It’s playoff time and the chase for the PLL Crown gets underway this weekend with the first round going down in Columbus, Ohio. Chaos LC, Whipsnakes LC, Archers LC, and Redwoods LC are all in the championship bracket competing for the crown and the right to be called champions in the inaugural season of the league.
Archers LC comes into the playoffs after finishing the regular season 5-5, ending the season with an 11-8 win over the Whipsnakes LC to help push them into a playoff spot. Here are just three keys that they will need to hone in on if they want to make a run in the playoffs and secure the inaugural PLL Crown.
1. Control The Pace
When Archers control the pace, their offense gets firing and runs like a well-oiled machine from the midfield through the attack. While Archers primary faceoff man Stephen Kelly went 93-192 for 48.4%, the worst faceoff percentage among players who have taken at least 100 draws, it will be crucial for them to be able to control the pace in any way they can in able to even win this first game against Redwoods LC.
Whether it’s creating pace from the defensive end, Kelly getting hot at the dot, or simply playing off the opposing team’s mistakes, Archers needs to control the pace to be able and even sniff the Crown.
2. Offensive Midfield Production
Tom Schreiber is the top-scoring midfielder in the league, tallying 37 points (17G/18A) during the regular season. Schreiber has been leading the charge from the midfield, but Archers will need much more midfield production than just Schreiber if they want to make a playoff run. The option of relying solely on their attack for offensive production hasn’t shown to be that effective by any means this season.
While Ben McIntosh has shown flashes of greatness this season with his spectacular array of shooting, he will need to step up even more in the playoffs and may need to become more of a feeder in some instances, which he has certainly proved he can do. Also, Archers have an array of attackmen that can play and produce from up top at the midfield which helps them greatly, but their production from the midfield certainly needs to be much greater.
3. Consistent Defense
Archers have the best defense in the league, statistically, only allowing an average of 10.5 goals per game. Their production on that end of the field will need to stay consistent entering the playoffs, especially with them facing a fiery Redwoods offense in round one.
From the goalie duo of Drew Adams and Adam Ghitleman through the three-headed monsters in front of the cage with Scott Ratliff, Jackson Place, and Matt McMahon the Archers needs consistency. If they are able to lock down the opposing offense from front to back they have a great chance of going on a run in the playoffs. One crucial piece of their defensive look in the playoffs has to be SSDM’s Dominique Alexander and Mark McNeil. When even just one of those guys is on his game and hustling this Archers team seems to run much more effectively from front to back and especially in transition.