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PLL Week 8 Preview – The Playoff Race Commences

Lacrosse article at Knup Sports

With the playoffs in sight, teams are fighting for their spot in the tournament. Tommy Burch previews the games for the weekend and explains their key matchups.

With one team being left out of the playoff race, the bottom competitors are fighting their way in. The last spot is open for the bottom three teams, and this week’s game may be the deciding factor.

Two of these bottom teams are facing off this weekend, and it may change the playoff dynamic. However, there is room for upsets this week, and some of the better teams are on their way down.

Cannons vs Redwoods

In the only game on Friday, the Cannons and Redwoods battle for the very last playoff spot. If the Cannons lose, they may be out of playoff contention for good.

Although the Cannons are a proven superior offensive team and have consistency in the goal, the Redwoods have the experience and defensive effort. Garrett Epple is one of the best defensive players in the league, and he’s matched up against one of the most skilled lacrosse players of all time in Lyle Thompson.

Thompson is the league’s leading scorer right now, and the Redwoods’ defense will be swarming him. This gives Asher Nolting and Ryan Drenner more room to succeed.

This game will be a shootout, and last week proved that the Cannons are still capable of competing with the best. Paired with the Redwoods’ scrap, this game may be the closest of the weekend, and should be a great watch.

Chaos vs Chrome

Farrell is slated for a redemption game, he should have a much easier time navigating the X. Possibly the most dominant matchup of the weekend, keeping the ball on the Chaos offense may be difficult.

What will be much more exciting to watch is the goalie battle. Blaze Riorden and Sean Sconone are two of the top goalies in the league, even if their save percentage doesn’t always match.

The Chrome really has an all-around advantage in this game, but the Chaos offense may show their true colors. The tag-team of Josh Byrne and Dhane Smith against the defensive duo of Mike Manley and JT Giles-Harris will be an excellent battle of strength and will.

I personally think the offensive prowess in the Chrome is almost unmatched, but the Chaos should be able to score at will when they have the ball. What will decide the game is goalie and faceoff play, and we may see a game of runs.

Waterdogs vs Atlas

The win streak Waterdogs play the second seed Atlas in a game to prove who deserves to be at the top of the ladder. The Dogs barely made it past the Cannons last weekend, and hope to make up for it against the Bulls.

In another game where the faceoff battle seems already won, my personal MVP in Trevor Baptiste is coming in to solidify his 70% win rate against a back-and-forth Waterdogs squad. However, The Tucci-Withers FOGO work may be just enough to keep Baptiste at bay with their shared playing experience this season.

The second highest save percentage by a goalie belongs to the Atlas and their star net-protector Jack Concannon. Dillon Ward has put the league on notice with his late start and incredible play, but Concannon takes the cake.

What interests me most about these teams is their battle on the offense. Kieran McArdle has pulled together a couple of incredible games, and Michael Sowers remains one of the better shooters in the PLL.

The Teat/Gray attack squad may be their kryptonite, but I can safely say that the battle will be won by the offense. Dillon Ward is slated to prove his worth yet again, and this game will be a shooting match from the get-go.

Archers vs Whipsnakes

The best offensive team in the league matched up against the best defensive team in the league? This is like Michael Jordan guarding Steph Curry for god’s sake.

The defensive mastery has proven more successful, as the Whipsnakes stand atop the standings at 6-1. The Archers may not be in the same conversation, yet they still shoot the lights out like SC30.

The Archers’ offense was already elite, but with Ament back in the lineup, things change even more. The Whipsnakes’ defense needs to remain honest and slide with a purpose because leaving this team with an open shot can be deadly.

Although the Archers are clearly ahead with the offense, the faceoff and goalie competition are almost unfair. The Snakes boast the second highest faceoff win percentage in the league from Joe Nardella followed by the best save percentage in the league from Kyle Bernlohr.

Without a doubt, the Archers are going to put up points. The Snakes’ defense will do their best, but I predict the A’s ending up with double-digit points. However, if the Snakes can hold them off and score in transition, the game may be won.

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