Joe Resetarits sits in a tie for first on the U.S. offense with 20 assists.

Born for Box: Resetarits' Journey to U.S. Indoor Lacrosse History

Joe Resetarits was having one of those nights.

The U.S. offense was moving the ball around the zone on Monday, finding good looks and spreading the wealth throughout the first half against England. But Resetarits just couldn’t get one to fall.

“About four minutes [into the second quarter], he goes ‘I’m done shooting,’” said teammate Blaze Riorden. “He probably took 15 shots after that. Every time he came off, he said he was done shooting. We asked him ‘Are you finally done shooting?’

He wasn’t. Resetarits continued to test England goalie Eliot Pugh, as the U.S. offense was pushing its lead. One was bound to go in.

“Coaches always say, ‘Shoot until you’re hot,’” he said. “You keep getting these shots and it’s hard to pass it up.”

Then, with less than two minutes remaining, Resetarits found his open. He got a feed from Kieran McArdle behind the cage, saw Pugh was leaving space on the near pipe and launched himself into the crease for the wraparound goal.

“I’d say he’s one of the all-time greats in when it comes to box lacrosse as Americans. He symbolizes what it means to be an American box player. His game just suits it.”

Resetarits gave fans the highlight of the night and he met a smiling Riorden shortly after.

“We were all laughing because we knew that it was in his head that we couldn’t get one by him,” Riorden joked. “I’m sure there will be plenty more goals coming from No. 15 for the rest of the tournament.”

Resetarits’ quest to find the back of the cage succeeded. But even if it hadn’t, he made an impact on the game unlike any other U.S. player. Resetarits, lost in a misfortunate shooting night, dished out a whopping seven assists in the 22-3 victory over England.

After four games — two wins and two losses — he sits in a tie for the team lead with 20 assists. He’s also chipped in eight goals to that total.

The most veteran player on the U.S. offense with seven years of NLL experience, Resetarits is the leader of the unit. He’s the straw that stirs the drink. His vision and skilled passing have helped U.S. shooters earn better looks at the cage game after game.

A two-time world championship veteran, Resetarits is already considered among the top American box talents ever produced. And he’s only living up to that accolade in this year’s version of the tournament.

“I’d say he’s one of the all-time greats in when it comes to box lacrosse as Americans,” Riorden said. “He symbolizes what it means to be an American box player. His game just suits it.”

Resetarits, as humble as they come, was quick to credit his teammates with his success as the “quarterback” of the U.S. offense. 

“Guys I’m working with are finding the right spots,” he said. “Kieran [McArdle] and Blaze have been finding the right spots. We got the right coaching staff to take this to the next level. It’s exciting for the future.”

For Thorpe and his program, it helps to have a player with the experience of Resetarits. Unlike many American box players, Resetarits wasn’t introduced to box lacrosse after college. He grew up with it.

Born in Hamburg, N.Y., Resetarits was a Buffalo Bandits superfan. His father, Frank, bought season tickets for Joe and his brother, Frank. By age 3, he had picked up a lacrosse stick and enjoyed watching John Tavares with the expansion franchise Bandits.

Once Joe was old enough, his father had enrolled him in a local league near the Cattaraugus reservation. A year later, he was driving him up to Canada to learn the box lacrosse game.

It didn’t take long for Resetarits to be hooked on lacrosse, specifically the box game.

“[My parents] just had me and my brother continuously playing the sport,” he said. “Over time, I was getting results out of it and took it and ran with it. Getting to experience those Bandits games when I was younger, and then going out and playing, I said I wanted to be there one day.”

And he continued pushing toward that goal. He had season tickets for the Bandits until he left for college — joining a growing Albany men’s lacrosse program. He tallied 169 points in four seasons with the Great Danes, earning American East Player of the Year honors.

He’d spend his summers in Canada, competing in the Junior and Senior ranks. In 2011, he became one of few Americans to win the Mann Cup, the Canadian senior men’s title, with the Brampton Excelsiors.

Once he graduated from Albany, it was time for Resetarits to chase his dream. He was drafted by the Calgary Roughnecks and learned under greats like Shawn Evans and Dane Dobbie during the 2013 season. He was then traded to his native Buffalo Bandits, where he played two seasons and dropped 63 points. He was growing.

But his stay in Buffalo ended when he was traded to Rochester. There, he played with Cody Jamieson and Dan Dawson. 

In addition, he was invited to play for the U.S. national team for the 2015 indoor world championship. He contributed on an offense with a mix of NLL veterans and field players trying to make a run at the box game — ingredients that led to a bronze medal.


Resetarits grew up in Upstate New York, driving to Canada to play box lacrosse as a child.

Then, it was back to his blossoming NLL career. He dropped 43 points in 2016 and 66 in 2017. The wealth of talent on the Rochester offense had eventually helped him become an NLL star.

“[Evans and Dobbie] had the trust in me,” he said. “They got me comfortable and involved. I couldn’t ask for two better guys to get me involved.”

Resetarits had his breakout season in 2018. Playing in 18 games for the Knighthawks, tallying an American-record 100 points en route to an NLL final appearance — passing Tom Schreiber’s 94 from a season prior.

At that point, he was the focal point of a young Knighthawks offense. It’s a role similar to the one he currently holds with the 2019 U.S. national team. An American that grew up with box? It was a rare trait, but one that made it hard for Thorpe not to bring him to Vancouver for the world championship.

He's coming in fresh off his second Mann Cup title this summer, taking home the championship with the Peterborough Lakers.

“[Joe] is a great player that has a ton of experience, not only in the indoor world championship, but in the NLL and Canadian summer box,” Thorpe said. “He just gets the guys where they need to be and keeps flying. This year, he’s not only bringing his play bur great leadership.”

A vocal presence in team meetings and film sessions, Resetarits is hoping he can share his wealth of knowledge with the rest of Team USA — many of which are just starting their NLL careers.

Even fellow leaders on the U.S. indoor team, like Riorden, enjoying learning from Resetarits.

“I grew up watching him play box lacrosse [with the Bandits[ and kind of wanted to be like him,” Riorden said. “Joe’s game is fit for box. He had every attribute. He can dodge, he’s a good ball-handler and he’s a great shooter.”

The U.S. offense runs on Resetarits, and Monday night it reaped the benefits. As the playoffs begin Wednesday, his skillset and leadership become even more crucial. He’s confident the U.S. will be a factor later this week.

“We’ve shown over the last three games that we’re here to play,” he said.

* * *

Resetarits stood in the hallway on the field level of Langley Events Centre, 90 minutes before the U.S. took on England.

Holding his phone in front of his chest, he was FaceTiming his 1-year-old daughter, Ripley. She was back home in Upstate New York, but she was close to his heart.

“She’s a handful,” he joked. “I don’t know much about girls’ field lacrosse yet, but she’s already running around the house with a lacrosse stick.”

Another lacrosse star in the Resetarits family? One thing is true — Ripley’s father will give her every chance to succeed in his sport. It’s what his parents provided for him, and he’s ready to do the same for his daughter.

“It’s a lot of long hours, but I’m ready to do it because my parents did that for me,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my parents driving me up to Canada, helping become more of a better player. I’d like to have my kids do the same, that’s for damn sure.”