Archers, Waterdogs to Meet in Premier Lacrosse League Championship Game


Grant Ament had a career-high eight points in a PLL semifinal win over the Redwoods.

Is the Premier Lacrosse League in line for its first repeat champion since 2020? Or will the Archers finally get over the hump?

On Sunday, both teams punched their tickets to the Premier Lacrosse League championship game, with each leaving little doubt of their worthiness while battling the persistent rain on Long Island. They’ll square off on Sunday, Sept. 24, in Philadelphia, the same city in which the Waterdogs secured their first title a year ago.

The top-seeded Archers are set to compete in the title game for the first time in the club’s history, having come up short in each of their last four postseason attempts. They eradicated any thoughts of another playoff blunder with a wire-to-wire 14-6 victory fueled by an early 4-0 run against the Redwoods.

“We’re excited to keep playing together and excited to go to Philly,” Archers coach Chris Bates said. “This was a great team effort. We did what we needed to do, and now we’ve got a chance to go grab it.”

Brett Dobson and the Archers defense shut out the Redwoods in both the first and third quarters, with Dobson making 18 stops for a 78-percent save rate. The unit will be rewarded for its efforts, as defensive coordinator Tony Resch buys the defense ice cream if they hold their opponent under nine goals.

Grant Ament orchestrated by far his best statistical showing of the year and set a new career high for points, totaling eight on three goals (one two-pointer) and four assists. Tre Leclaire also hit from long range as part of a four-point day, while Mac O’Keefe completed a hat trick.

“Grant’s been awesome all year,” Bates said. “We’ve mixed and matched where we play him, and he’s just said, ‘Yes sir,’ and executed.”

Rob Pannell, who played much of his career on Long Island and called Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium home as a member of the New York Lizards of Major League Lacrosse, led the way for the Redwoods with three points.

The Waterdogs followed with an absolute clinic, thrashing the Cannons 17-6 to bring an end to the PLL season’s feel-good story. The Cannons, 1-9 a year ago before first-year head coach Brian Holman took over, were the season’s best turnaround team.

Five Waterdogs had at least four points, led by Michael Sowers with six on three goals and three assists.

“I’m really proud of them,” Waterdogs coach Andy Copelan said. “I thought they had an awesome week of prep. I thought we had a good gameplan that our guys really bought into. That’s a really good Cannons team. They had an awesome season. I’m really proud of our guys for taking on a confident group.”

The 11-goal margin is the largest in PLL postseason history, while the 17 goals is the most any team has scored in a PLL semifinal. The Waterdogs are looking to become only the fourth back-to-back champ in pro field lacrosse history, joining the Chesapeake Bayhawks, Philadelphia Barrage and the Whipsnakes.

The Cannons tied the score at 3 on a two-pointer from Chris Aslanian to start the second quarter but didn’t find the back of the net again until the final minute of the third. That allowed the Waterdogs to go on a 12-point run to cruise back to the final.


If the Archers win a title, they’ll likely do it without Connor Fields. He took a hard hit from Garrett Epple in the first half and emerged on the sideline with a sling. ESPN’s Dana Boyle reported he’ll be out for the remainder of the playoffs with a shoulder injury, though Bates was less committal. … The Archers had fallen in the quarterfinals the last two years after making it to the semifinals in their first two seasons of existence. … Pannell said postgame he has no interest in playing for any team but the Redoods. He’s now a free agent, along with Epple, Eddy Glazener, Jack Kelly, Ryder Garnsey and Charlie Bertrand, among others. … The PLL gave away red bandanas to fans in honor of the late Welles Crowther, the former lacrosse player who saved at least 18 lives on 9/11. … The PLL put on its first Street Lacrosse event in New York City on Sept. 8, with basketball superstar Kevin Durant in attendance. … Latrell Harris, the SSDM of the Year, was placed on IR with an ACL tear, a loss to both the Archers and the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League.


Sunday, Sept. 24 at Subaru Park in Philadelphia

(1) Archers vs. (3) Waterdogs, 3 p.m. Eastern (ABC)


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