(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.
Whipsnakes LC ended the 2019 season as the inaugural PLL champions, defeating Redwoods LC in the title game. And while the club was essentially littered by Waterdogs LC in the expansion draft, losing Connor Kelly, Ben Reeves, Drew Snider, and Ryan Drenner, Whipsnakes still comes into the PLL Championship Series this summer with one of the most loaded rosters and ready to defend their throne at the top of the league.
As previously mentioned, the club lost some premier talent in the expansion draft. But all of that talent was on the offensive end, as Whipsnakes protected every single starter on the defensive end. With Goalie Kyle Bernlohr, defensemen Matt Dunn, Bryce Young, and Tim Muller, LSM Michael Ehrhardt, and SSDM Ty Warner all back, they bring, arguably, the most complete defense in the league to the Championship Series.
Defense was crucial to the success of Whipsnakes last season. That unit was the backbone of the championship run. And their success of that end oftentimes meant success on the other end, as their defense was their best generator of offense at times last season, with guys like Ehrhardt, Warner, and Jake Bernhardt, who is a two-way guy, who have the offensive prowess to not only start the fast break but help put the ball in the back of the net, as well.
That transition offense and their play in between the boxes will likely be even more improved this season, as Whipsnakes picked up SSDM TJ Comizio in the entry draft and acquired midfielder Max Tuttle via trade with Chrome LC. Comizio is a transition junkie and caused turnover machine, who lives for those dirty ground balls that seem impossible. Adding him to this defensive midfield unit immediately upgrades them from good to great. Tuttle has two-way potential and can certainly fit into the system easily and produce in a multitude of ways.
While there aren’t too many questions concerning the defending champions heading into 2020, how this attack unit will gel is certainly one of the few that do exist. The champs do return 2019 PLL MVP Matt Rambo, Jay Carlson, and Dylan Maltz, they also added Zed Williams through the entry draft. Williams can certainly be a threat on this attack unit, but how smoothly he will fit into this offense has yet to be. However, his game can greatly complement Ramob at the X spot and Carlson as a traditional crease attackman.
This new-look attack unit will also work well with the midfielders that they bring back, such as John Haus, Mike Chanechuck, and Brad Smith, and others. Whipsnakes’ offense will look a bit different than it did last season due to the hits they took in the expansion draft, but they have the pieces all-around to change things up and continue to thrive on that end of the field.