”
The Cannons head into the all star break with a 6-5 record and riding two straight wins, including a victory over the Rattlers that saw Boston hold Rochester scoreless for over 41 minutes. Boston hits the road one last time in Ohio next week before returning home for the last two games of the season.
“We know we need every win to stay alive in the playoff race,” Bellistri said. “I think we know we have to take it one game at a time although we know we need to get all of these. Coach and some of the guys stress 60 one minute games, just play that one minute, then onto the next and keep grinding it out the whole game and hope it will be successful.”