The parity of the Premier Lacrosse League was on full display during week 4. The last undefeated team in the league, Archers LC, went down at the hands of the Chrome. Oddly enough, the Chrome was also the only team to get blown out this weekend, getting hammered by the Atlas after beating arguably the two best teams in the league.
The lesson? There are no lessons. Every team is a threat. You just hope your favorite team is playing their best ball come September. Let’s take a closer look at each game of PLL week 4 action.
Game 1: The king-slaying men of Chrome come through again, defeating Archers 8-7
The Chrome have flipped a disappointing, injury-riddled start to the season into a delightful run of unlikely upsets. To silence anyone who pointed to the Whipsnakes’ injuries as a reason for the Chrome’s win last weekend, they followed that game up with a win against a fully-loaded, firing-on-all-cylinders Archers team. And they did so in an unlikely fashion.
The Archers entered this one averaging a cool 16 points-per-game, with a season-low of 12. Outscoring them felt like the solution. Instead, the Chrome dragged this one into the mud, clogging up the lightning-quick Archers’ O and playing opportunistic offense on the other end. The Chrome SSDMs were excellent, stopping the Archers from capitalizing on those matchups and holding the team to only seven (!) goals. Chrome head coach Tim Soudan remains in perpetual shock that Ryan Terefenko fell to him in the second round, and he was a difference maker, putting up impressive defensive stands and pushing in transition.
Offensively, it was all about Colin Heacock (#HeacockonPeacock). He used his big frame to grind down on the Archers’ D, ending up with four goals, including this beauty of a game-winner.
He was gritty and workmanlike, absorbing punishment and giving out his fair share to help his team pull off another upset.
PLL Betting Breakdown: Very few thought the Chrome could do it again, and as a result, Archers were -400 favorites on the moneyline. Those who rode the underdog benefitted immensely, but those who figured the Archers were a lock for a moneyline parlay had their weekends ruined early.
Game 2: Redwoods outlast the Waterdogs in the rain, winning 19-16
After the first half, I had about 37 sentences loaded up about the Waterdogs thriving in the wet conditions. Original? No. But were they funny and clever? Also no. Before I had the chance to bust them out, however, the Redwoods roared back from a 10-5 deficit to wrestle control of this old-fashioned shootout away from the Dogs in the second half.
TD Ierlan (77%) was dominant once again, often winning the ball before the ravenous wings on the Waterdogs had a chance to get involved. He gave the Redwoods a bevy of offensive threats to get cooking, as Sergio Perkovic buried two goals and two two-pointers to tally six points in the contest. Ryder Garnsey had four of his own and Jules Heningburg had three, and Kyle Harrison turned back the clock for this gem.
There were some impressive performances from the Waterdogs as well, particularly by Connor Kelly and Zach Currier. They combined for 15 points, and Currier put on a two-way midfielder clinic. I have officially decided that 10 Zach Curriers will beat 10 of any other player in a game until further notice.
PLL Betting Breakdown: This game eviscerated the over, clearing the 22.5 mark comfortably in the third quarter. Otherwise, this one went chalk, with the favorite Redwoods winning and covering the spread.
Game 3: Things get Chaotic on Long Island with 14-10 Chaos win
For a time, it felt as if Paul Rabil would have a storybook day. He came out firing, leading the Cannons to an early 8-4 lead, breaking John Grant Jr.’s record for career points in professional field lacrosse with 644. And he did so in impressive fashion.
Rabil was clearly emotional when he got the record and had to take a moment to compose himself.
Chaos LC, however, was content to spoil the day for the Cannons, with Blaze Riorden leading the charge. Riorden was ridiculous from all levels, keeping the game from getting away from the Chaos early and forming the backbone for a run in the second half.
Faceoff man Max Adler finally got on track at the stripe against rookie Peyton Smith, and, believe or not, the Chaos offense has improved as it more closely resembled that of the team in last season’s playoff run. Mac O’Keefe and Josh Byrne are developing some real chemistry in the two-man game, as they combined for nine points. In addition, Ryan Smith’s finishing touch on the other side has been a boon since he stepped into the lineup as he scored three times.
Jack Rowlett’s role in limiting Lyle Thompson was essential as well, and he helped cause another quiet day for the star attackman. Things got chippy a couple times in this one, but ultimately nothing got too out of hand.
PLL Betting Breakdown: There’s been value in the Chaos on the moneyline in the past couple weeks, as they’ve covered the spread and won straight up as an underdog in back-to-back weeks. This one just snuck under the 24.5 total as well.
Game 4: Whipsnakes emerge victorious in the clash of the titans, win 15-14
Perhaps the most anticipated matchup of the PLL season so far lived up to the hype. This one was a high-scoring, back-and-forth barnburner that was knotted up into the dying moments, before a Jay Carlson heat-seeker put the Whipsnakes in front.
The Whipsnakes are typically a two-headed monster on offense with Zed Williams and Matt Rambo. With Rambo out, however, the team proved to be more of a hydra, as contributions from the rest of the offense, particularly Brad Smith (4G, 1A) and Carlson (3G), helped the Snakes penetrate a strong Archers’ defense.
As has been the case in their matchups historically, Joe Nardella was dominant, winning 72% of his draws and creating opportunities in transition. With two teams that are primed for playoff lacrosse, Archers will need a solution at the stripe to challenge the Whips for Premier Lacrosse supremacy.
PLL Betting Breakdown: A rare game with Whipsnakes as the underdog shows why it doesn’t happen often. If you saw the anomaly and hammered the Whips, you benefitted. The over hit as well, and the Archers go 0-2 against the spread this weekend.
Game 5: Atlas post complete game to cool Chrome momentum, winning 16-10
I suppose Atlas weren’t heavy enough favorites for Chrome to get up for this one.
That said, this had to be what Ben Rubeor envisioned when he overhauled the Atlas offense, trading aging veterans and filling their spots with young talent. The ball whirled around the field, and seemingly every player was a threat to attack, keep the ball moving, or firing at the net. While this is an egalitarian offense, it was Bryan Costabile’s day, as he was a two-way dynamo in this one, putting up five scores and an assist, and making plays on both ends of the field. He is officially a challenger to Zach Currier in the “10 of this guy vs. 10 of that guy” tournament.
Led by Tucker Durkin and Michael Rexrode, the defense was tight in front of Jack Concannon, who was excellent through three quarters. Unfortunately, Concannon was notably absent to start the fourth, eventually heading to an ambulance. At the moment, his situation is unclear, but we hope Concannon is okay after sustaining an injury.
After two huge wins and playing in the second game of the weekend, the Chrome clearly just didn’t have the same juice in this one. Ryan Terefenko stood out once again, and he and Atlas rookie SSDM Danny Logan did a live action rendering of the “two Spiderman” meme, with both making plays up and down the field. Beyond that, there was little to like in this one for Chrome. Notably, Sean Sconone was between the pipes instead of John Galloway, who has been excellent of late.
PLL Betting Breakdown: This game gave overs the edge on the weekend, as gambling archetype “the blind over-bettor” went 3-2 this weekend. Atlas win and cover as well, as all victors this weekend also covered the spread.
Epoch Moments of the Week
Stripping your opponent of the ball and taking him to the turf will often neutralize him. That isn’t the case when you’re defending Tom Schreiber.
Although the Archers lost both games, Grant Ament did what every athlete dreams of doing in the internet age: make a guy fall over without touching him.
In the rainiest affair of the weekend, many a two-bomb were detonated. One of them, however stood out above the rest. With time running down in the first quarter, Connor Kelly unloaded this missile.
Also, death, taxes, and Mac O’Keefe ripping underhands into the sun. He’s solving this PLL thing now, goalies beware.
Finally, Romar Dennis has officially patented the two-point jumpshot. Until further notice, it is a Dennis Double.
Looking ahead to Week 5
With a muddled middle-class in the PLL, this next week is full of matchups for teams to really put themselves in the class of contender. The weekend kicks off with a rematch between the Cannons and Waterdogs, with both teams needing to get back on track with a win to avoid the eight-spot in the standings.
A Redwoods-Whipsnakes game follows, and the Redwoods will see if their new additions can tip the rivalry in their favor. This also marks the first clash between TD Ierlan and Joe Nardella, a fascinating battle between arguably the two best in the faceoff business. The Chaos and Atlas are both playing their best lacrosse of the season right now, and Chrome-Waterdogs is closing in on must-win territory for the respective squads.
Finally, Cannons will take on a hungry Archers squad. This will be the second game of the weekend for the Cannons, while the Archers will have had this one circled for days as their first chance to bounce back from a disappointing week 4. Cannons will have to bring their A-game.