(Photo Courtesy of Premier Lacrosse)
Editors Note: The 2020 PLL season, which will be played in a tournament format called the PLL Championship Series, kicks off on July 25th in Salt Lake City, Utah. Over the next week, Lacrosse Bucket will be previewing all seven PLL teams ahead of the season.
In 2019, Archers LC went 5-5 overall in the regular season and ended up as the consolation bracket winners, beating Atlas, 25-7, in their final game of the consolation bracket.
Statistcally, they had the best defense in the league during 2019, only allowing 10.6 goals per game. And they retain pretty much that entire unit. From the goalie duo of Drew Adams and Adam Ghitleman through the three-headed monsters in front of the cage at close defense with Scott Ratliff, Jackson Place, and Matt McMahon, Archers put a premium on returning that core group this offseason. And they even got better on that end of the field, adding Eli Gobrecht through the entry draft.
However, the story is much different on the offensive end. While their offense did feature one of the best tandems of shooters on the wings with attackmen Will Manny and Marcus Holman, who ranked first and second in goals during the regular season, and a quarterback at the midfield with Tom Schreiber, who ranked second in the lgeaue in points and assist, their offense as a whole seemed to come to a standstill at times last season. But that montra looks to be changing this season with the addition of No. 1 overall draft pick Grant Ament entering the picture at the X attack spot.
The Penn State product not only fills the the hole left by Christian Cuccinello being picked up by Waterdogs in the expansion draft, but Ament’s sheer presence raises the expectations for this offense exponentially coming into the 2020 season. With Ament, who holds the NCAA DI record for single-season assists, playing quarterback behind the cage at X, the tandem of Manny and Holman should only get better.
Ament is the exact piece of the puzzle this offense didn’t have in 2019 that could have made them more than just a one-dimensional looking unit, at times. With him now aboard, this Archers offense has the potential to breakthrough their shortcomings last season and possibly become of the greatest offenses to ever grace the field at the pro level. They can truly be the most lethal unit in anywhere in the league.
The only questions Archers really has on offense is who will be the No. 2 guy at the midfield with Ben McIntosh, who had been somewhat of a Robin to Schreiber’s Batman, now a member of Waterdogs LC?
Lucky for them, there are multiple routes they can go to solve that questions, which includes turning to newcomers Christan Mazzone and Josh Currier, to fill that hole and, possibly, make the midfield unit even more productive.
If Archers’ offense can be as good as they look on paper and utilize their depth, and their defense continue to play like they are the best unit in the league, it is going to be very tough to stop this squad during the PLL Championship Series.