Although the season is only four weeks old, the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) has been absolutely amazing to this point. Highlight reel goals, stifling defenses, spectacular goaltending, as well as heart stopping finishes have been the norm in pretty much all the games played so far.
The Faceoff Men:
If anyone had questions about how important the faceoff man was, just look at this past weekend. Atlas beat the Archers 10-9, where Trevor Baptiste went 19 for 22, giving Atlas many more possessions but also disrupting the offense of the Archers. In the second quarter the Archers had no offense at all, and down the stretch in the fourth, they only scored once.
In Chrome’s victory over the Cannons, the Cannons had a five goal lead with less than half a quarter to go. Connor Farrell was perfect on the draw gaining possession time after time. Chrome was able to mount a comeback to tie the game in regulation, and then win in overtime.
In the Whipsnakes 12-11 victory over the Redwoods, two of the best faceoff men in the business faced off against each other. Joe Nardella (16 of 23) of the Whipsnakes had a slight advantage over TD Ierlan (10 of 25) of the Redwoods and that was the difference in a one goal game.
Skilled Players and Highlight Reel Goals:
By far the most amazing goal I witnessed this past weekend was the one handed flip into the top corner by Jeff Teat of Atlas, who has thrilled us week after week with his skill and talent. Matt Rambo has shown he can score from anywhere as well. Lyle Thompson, always dangerous wherever he is on the field, with the help of rookie Asher Nolting, have made the Cannons a fun team to watch. Another rookie that has been really outstanding is former Maryland attackman Logan Wisnauskas. After winning the NCAA Division I Championship a few weeks back, Wisnauskas hasn’t missed a beat. He has been thrilling crowds week after week with his natural ability, and prowess at the net.
With the return of Zed Williams, Dhane Smith, Josh Byrne, and Chase Fraser, after the NLL playoffs, the excitement level will hit an even higher fevered pitch. The athletic abilities of these guys, combined with their skill sets, make this must see TV.
As mentioned above, Asher Nolting (8g,5a) and Logan Wisnauskas (10g,2a) have been outstanding this year. Big additions for the league are Brendan Nichtern (8g,8a) of Chrome, and Chris Gray (5g, 1-2pt g,4a) of Atlas. Also Matt Moore (9g,4a) and Connor DeSimone (5g,4a) of the Archers. These guys have been exciting to watch, and are game changers every time they step on the field.
Bruising defenses have made this season even more exciting to watch. Garrett Epple leads the league with 10 caused turnovers, while Jake Pulver has 7. Mike Manley and Eddy Glazener are tied with 6. The athletic abilities of the defenses have made quick transitions the norm, treating fans to non-stop action in every game.
The PLL is blessed to have so many skilled guys playing net. Goalies like Jack Concannon, Kyle Bernlohr, Sean Sconone, Blaze Riorden, Nick Marrocco etc., have been spectacular even in losses. Marrocco leads the league with 59 saves. Kyle Bernlohr, and Jack Concannon lead the PLL tied with a 60% save percentage.
A Change In The Balance Of Power:
In the first few years the Whipsnakes (2019, 2020), and Chaos (2021) have been the PLL champions. To this point, Chrome and Atlas have been the class of the league. They have put everyone on notice that there will be very exciting battles throughout the summer.
Television and Social Media:
The new TV deal with ESPN and TSN has been exceptionally done. The production value has been top notch. Great camera angles, with informative broadcasters have made the broadcasts very enjoyable. Poignant questions from the sideline reporters, and the direct communication to players through a helmet microphone have given added perspective to the game.
The PLL is adding a Champions Tournament in the month of February. The top 4 teams from the summer season make it to the tournament. This will be set in the form of the Olympic Six format to be introduced at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. I have no question in my mind that by the time those Olympics come around, the PLL, TV producers, as well as the players will have perfected the format, thus giving the world an experience they will never forget!
Don’t forget to check us out every Sunday night at 9pm (ET)
Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.
An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.
Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.
In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.
Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).
Mr. Groob also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.
Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.