The PLL, aka the Premier Lacrosse League, will officially begin the playoffs on August 20th and 21st. It’s been a great season full of highlight reel goals and amazing crowd energy. There have also been some surprises in the third season of the PLL. So, you may be wondering how the playoffs work and who is in and out. Lucky for you this information can be found right here.
But first, a quick recap. The PLL has been touring the country since the start of the summer. There are no regional teams. The playoffs will begin in Salt Lake City, Utah. Utah was home to the bubble in 2020. The number one seed was clinched by Waterdogs, the second to last team in 2020. They were the expansion team in the bubble and have an automatic bye to the semi finals. Waterdogs will play the winner of Redwoods and Whipsnakes.
First Team Out and Goodbye to the Game
Only seven of the eight teams made it into the playoffs this year. Sadly, the one team left out this year is Chrome. Chrome lost their last game against Cannons where the winner would take the last playoff spot. They finished 2-7 with a -23 scoring differential. Chrome got bit by the injury bug and just couldn’t get going. To add salt to the wound, goalie John Galloway and long stick midfielder Joel White played their final game and now enter retirement. Galloway and White are best friends and played together for a long time, and they agreed it was time to go out together. Chrome will now have a huge hole to fill in net. Watch out for a possible trade with Atlas since they have a bit of a goalie controversy right now. More on this in a bit. If the league stays with the same rules as last year, Chrome should also have the first pick the college draft.
Cannons vs Atlas
As the league’s newest team, Cannons just squeaked in as the seven seed at 3-6 and a -10 score differential. They will play second seed Atlas, who have gone from worst to first. After a one win season in the bubble, they now stand at 6-3 with a +12 score differential. Each took a completely different approach when building their rosters. Cannons came over when the PLL merged with Major League Lacrosse. They wanted experienced players on their team. Atlas blew up the 2020 roster in favor of draft picks to get young talent fresh out of college.
Jeff Teat and Jake Carraway have been leading the way offensively for Atlas. Teat was the first overall pick by Atlas and Caraway was selected a little later in the first. Romar Dennis is also a name to watch at midfield. Meanwhile, Cannons has been leaning on PLL co-founder Paul Rabil at midfield as well as Lyle Thompson and Ryan Drenner at attack. It looks like Atlas goalie Jack Concannon is still sidelined by injury, so JD Colarusso gets the green light.
As mentioned before, Chrome may swing a trade for Concannon if Atlas wants to go with Colarusso moving forward, or vice versa. Colarusso only just lost his first game as a starter and holds a 3-1 season record. Cannons goalie Nick Marrocco has trouble controlling rebounds which can be deadly against the high powered Atlas offense.
Chaos vs Archers
Chaos has been a huge disappointment this year. They enter as the six seed at 4-5 with a -9 scoring differential. They will play the third seed Archers at 5-4 and a +24 scoring differential. Archers features a loaded offense with attacks Grant Ament, Will Manny and Marcus Holman. The leader of the team is midfielder Tom Schreiber, who is highly regarded as “Captain America” and the best player in the world.
Chaos features an offense led by attacks Josh Byrne, Chris Cloutier, and Chase Fraser. Chaos also has one of the best goalies in the game in Blaze Riorden, but he has had a bit of a down year by his standards. He is not the only good netminder in this matchup. The Archers have been riding Adam Ghitelman as opposed to the two goalie system they have used in the past. Ghitelman is also not afraid to leave the crease and be physical, makes sense as a former high school running back. While Chaos has a solid defense core led by Jack Rowlett and Jarrod Newman, Archers should have no problem beating up on the 2020 runner up.
Whipsnakes vs Redwoods . . . . Again
For some reason, the lacrosse gods just love this matchup. The fiercest rivalry in the game will take place in the playoffs again. Whipsnakes are 2-0 in playoff battles with Redwoods. Win one was the first PLL championship game. The second was when the Whipsnakes won the right to go to the championship game. Both were in sudden death overtime. Now they meet as the four and five seed. Whipsnakes finished 5-4 and a -11 scoring differential, while Redwoods finished 5-4 with +4 scoring differential. After a 11-0 winning streak dating back to 2020 was snapped, Whipsnakes began to struggle, and their best player Matt Rambo was hurt and missed some time. The Redwoods record does not indicate how good they are as a team.
Two things to watch here. First, a battle of the two best head coaches in the league. Nat St. Lurent for Redwoods and Jim Stagnitta for Whipsnakes. Second, two of the best face off men in the league. TD Irelan for the Woods and Joe Nardella for the Whips have been elite. Irelan did leave with an injury the last game he played but could be good to go. Along with Rambo, Zed Williams is a name to watch. Williams led the team in goals at the attack position with 23, and Rambo was right behind him with 19. Brad Williams led the team in midfielder goals with 11.
More Names to Watch
For Redwoods, watch out for attacks Rob Pannell, Matt Kavanagh, and Ryder Garnsey. For the midfielders, watch out Myles Jones, Sergio Perkovic, Jules Heningburg, and Garret Epple. Epple won’t score a lot, but he will make his presence felt as the long stick midfielder. The team will also be extra motivated to send Kyle Harrison out right as he also intends to retire after 17 seasons. This game could go either way and the tie breaker could be goaltending. Tim Troutner and Kyle Bernlohr have both been great, but one may make a critical mistake. Tune in on the NBC family of networks on Friday and Saturday as the playoffs get under way.
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