Editor’s note: guest post by Steven MacDonald
The Premier Lacrosse League 2023 season is fast approaching. So, I thought I would take a minute to lay out my preseason candidates for the 2023 MVP conversation.
Honorable Mentions: Mac O’Keefe, Grant Ament
My Selection: Tom Schreiber
Ament is the quarterback at X and Mac O’Keefe is a phenomenal shooter who could benefit from the absence of Marcus Holman and Will Manny at attack. However, Schreiber was seventh in scoring a year ago while ranking as the No. 1 scoring midfielder in the PLL. The man they call “Captain America” finished 2022 as the top player in the PLL Top-50.
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Teat, Bryan Costabile
My Selection: Trevor Baptiste
Baptiste showed how important he was to the Atlas a year ago when he battled a leg injury the second half of 2022. Even so, he still found himself in the MVP conversation. He led the league in faceoff win percentage at 69.9% while finishing second in ground balls with 83. Baptiste led FOGOs with 10 points; as many as the next three combined. Baptiste also finished third in the PLL Top-50, one spot ahead of Teat. Oh, and did I mention he is the reigning PLL MVP and Paul Cantabene Face-Off Athlete of the Year?
Honorable Mention: Nick Marrocco
Thompson led the league in scoring in 2022 despite missing a game during the regular-season and having the Cannons miss postseason play altogether. He tallied 44 points on a league-best 26 one point goals while taking the second most shots. In 2021, Thompson tallied 32 points and finished third in the Top-50. In 2022 he won Eamon McEneaney Attackman of the Year and ranked second on the Top-50.
Honorable Mentions: Josh Byrne, Dhane Smith
My Selection: Blaze Riorden
Riorden had been Oren Lyons Goalie of the Year three years in a row prior to 2022. Need I say more? The eighth rated player on the Top-50, Riorden also led the league in saves last year with 137. Lastly, Riorden topped the PLL Top-50 list back in 2021.
Honorable Mentions: Brendan Nichtern, JT Giles-Harris
My Selection: Logan Wisnauskas
Nichtern finished 2022 with three more points than his teammate, but he also had an extra game to do it. Wisnauskas shot better than Nichtern with a 38.7% shooting percentage to Nichtern’s 28.1%. Whatsmore, Wisnauskas took better care of the ball, turning it over just seven times on the year. Wisnauskas has what it takes – as does Nichtern – to be an MVP candidate going forward, with the former getting into the conversation in 2023.
Honorable Mentions: Myles Jones, Sergio Perkovic
My Selection: Rob Pannell
While the two Redwoods midfielders provide many highlight worthy two-pointers, Pannell produces at a high level within the offense; oftentimes setting up Jones and Perkovic for their two-point shots. Pannell finished last season tied for third in the league in points with 38 on 16 goals and 22 assists. His assist total was tied for second in the league behind Kieran McArdle and tied with Nichtern. As far as those three quarterbacks go, Pannell had the fewest turnovers of the group with 19. Pannell was an Attackman of the Year finalist in 2022 and ranked in the top-25 of the PLL Top-50 in 2022.
Honorable Mentions: Dillon Ward, Michael Sowers
My Selection: Kieran McArdle
Let’s have some fun here. As far as dark horses go this one might be the biggest on the list; but it is deserved. McArdle was second in the PLL in points last season while dishing out the most assists. His 19 goals were also the most of his PLL career. McArdle was a 2022 Attackman of the Year finalist while jumping from 43rd in the Top-50 in 2021 to 11th in 2022.
Honorable Mentions: Zed Williams, Joe Nardella, Matt Rambo
My Selection: Kyle Bernlohr
The PLL is an offensive league, which makes the goalie spot a key one defensively. No one had a higher save percentage last year than Bernlohr at 58.1%. The Whipsnakes netminder also led the league in Scores Against Average and was the only keeper with a sub 10 average. Lastly, he tied Jack Concannon for second in saves at 125 on the year.
Let me know on Twitter (@StevieMacMedia) or PLL Discord (@StevieMac) what you think of the eight player MVP list.
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