(Photo Courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics)
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) held their inaugural Entry Draft on Monday night, where 14 incoming players found out which teams they would be suiting up for this summer.
Here is a breakdown of each teams’ picks in the draft:
Head coach Chris Bates and Archers went two guys that maybe didn’t have as much hype coming into this draft than others. But both Eli Gobrecht and Christian Mazzone fit into this Archers team and can make immediate impacts.
Archers looked to upgrade their already impressive defense, which was the best in the league last season, with the fourth overall pick as they selected Eli Gobrecht. The former three-time All-American in college at Ithaca, Gobrecht fits in perfectly alongside Matt McMahon and Scott Ratliff. Archers’ defense is going to be quite the treat to watch this summer.
Getting midfielder Christian Mazzone drastically increases their offense at the midfield sport. With Dann Eipp and Ben McIntosh getting picked up by Waterdogs in the expansion draft, Tom Schreiber is the Archers’ only double-digit scorer. The Rutgers product can be a threat as a dodger and should really help them garner more production at the midfield this season. Mazzone is exactly the kind of player this offense needs to be successful all around.
Atlas LC and head coach Ben Rubeor were probably in the best spot of any team in the draft with the third selection. And they made one of the biggest splashes, as well, getting Rob Pannell and Craig Chick to suit their needs on both ends.
With Pannell, Atlas gets one of the best attackmen on the planet. The 2013 Tewaaraton Award winner, who is known for his famous question mark dodge, will drastically alter the look and production of Atlas’ offense next season. Joining Eric Law and Ryan Brown at attack and considering the midfield depth this squad has, Pannell can flourish as both a passer, dodger, and scorer just as he always has.
Defensively, Atlas needed to fill the hole left by Noah Richard getting picked up by Waterdogs in the expansion draft. And with Chick, they certainly do that. The NCAA’s career leader in caused turnovers, the Lehigh product is one of the best Defensemen/LSM’s to come out of college over the past few seasons. Now teamed up with Cade Van Raaphorst, Kyle Hartzell, and Tucker Durkin, Atlas’ defense instantly gets much better.
Head coach Andy Towers might have pulled out one of the biggest surprises in the draft, but also got two high-quality players that improve their defense in goalie Dillon Ward and defenseman Jason Noble. And both guys have chemistry with each other, playing on Team Canada together and both playing at Hill Academy (Ont.) in high school.
In Ward, Chaos gets arguably the best goalie in the world. Named the 2014 World Games MVP as a member of Team Canada, Ward makes any defense instantly better. And he can also spark transition offense with his impressive outlet passes that he can seemingly puts on a rope, like an NFL quarterback. With Blaze Riorden and Dillon Ward both on the Chaos’ roster, they have the best goalie duo in the league.
With Noble, they replace what they lost in Brodie Merrill. Noble, who played in college at Cornell, is not only a fantastic defender but he also has some offensive prowess to his game. His game is going to fit very well with Chaos’ fast-paced, get out and run style of play.
Chrome’s defense was very inconsistent last season, and pretty bad for the most part. Well, head coach Tim Soudan clearly had that in mind heading into this entry draft as they selected Jesse Bernhardt and Danny Moss – two defensemen.
Bernhardt, a Maryland alum and the Terrapins’ current defensive coordinator, is a solid defenseman that has shown he can make plays all over the field. On-ball, off-ball, it doesn’t matter. Bernhardt gets the job done and it only made sense for Chrome to take him second overall after losing Chris Sabia in the expansion draft and seeing Joe Fletcher retire.
Donny Moss is a name that many newer pro lacrosse fans might no recognize all that well, but he can be an impact on the back end for this Chrome squad. Also, he had played under Soudan before so it’s not a surprise at all that they elected to pick him up with their pick in the second round.
After getting Myles Jones via trade a few weeks ago, the prospect of this Redwoods team being even better than they were last season has been on the mind of lacrosse fans everywhere. And while that trade upgraded their offense, head coach Nat St. Laurent focused on defense in the entry draft, getting Finn Sullivan and faceoff man Greg Puskuldjian.
Sullivan, a Hofstra product, improves a defense that looked almost perfect at times last season. Sullivan is an elite cover guy and can really help anchor the Redwoods’ defense. He also covers “X” attackmen better than maybe anyone – which is something that will pay dividends in the PLL.
Puskuldjian immediately fills the hole that was left by Greg Gurenlian retiring after last season. The Adelphi product brings some grit to the faceoff dot and can also help jump-start the offense with his effectiveness. Simply put, while he might not have had as much hype around him as some other guys in this draft, he is a great pick up for this Redwoods squad.
The defending champions lost the most, offensively, to Waterdogs in the expansion draft. Head coach Jim Stagnitta addressed that need and more as they picked up A/M Zed Williams and SSDM TJ Comizio.
Williams, who played in college at Virginia, is an all-around stud on the offensive end. He is the closest thing to a “walking bucket” in lacrosse. Adding a player like him that can play both attack and midfield to an already impressive offense with guys like Matt Rambo and Mike Chanenchuk can only be a plus. With Williams, this offense gets even more deadly.
Comizio’s game was made for the PLL rules. The Villanova product is known for being a caused turnover machine, but he can do much more than that. He is a great one-on-one defender, can run the field as well as anyone, and can also be an offensive threat, as well. Pair him up with Ty Warner and Jake Bernhardt and that is one dangerous midfield unit, especially in transition. And not to mention, defenseman/LSM Michael Ehrhardt is also a transition threat.
In the expansion draft, Andy Copelan went for guys that could make impacts in a multitude of ways. He built an initial roster that can only be described as “positionless”. And Waterdogs added two more guys of a similar ilk in midfielder Zach Currier and LSM/Defenseman Ryland Rees.
Currier is a pure two-way guy and can make a major impact on both ends of the field. With the PLL rules and the smaller field, the Princeton product should be foaming at the mouth every time he suits up. The Peterborough, Ont. native was made for the PLL style game. And Waterdogs need a guy like him and that can make a difference in between the boxes and be a very serious offensive threat.
In Rees, the Waterdogs are getting a high-caliber LSM/Defenseman who is a transition junkie. The Stony Brook product and Port Coquitlam, B.C. native can put the ball on the ground and get early offense going in the blink of an eye. His game fits perfectly into this squad.