In the title game, we were a little surprised that the Chrome didn’t purposely seek out Atlas stars that were “trapped” on defense.
Romar Dennis particularly struggled in the first quarter by mismanaging a two man game and getting lost off ball during substitutions.
Outside of these two moments, Dennis and Costabile weren’t tested much at all as cover guys and not put in high leverage situations off ball.
Now we only closely watched every possession of the first quarter. Whatever the Chrome did moving forward offensively and defensively was enough to capture the first PLL sixes title.
How did they do it if they didn’t isolate and pick on certain match ups?
Every roster decision was impeccable.
Their stars played like stars.
Their role players contributed more than the competition’s second wave.
Cole Williams, ’21 Hopkins, didn’t get any PLL time in 2021 and only saw action in four games this summer, chipped in a second quarter goal in the title game that triggered a three goal run for the Chrome. For the tournament, he had 18 points on 12 1PT, 1 2PT, and 4 assists. He was a 57% shooter.
Did you even know Alexander Smith was a 6’2″ defensive middie on Maryland’s 2022 championship team? You mean to say that the Terps had three PLL caliber defensive middies on their roster last year?
Smith played in zero PLL games last summer for the Cannons but he scored 7 goals on 13 shots including a first quarter goal in the title game.
How about getting 5 points, 5 caused turnovers, 6 ground balls from Harrison Bardwell ’22 Cornell? He’s another guy who didn’t get any playing time this summer. He was picked up from the player pool then contributed a second quarter goal and fourth quarter assist in the title game.
Gibson Smith IV, someone we thought would be a player to watch, shined incredibly bright. Despite being a multi time All American at Georgetown, he didn’t dress for one game last summer. In the Championship Series, he plays with a short stick and delivers 8 points, 4 caused turnovers, and 10 ground balls.
In the finals, he assisted Bardwell’s goal in the second quarter then scored in the fourth on a breakaway moments after defending Romar Dennis.
And, they won the title without head coach Tim Soudan.
Assistants Jacques Monte and Matt Kerwick led the sixes roster.
Consider the pivotal fourth quarter of the title game in which the Chrome outscored the Atlas 9-7 on their way to a 24-23 win.
The Atlas goal scorers were Jake Carraway and Romar Dennis. Carraway had two 1PTs and Dennis had 2 2PT goals.
Chrome got contributions from Justin Anderson, Gibson Smith IV, Colin Heacock, Dylan Molloy and Jackson Morrill.
The Atlas offensive stars were out of gas and their defense wasn’t good enough to repel wave after Chrome wave.
No team was at full strength in the Championship Series. The Chrome staff was just better at building and nurturing their roster.