The PLL Championship Series is approaching and will condense an entire season of professional lacrosse into a two-week sprint starting on July 25. Pro Lacrosse Talk is covering every team and how they’ll measure up in Utah.
As our final installment, we have Archers LC. The Archers were on the verge of being one of the most exciting teams in the league last year. They have a host of new additions and are looking dangerous heading into Utah.
Did you know the Archers had one of the best defenses in the league last year? Tony Resch’s group had the fewest goals against of any team in the league and added another solid defender Eli Gobrecht in the entry draft.
Behind their quietly elite defense is a goalie situation that many teams in the league would envy. Both Adam Ghitelman and Drew Adams are starting-caliber goalie options. They experienced a good measure of success splitting time last season, and there’s no reason to think they won’t do so again in this year’s shortened format.
The big story of the tournament for Chris Bates’ squad is the addition of Grant Ament. If Marcus Holman and Will Manny are the PLL’s version of the Splash Bro’s, that might make Grant Ament their Kevin Durant.
The impact Grant Ament could have on the Archers cannot be understated. He’s a dream addition to play with Holman and Manny. He instantly cements the Archers’ attack line as one of the best in the league.
The top of the Archers’ midfield is one of the best units in the league. On the offensive side, you have Tom Schreiber and his band of merry Attack/Middie hybrids in Ryan Ambler, Josh Currier, Ian MacKay and Joey Sankey. The Archers also added Christian Mazzone who is a groundball machine and can play both ways. On the defensive side, you have Scott Ratliff and Mike Simon at pole and SSDM Dominique Alexander and Mark McNeill. When healthy, that midfield unit should be suited perfectly to the fast pace of the PLL Championship Series.
Stephen Kelly will be looking to bounce back this season after finishing sixth in faceoff percentage last season. The addition of Brendan Fowler midway through the season last year helped provide a change of pace, but this unit will need to drastically improve in 2020. If they can play make it take with this offense, this team could be unstoppable.
Most Intriguing Matchup
Archers vs. Whipsnakes, August 2
If the Archers’ championship hopes are legit, the defending champions will certainly test that. This matchup will be the biggest measuring stick. It also happens to be the last game of group play, meaning it could have major playoff ramifications when it occurs. Last season, Archers-Whips games were decided by an average of two goals. Expect this one to be a tight contest as well.
Players to Watch
Grant Ament’s fit with the Archers is obvious. If he lives up to the hype it could mean the Archers attack line is the best in the league. How he adapts his game to the faster, tighter pro-style, will be a big indicator of the Archers’ overall success.
Josh Currier flew under the radar a bit when he was picked up off the waiver wire. For one thing, the Philadelphia Wings forward hasn’t played field lacrosse competitively since 2016 when he attended Virginia Wesleyan. Yet, his presence should be immediately felt as fans can expect him to be involved in the Archers’ two-man game with Tom Schreiber. Expect Currier to be on the receiving end of a lot of Schreiber assists this season.