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10 Man Ride: Archers Win Lottery

By Joe Keegan

PLL Analyst

Feb 11, 2021

CLEAR! The ride is on. The Entry Draft lottery results are in. Here’s the order:

  1. Cannons LC
  2. Archers LC
  3. Redwoods LC
  4. Waterdogs LC
  5. Chrome LC
  6. Atlas LC
  7. Whipsnakes LC
  8. Chaos LC

Don’t let the Whipsnakes’ dynasty-in-the-making fool you; every club is in the championship chase. Chaos was one quarter away. Redwoods were one goal away. Several other teams feel they are one piece away.

Let’s recap a week of news and dive deep into each club’s biggest need…

1. Cannons LC Assistants Announced

Sean Kirwan and John Klepacki will be joining head coach Sean Quirk’s staff.

Kirwan is currently the offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia. His offenses at Virginia (plus Brown and Tufts prior) have operated with tempo – even before the collegiate game added a shot clock.

Klepacki has been the head coach at Western New England University since 2002. He and Quirk played together at Springfield College in the ‘90s – Klepacki on defense, Quirk in cage. They coached against each other for decades in DIII – Klepacki at WNEU, Quirk at Endicott College. When Quirk was hired by the Boston Cannons in 2016, he brought Klepacki on board to run his defense.

Quirk, Kirwan, Klepacki, and the Cannons will pick first in the Entry Draft. Their need?

A superstar.

This staff will add 18 players to its roster in the Expansion Draft on March 11th. They should make those selections to sculpt a roster around this #1 Entry Draft pick – their single best building block.

2. Archers Won the Golden Ticket

The Archers have the luxury of moving Tom Schreiber around the field, making almost any offensive weapon in this draft a potential fit.

They could take a lefty or a righty. A slasher or a shooter. Adding another element to this offense will give the Archers a counter to junk defenses. This offense isn’t designed for dodge-to-shoot lacrosse – though Schreiber and Ryan Ambler combined to shoot 37.9% unassisted when defenses forced their hand by shutting off Marcus Holman and Will Manny.

Head coach Chris Bates will solve those shutoffs for 2021, both through schematic adjustments and through personnel.

3. Redwoods Needs: Feeder & FO

Over the past two years, the Redwoods have only assisted 34.5% of their settled shots (lowest in PLL). League average assist rate in the six-on-six is 40.4%. A dodge-to-pass threat would boost that assist rate and create some easier stepdown shots for everyone.

Ryder Garnsey and Matt Kavanagh are fearless dodge-to-shoot options. Absolutely fearless. They’re determined to go airborne for a crease dive and soak a cross-check on their way. It allows them to create shots for themselves in a way most attackmen cannot (or will not), but it’s tough to pass out of the areas that Garnsey and Kavanagh get to.

Sergio Perkovic is at his best when he catches the ball at the end of the rainbow. Perkovic shot 7-for-14 (50.0%) off the catch last summer; but only 2-for-19 (10.5%) off the dodge. He is the phrase “time, room, bullseye!” personified.

After seeing Perkovic light up the league from downtown, head coach Nat St. Laurent should be setting up as many stepdown 2-point looks for Perkovic as possible.

That could be accomplished through scheme. More pick-and-pops with Myles Jones? More seals inside to create longer closeouts? Dodging with Jules Heningburg on one side and moving it through X quickly? Or the Woods could create more stepdowns by adding a heads-up dodger whose eyes are on Perkovic.

4. Waterdogs Need: TBD

One year removed from their own expansion draft, the Waterdogs’ 14-man protected roster is the toughest to project. They scooped up a lot of players in the same talent tier last offseason. Who do they like best? Who do they think the Cannons like best? Which players on their roster will gel with their Entry and College Draft targets?

We’ll know more about their need when their 14-man is set in stone.

5. Who is the heir to Lord Commander Galloway?

Chrome doesn’t need a goalie for 2021; but it needs to start looking toward the future. John Galloway and Brett Queener have both been playing professional lacrosse for a decade. There’s a chance for head coach Tim Soudan to add a younger goalie with professional experience now, rather than waiting until April and adding a completely green goalie.

6. Atlas Looking for a Lefty 

The four-man rotation on attack could not find a rhythm in Utah. Sometimes Chris Cloutier was in; when he wasn’t, Ryan Brown was the “lefty.”

This offense needs a consistent left-handed presence. As a team, Atlas shot 19.7% with their left hand. In a league loaded with lefty goalies, having a shooting presence on that side of the field is paramount. Improved spacing would help everyone in this offense.

7. Tyler Warner Steps Back from Lacrosse for Immediate Future

Tyler Warner, who began studying at Harvard Medical School last fall, has decided to step back from lacrosse for the immediate future. The sport will miss him as a person. The Whipsnakes will miss him as a player. Opposing midfielders will not miss him at all.

Warner is a lockdown SSDM – an oxymoron. His brain moves even faster than his feet. This 10-second sequence sums up his brilliance. Warner switches a pick angled for a sweep. Sergio Salcido attempts to isolate him. Bad idea. Warner stands him up, probably doesn’t even need a slide, but peels and points his teammates through the recovery when that slide comes anyways.

Warner hopes to return to lacrosse someday. I hope he does, too.

8. Whipsnakes Need: SSDM 

With Warner stepping away, the Whipsnakes suddenly have a need for a short-stick defender. Opponents shot 13.5% on unassisted bids off dodges from the midfield in 2020 – a stingy mark signaling solid SSDM play. 

There’s a strong class of senior SSDMs playing college ball this spring. Will the Whipsnakes address the need immediately? Or wait until April?

9. Chaos Needs: FO & Defensive Depth 

Chaos could upgrade at faceoff in the Entry Draft (or roll the dice and wait until April).

This defense solidified down the stretch in 2020. But Blaze Riorden saw a lot of shots – too many shots – out in Utah. I could still see them adding depth at SSDM, LSM, or close defense.

10. Seven-time Champion Club

Congrats to Tom Brady on joining Lakers/Spurs legend Robert Horry and Barrage-Lizards-Bayhawks legend Brian Spallina in the seven-time (!!!) champions club.

And a huge congratulations to Redwoods LC fan and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Steve McLendon – traded from the Jets to the Bucs midseason – on his first Super Bowl ring. If you haven’t yet, check out Pro Lacrosse Talk’s conversation with McLendon.

Thanks for reading!

Spread the word, submit any questions you want to see answered in this space to me on Twitter (@joekeegs), and I’ll talk to you next week!

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