(Photo Courtesy of Premier Lacrosse League)
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.
Redwoods LC ended the 2019 season losing to Whipsnakes LC in the inaugural PLL Championship game. And after some retooling, this offseason, Nat St. Laurent and his squad look ready to make another run at the title and seek revenge in 2020.
The ‘woods identity was built off of their success at the defensive end last season. And things should stay pretty similar in that regard heading into 2020, as they return almost everyone on that end, with the exception of Brian Karalunas, who was picked up by Waterdogs LC in the expansion draft, and Matt Landis, who will not be with the team this summer due to his commitment to serve his country, the United States of America, in the military.
Despite those two significant losses, offenses across the league should still be hesitant to come into the ‘Woods this season with goalie Tim Troutner, Garrett Epple, Eddy Glazner, John Sexton, Larken Kemp, and Hugh Crance all returning. Redwoods also gain two guys in Finn Sulivan and Chris Price. Sullivan, who they picked up in the entry draft, is the perfect guys to replace Landis, as he has been one of the better pro defenders throughout his entire, bosting an impressive resume of covering the opposing teams’ top guy. He can come in right away, fit into this system, and make a huge impact.
Another addition to this squad that many expect to make a huge impact this season is midfielder Myles Jones, who they acquired in that blockbuster trade with Chaos LC. Jones, one of the most physically imposing dodgers in the world, joins an already big and physical midfield unit. Plugging Jones into a midfield unit that already features Sergio Perkovic turns this unit from very good to lethal. Having those two physical bodies up top will only open up more passing lanes than ever before for Jones and Perkovic to feed cutters from all over the field.
Having those two threats up top could also open up more room from the Redwoods’ attack, which features Jules Henigburg (21G/12A) and Matt Kavanagh (15G/8A), to operate and produce at a similar or higher level than they did last season.
The biggest question surrounding this squad coming into the season is how they will fare at the faceoff dot. Greg Gurenlian, who fought injuries most of last season, has retired and they have picked up Greg Puskuldjian in the entry draft and Peyton Smith in the college draft. Having depth at the faceoff position is crucial for any team, especially in this Championship Series format.
If Puskuldjian and Smith produce and become the one-two-punch kind of threat that many predict they can become then this Redwoods squad could have a very bright future ahead of them, especially considering how many proven threats they already have all over the field.