In my recap of last week, I was sure that nothing could top the performances we witnessed. Looking back, I may need to rescind that statement. The only thing that made last week look slightly worse was because of the Waterdogs blowout. There were absolutely none of those during PLL Week 5.
However, I could go on and on about how each week following will be the best week of lacrosse yet. Although I do still stand by my title for last week, I think the narrative needs to change. This PLL season is the best one we have seen so far. There is no decided ‘best’ team, with 4 or even 5 teams in contention for that spot by the end of the season.
That may seem ridiculous. How can 5 teams out of an 8 team league be in contention for the No. 1 spot? This week’s games showed us that anybody can be taken down because the two best teams in the league did. Week 5 left the PLL in absolute shambles, with a sneaky new powerhouse emerging from the rubble.
Archers Defeat Redwoods 10-9
The Redwoods are getting closer and closer to a win, battling to the very end of their last two games. After a rough start to the season, they seem to have been trying to catch a groove, but the Archer’s barrage of scoring kept them from the win column.
This game was undoubtedly the Marcus Holman show. Contributing for over half the team’s points with a whopping 6, his 4 goals (including a 2 pt shot) carried the team to incredible success.
— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) July 2, 2022
Will Manny had an uncharacteristically low-efficiency game, shooting under 9%, but leading the offense and distributing the ball are two of his other strong suits that helped the team win.
Redwoods’ TD Ierlan dominated faceoffs yet again, going 13-21 with 6 groundballs, and first-time starter Jack Kelly held it down in the crease. Although they lost, these two shined with Kelly saving 12 shots tallying up to 57%.
Rob Pannell dished out a game-high of 4 assists while Myles Jones stepped it up this week and used his physicality to get him on the scoreboard twice.
The Redwoods really have nothing to be down about. The game was even throughout the whole game, with rapid lead changes against one of the best offensive teams in the league. Even with a strong defense, when Holman or Manny, or even Shreiber and Moore have a good game, we all know the onslaught in store.
Atlas Dodge Comeback, Defeating Chrome 14-13
The Atlas narrowly avoided becoming the rear of every Lacrosse article in the country on Friday, escaping a second Chromeback by winning 14-13. This game was defined by runs. Each team went back and forth, finding shooting spurts, while the other was desperate to catch up.
The two players who couldn’t lose their heat were the top 2 picks in the PLL Draft, Chris Gray, and Logan Wisnauskas. In the battle of the rookies, Wisnauskas had the more outstanding performance, with 4 goals and 2 assists on 50% shooting.
Although Gray’s 5 points lost the battle to that of Wisnauskas, he won the war, leading his team to put a mark on the undefeated record of the now 4-1 Chrome. This game put the Atlas on the top of the PLL rankings, putting them in the perfect position to rest up before their game against the Redwoods.
The Faceoff battle was surprisingly close, with Baptiste edging it out over Farrell. As a high-level MVP candidate, Baptiste still showed his worth, not only winning 16 of 25 faceoffs but adding the cherry on top with an assist.
Perfectly set during the 4th of July weekend, the game was a fireworks show, with both teams fighting back and forth for a lead. Atlas led 11-6 going into halftime, and the Chrome came back with 6 goals in the third, tying the game 12-12.
In a defensive stand-off, the Atlas came out on top with a low-scoring quarter, proving that both teams were up to the challenge. The Atlas, possibly the most talented roster in the PLL, have found their way to the top yet again.
Chaos Meet the Win Column, Beating Cannons 13-11
The Chaos finally find their way to a hard-fought win, beating an ice-cold Cannons team in the stretch. With stellar performances by the newly acquired NLL players and Blaze Riorden in the goal, they now have a fully stacked roster ready for regular-season lacrosse.
The standout of the NLL bunch was Josh Byrne. Coming back after a loss in the NLL championship and a blowout against the Waterdogs, Byrne put up 4 points on 3 goals, leading his team in scoring in the victory. However, possibly the biggest standout performance on offense was midfielder Kyle Jackson. His 3 goals were made on only 3 shots, putting him at an astounding 100% shooting.
The last of the Chaos superstars was reigning MVP Blaze Riordan. He showed his true 2021 self, doubling the Cannons in saves with 20 on a rate of 65%. Against an electric Cannons’ offense, this is a feat to be proud of.
Cannons’ scoring was very top-heavy, with three guys getting most of the credit. Drenner, Thompson, and Charalambides combined for 9 of the team’s 11 goals. The team combined for only 4 assists, and Asher Nolting has a slow game shooting 1 for 11 on the day.
What really changed the game for the Chaos was working as a unit. They had 3 more players score a point than the opposition, and their assists nearly doubled the Cannons as well.
Both teams face strong opponents after the all-star break. The Chaos, coming off of the win, hope to continue that momentum against 3rd ranked Whipsnakes, while the Cannons match up against the 4th ranked Archers. Both teams are respectable in their own right, and could help the lesser opposition find their way up the power rankings.
Waterdogs Upset Whipsnakes, 11-10
In outstanding fashion, the second undefeated team goes down this week to the wrath of the Waterdogs. This team has been shredding the league apart, with the dominant win last week over the Chaos and now beating the Whipsnakes in a nail-biter.
Some thought last week’s win was a fluke for the Waterdogs, and I had some concerns myself. But seeing them play this week and seeing their physicality throughout the game, this Waterdogs team is on the road to success.
An absolutely underrated performance from the Waterdogs backup goalie Dillon Ward coming in after an NLL championship, where Matt DeLuca took the reigns up to this point. He had 12 saves and clocked in at the highest save percentage of the weekend with 67%, putting him in a close battle with Blaze as the goalie of the week (I’m giving it to Blaze anyways having 8 more saves).
The Waterdog wealth was spread like Robinhood today, with 5 goal scorers and 4 having more than one. Of the scoring bunch, their shooting percentage was good, even if those who didn’t score drastically tipped the scale. The defense played physical, with 6 different players causing a turnover.
Although the Whipsnakes got the ball around as well, they just weren’t hitting their shots as consistently. This game was close in every aspect, on the field, and on paper. There was chippiness, there was great offense and great defense. The Waterdogs just looked like they wanted it more.
These two teams, along with all of the others, are getting much-needed rest during all-star break. There’s a heavy amount of injuries plaguing each roster, and especially for the Waterdogs, facing the Chrome in Fairfield will be no easy task, especially with a banged-up roster.