Archers Run Enough to Top Redwoods, Advance to PLL Semifinals

PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE

Marcus Holman scored three times in the Archers' 13-8 win over the Redwoods in the PLL quarterfinals Saturday in Foxborough, Mass.


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Archers defeated the Redwoods 13-8 Saturday evening to advance to the Premier Lacrosse League. Connor Fields led the way with five points, and Marcus Holman and Ryan Ambler each added three goals.

The Archers got out to a quick 2-0 lead, but the Redwoods quickly answered with a three-goal run of their own. But it was all Archers after that quick run. They responded by outscoring the Redwoods 7-1 to finish the second half, taking a 9-4 lead into halftime.

The combination of stellar wing play by the Archers and Justin Inacio’s ability to go 50-50 with TD Ierlan allowed the Archers to soar to a 9-4 lead by halftime.

“[Inacio and our wings] were great,” Archers coach Chris Bates said. “They really battled, and there were few easy [faceoff] wins either way. So, I think anytime you’re getting those tough, gritty ground balls and getting possessions for us, it definitely makes it easier on offense.”

While the Redwoods defense was able to stifle the Archers in the second half, the offense wasn’t able to mount a comeback. Bates credited the play of the Archers’ short-stick defensive midfielders for disrupting the Redwoods offense.

“I thought defensively we played well. We crowded them enough to not give them space,” Bates said. “I thought Latrell Harris, Dominique [Alexander], Mark McNeil and Tre [Leclaire] did a great job. Those guys are unsung heroes.”

Redwoods attackman Rob Pannell said it was difficult for his side to bounce back after the Archers’ big run.

“Credit to the Archers. They executed their game plan early. It’s tough to come back when you fall behind,” Pannell said. “End of seasons are never easy. You play this game to win championships, and when you fall short of your goal, it’s tough.”

The loss gives the Redwoods another first-round exit after losing to the Whipsnakes in the quarterfinals last season. The Redwoods could have some big questions this offseason with several key players, such as Eddy Glazener, Myles Jones, Matt Kavanagh and Jack Kelly potentially testing free agency.







“I’m proud of how our guys responded throughout the adversity of the season, like we have since 2019,” Redwoods coach Nat St. Laurent said. “It’s been a great four years for me to coach these guys and this locker room. We know there are some big changes coming in pro lacrosse in the coming months with contracts and free agency, but we were here together and kept battling all the way to the end.”

For the Archers, the win gives a veteran group, which could also see a lot of turnover this offseason, another chance to play together.

“We have another week together, which was our goal,” Holman said. ‘There are some deeper relationships on this Archers team that extend beyond lacrosse. There are some bonds there.”

“Coach [Bates] referenced it the other day, just thinking about our first win together [at Gillette] when Will Manny scored the game-winner against Chrome … it’s cool thinking about the journey to get here and the opportunity we have ahead to still compete in the playoffs and still alive for a championship,” Tom Schreiber added.

The Archers will face the Chaos in the semifinals next week at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. The Archers defeated the Chaos in both meetings this season, but the Chaos have had their number in the postseason. The Chaos defeated the Archers in the 2020 Championship Series and knocked off the Archers in the opening round last season en route to their first PLL title.

“We’re excited, but we just want to play. Whoever is in front of us, we play,” Bates said. “But right now, we’re thrilled to get a W in a playoff atmosphere against a seasoned, veteran team.”

WATERDOGS TOP ATLAS

The Waterdogs dropped 19 goals against the Atlas in a 19-14 win to advance to the PLL semifinals against the top-seeded Whipsnakes. In doing so, the Waterdogs set a playoff record for most goals scored in a game. Eight Waterdogs scored in the victory, with Michael Sowers leading the charge with three goals and two assists.

“Everybody plays their role,” Sowers said. “And when we do that, we have a result like we did today.”

The Waterdogs got out to an early 4-1 lead before a Romar Dennis two-pointer pulled the Atlas within a goal. That would be the closest the Bulls would get the rest of the way, as the Waterdogs took a 9-4 lead into halftime and never looked back.

The Waterdogs’ runs were fueled by exceptional performances from Jake Withers and the wings. Withers went 52 percent at the stripe against MVP candidate Trevor Baptiste.

“Jake Withers is a unique faceoff specialist. He’s strong and athletic and he was immediately countering [Baptiste],” Atlas coach Ben Rubeor said. “They also have great wings. Zach Currier and Ryland Rees did a great job.”

When asked about Baptiste, Rubeor commended him for the season that he had.

“I thought Trevor was as good a player as there was in the league this year as it pertains to making a team better,” Rubeor said. “I thought he played fantastic and deserves an MVP award.”

Halfway through the third quarter, Rubeor made the decision to replace starting goalie Jack Concannon with last year’s playoff starter, JD Colarusso. It didn’t seem to make much of a difference, as the Atlas defense still allowed seven more scores after the change.

“Winning feels good. I’m awfully proud of our guys and how they prepared the last couple of weeks,” Waterdogs coach Andy Copelan said. “Winning a playoff game is really difficult to do, and winning the first playoff game in Waterdogs Lacrosse Club history feels pretty good.”

The Waterdogs will play the Whipsnakes next weekend in Washington, D.C. in a rematch of last year’s semifinals matchup. The Waterdogs and Whipsnakes split their regular season matchups in 2022, with the Whipsnakes’ lone loss of the season coming at the hands of the Dogs. The winner will advance to the PLL championship game in Philadelphia on September 18.

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