The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) kicked off opening weekend on June 4th at the famous John Fallon Field, home of the Albany Great Danes. The games consisted of upsets, surprise performances, and two single score wins that gave the Lacrosse world a taste of what’s next.
There were four bouts that spanned the weekend. There were 2 matches played on Saturday. A match between the reigning champions, the Chaos, and the champions of the year prior, the Whipsnakes. The Atlas, the number one contender for 2022, facing off against the constantly consistent Redwoods.
On Sunday, two more hard-fought battles took place. The two newest teams of the PLL, the Waterdogs and the Cannons faced off in a grudge match. Then, to finish off the weekend, the Chrome and Archers stood off in a close game decided by a high-scoring fourth quarter.
Opening weekend was just as we expected: a bloodbath. With no set rankings and contenders, each team is on equal ground to march their way to a championship victory. In many sports, you hear the term ‘anything can happen’ all too often, but in the PLL, these words mean so much more.
Chaos vs Whipsnakes
The Chaos defeat the Whipsnakes by just one score, ending in a total of 9-8. Although down 2 at the half, the Chaos rally back in the 3rd and score 3 unanswered points.
Reigning MVP Blaze Riorden showed again why he’s one of the best in the game, boasting 13 saves at a rate of 59%. Although he played well, the Whipsnakes played better, causing 6 turnovers to the Chaos’s 2.
The Chaos were no laughing matter themselves, with 6 different players scoring a goal throughout the game. This type of depth should help them in future endeavors, and they should be hopeful for a successful future.
With Mike Chanenchuk and Justin Geterding’s 3 points apiece alongside an outstanding defensive effort, the team outlasted the 2021 Champions and move to 1-0.
Redwoods vs Atlas
To no one’s surprise, the Atlas came out strong, with 4 first-quarter points. After an incredible second-half run, the Atlas beat out the Redwood 17-11.
The Atlas was a force on offense, with Jeff Teat and Eric Law having 7 points apiece, and rookie Chris Gray makes an immediate impact scoring 2 goals. Two-way midfielder Bryan Costabile had an outstanding game, dishing out 2 assists to his 1 goal.
Although the Redwoods made a complete effort, they were just simply outplayed. Goalie Jack Kelly struggled, only saving 23% of his shots, and the defense couldn’t keep up with the Atlas firepower.
Something to look forward to for the Redwoods is their defensive potential. They beat the Atlas in ground balls and caused turnovers, which can definitely help them in the future. For now, keep your heads up and look ahead to next week.
Waterdogs vs Cannons
In a surprise turn of events, the Cannons caught fire against the 2021 regular season champs, winning in convincing fashion at a score of 16-10. They started the game with 7 goals, and the Waterdogs never caught enough traction to fight their way back up.
The MVP of the week was easily Nick Marrocco. With 19 saves at a rate of 66%, Nick was the best goalie in the PLL this weekend. He found his way onto every Lacrosse highlights page with an unbelievable save reaching backside across the net and was the catalyst for an incredible blowout victory by the Cannons.
Marrocco’s counterpart on offense this week was none other than Lyle Thompson. Proving he can still hang with the best, he gives the Cannons 6 points with 4 goals and 2 assists on 50% shooting. He, with the help of Ryan Drenner, led their offense to unreachable heights.
The Waterdogs couldn’t find their groove on offense due to the outstanding game of Marrocco, and their morale is low. On the bright side, not every week does a goalie play like the second coming of Brian Dougherty.
Chrome vs Archers
To finish off the weekend, the Chrome and Archers fought valiantly in a close match. In the end, the Chrome came out on top, winning 11-10. Captained by an outstanding effort by Conner Farrell, the game came down to who had more possessions, and the Chrome did just that.
Farrell was outstanding on the line, finishing 14-23 on faceoffs with 11 ground balls. They were incredible with their ball movement and beat out the Archers in almost every major statistical category. Dylan Molloy ended the game with 4 points, and Sean Sconone did well to protect the net saving 52% of his shots.
The Archers were not as lucky. Although they had three players score 4 points, they could not win the faceoff battle and their goalie saved less than half of the Chrome’s shots taken.
Although this game was hard-fought, it showed a level of grit and determination for both clubs. I wouldn’t be surprised if both these teams turn out successful at the end of the year.