Just when you think you have these Premier Lacrosse League teams figured out, a major shake up to the standings occurs. Teams like the Waterdogs erased their negative score differential to leap frog several teams in the standings, while other teams like the Archers found themselves on a losing streak. Additionally, five teams had the opportunity to clinch a playoff spot, but the Cannons delayed that from happening. In the end, Week 5 went off with a bang. Let’s take a closer look at each game that occurred in PLL Week 5.
Game 1: Dogs dominate from first whistle, down Cannons in route, 19-7
The Cannons decided to make a move for new personnel leading up to Week 5, trading Chris Hogan (SSDM) and Drew Simoneau (FO) for Kevin Reisman (FO), in hopes to improve their play at the stripe. Coach Sean Quirk’s hopes for new found success at the stripe were dashed by Jake Withers and the Waterdogs’ FO unit. Withers and the Dogs made each faceoff a 50/50 groundball and won 72% of the draws against Reisman and company. Similar disorganization on the Cannons’ defensive end essentially made the game make-it take-it for the Waterdogs early in the contest.
The Cannons’ defense was only able to create 7 CTOs and the Dogs had 50 shots and nine (9!) players record at least two points. When the Cannons actually had possession of the ball, they rarely were productive, tallying an equal number of turnovers as shots on goal (17). Most of the turnovers caused by the Waterdogs were passes, arguably forced, to the crease to covered Cannons’ offensive players. It was a dominant performance from the Waterdogs and you can see below in the PLT Win Probability vs Time graph that the Cannons were never in contention:
PLL Betting Breakdown: Over 26.5 bettors lamented as the game total finished at 26. Certainly a disappointing under when one team drops 19. Waterdogs ML bettors deserved their rewards!
Game 2: Redwoods defeat Whips in rivalry contest, 13-7
The Whips and ‘Woods matched up for the fifth time in the touted PLL rivalry. Although the Whipsnakes led the series 4-1, two of the matchups ended in overtime and are considered as some of the best games in recent field lacrosse history. This time around, the Redwoods smelled blood in the water as the Whipsnakes were without two of the best players at their respective positions, Matt Rambo and Michael Ehrhardt, and took full advantage of it.
While the final score did not reflect a tight contest, the highly touted matchup at the stripe between TD Ierlan and Joe Nardella did not disappoint. Ierlan (54%, 5 GB) won the slight edge at the stripe thanks to some noticeable help from John Sexton (1 CT, 3 GB) on the wing.
The Redwoods were dominant, particularly on the defensive end, led by Tim Troutner (17 Sv, 71 %) and Eddy Glazener (2 CT, 1 GB). Fans were able to listen in on Glazener directing the defense that never let up more than two goals in a quarter against the Whips.
The Whipsnakes made some questionable decisions defensively, choosing to assign the LSM to Myles Jones rather than Jules Heningburg. While the strategy was likely chosen due to Myles higher production in assists from drawing slides when given the SSDM matchup, Heningburg (3 G, 1 A) proved deadly against the shortie matchup and you can see how well Jones can dodge against a long stick.
Bernlohr (6 Sv, 43 %) continued to struggle between the pipes, and was eventually pulled for Brian Phipps (3 Sv, 38 %) who did not find much more success. Their defense was struggling to keep the Redwoods from high percentage shots, exemplified by the classic K18 jump shot right on the door step to put the Redwoods up 13-7.
PLL Betting Breakdown: If you tailed Bet On Lacrosse’s Doug Greenberg, then under 25.5 total goals was the play and it proved to be successful. In the lowest scoring matchup between these two teams to date, the total finished at a comfortable 20 total goals.
Game 3: Atlas fans bullish after another victory over Chaos, 16-10
The Chaos started this one out strong, getting an early three-goal lead. But the rest of the game showed they are still plagued by the same problems as early in the season: Max Adler (32%, 4 GB) struggled at the stripe, the offense only generated 29 shots (to the Atlas’ 48), and Blaze Riorden (18 Sv, 55%) saw 33 (!) shots on goal. Romar Dennis described why the Atlas were seeing that level of success after scoring the Atlas’ sixth straight goal:
The Atlas run was extended to nine unanswered goals by Trevor Baptiste (70% FO, 11 GB, 1 G) who had a phenomenal night for the Bulls. And finally, what would have been a player-of-the-week performance if Lyle Thompson didn’t exist on Sunday, Jeff Teat (4 G, 4 A) seemed unstoppable and was pivotal in maintaining the Atlas’ lead. He can still score even starting from the ground and facing a double team.
One big question mark leading into Week 5 was the performance of JD Colarusso. The Albany grad was starting his first PLL contest after Jack Concannon suffered a lower body injury during the previous week. Colarusso (10 Sv, 53 %) stepped up for the Atlas defensive unit and proved that the Bulls can win with him in the starting lineup. The Atlas continue to look increasingly dangerous heading down the final stretch of the season.
PLL Betting Breakdown: Under bettors were left with their face in their palms as John Crawley casually netted a 2G late in the contest. Atlas bettors should be bullish, as their squad has scored no less than 12 points after week 1 and have covered against the spread five games in a row.
Game 4: Waterdogs vault up standings with 12-6 victory over Chrome
Consistency is the key to winning (when playing well) and the Waterdogs put up a nearly identical performance as they did against the Cannons. Withers (59%, 5 GB, 1 G) and the Waterdogs’ FO unit continued to be productive, winning 59% of draws. Dillon Ward (9 Sv, 60%) produces his second performance with at least a 60% day in cage after struggling earlier in the season. While the first quarter was a slow start for both teams, with only two total goals scored, the Waterdogs outpaced the Chrome in the following two quarters scoring 11-3. The Dogs’ offense again produced almost 50 shots and had nine (9!) players with at least two points. The pace of offensive production was almost as hard to keep up with as Mikie Schlosser on an alley dodge.
Zach Currier (2 A, 6 GB) also continued to play as the most well-rounded player in the league. If the Waterdogs offense can continue this pace of offensive production and distribution, their future looks very bright going into the late season.
PLL Betting Breakdown: Under bettors should be happy that they felt life isn’t too short to bet the under in this low-scoring contest.
Game 5: Marrocco saves the day in Cannons’ upset over Archers, 13-12
The Archers had a long break after a tough double-header weekend in Week 4. A well-rested Archers team made interesting decisions going into the Sunday matchup against a Cannons team who got smacked around on Friday. Coach Chris Bates gave Conor Gaffney (39 %, 4 GB) the nod for his PLL debut at the stripe after a storied career at Lehigh. While Reisman (57 %, 11 GB) had a much better game for the Cannons by the end, the two FO men were in a 50-50 battle going into halftime. The Archers wings were not as oppressive as the Waterdogs’ unit on Friday, allowing Reisman to win more clean draws and for the Cannons’ wings to help collect contested GBs. Ultimately, the improved FO performance by the Cannons unit helped keep them in contention in an otherwise brutally even game.
The Archers’ defense started with an interesting game plan: aggression. They were fighting through picks to maintain matchups, waiting to slide, and pressing out, only allowing one goal in the first quarter. Taking advantage of a slow offensive start for the Cannons, the Archers offensively looked back to form hanging four in the first quarter. It was beginning to look like Friday Night Lacrosse all over again. A major second quarter readjustment for the Cannons allowed them to take advantage of an overly aggressive defense.
Paul Rabil (1 G) became the silent hero of the game, initiating the two-man game particularly for Lyle Thompson (5 G, 4 A). Constant pick-and-roll plays caused the Archers’ D to have to adjust and switch on picks. However, switching on picks meant you had to defend Lyle and Stephen Rehfuss (2 G, 3 A) with SSDMs and slide earlier. Lyle didn’t stop with the SSDMs though, accepting picks and then dodging against what seemed like any Archer that wanted the matchup and he was winning. These early slides let Ryan Drenner (2 G) and Shayne Jackson (3 G, 1 A) contribute off ball. While the Cannons found new life offensively, the Archers continued doing what they do best, putting up four more goals in impressive style largely thanks to Grant Ament’s ability to distribute when initiating from X.
By the end of the second, the Cannons were only down a goal, 8-7. Both offenses were firing on all cylinders making dizzying feeds and beating their individual matchups. The Cannons took the lead in a third quarter dominating performance, featuring only one Archers goal. A single-goal fourth quarter performance by the Cannons allowed the Archers to crawl back. With five minutes left, Tom Schrieber (1 G, 2 A) put up his only goal to bring the Archers within 1.
The Archers wouldn’t score for the rest of the game even though the they had the majority of possession and a power play in the final minutes. It took three power play stops to win, capped off by multiple “Marroculous” saves by the Cannons’ netminder.
The Cannons didn’t secure a firm advantage until the third quarter. The lack of possessions, shots, and committing penalties gave the Archers a major chance to come back and tie or win. The huge power play defensive stand and saves by Marrocco gave the Cannons a very unexpected win, holding off the Archers, as can be seen with the below Win Probability vs Time plot.
PLL Betting Breakdown: Cannons ML bettors deserve their hard-earned money at the close +295! The Cannons now have a 4-2 record against the spread and are a perfect 4-0 as underdogs. Given their usual position as the dog in their matchups, there is potential value if they are plus money dogs to cover the spread in the future. The Cannons-Archers goal total opened at 24.5, but by the time Sunday rolled around, that total had moved to 25.5. If you were one of the unlucky bettors who bet the over after the total had shifted, then the ending of this game was not kind to you.
Epoch Moments of the Weekend
I know you already saw this goal earlier, but we only have a few more weeks of K18 left. Watching the G.O.A.T at his craft. It’s always worth a second look.
You know another thing I could watch over and over again? Long pole goals. Eli Gobrecht snagged one early on in the Dogs’ drubbing of the Cannons.
That’s speed boy! Trevor Baptiste notched his first goal of the season against the Chaos. Bulls fans are hoping it’s not his last.
You’re only supposed to be able to do this with a whiffle ball. We all know Ben Reeves is becoming a doctor, but I didn’t think he was becoming Doctor Xavier.
We started with a play you already saw. We are ending with one as well, but this time in slow-mo. This stop-of-the-year to date potentially saved the Cannon’s season. Marrocco has clearly been watching the Olympic trials with that acrobatic feat.
Looking Ahead to All-Star Weekend
We are two weeks away from our next regular season game, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have a match-up to watch this weekend, The League heads to San Jose for it’s all-star game as Grant Ament’s Adversaries take on Blaze Riorden and the Defenders.
While there were, unfortunately, a number of changes to all-star rosters due to injury, Ament’s and Riorden’s squads match up for what should be a fun battle at Paypal Park.