Cannons Lacrosse Roster

Cannons LC clinches spot in 2024 Championship Series

By Grant DelVecchio

Aug 24, 2023

With a top four finish in the standings locked up win or lose on Saturday, the Cannons have clinched a spot in February’s 2024 Championship Series. So why not bask in the glory of the resurgence and take a way-too-early look at a potential 12-man roster for the Championship Series’ Sixes format. Based on what we’ve seen from the Cannons in the regular season, Sixes should play to several of the team’s strengths.

For starters, the Cannons have been the best shooting team in the league this summer. They rank first in total goals and shooting percentage, and second in 2-point goals and 2-point shooting percentage. We saw how valuable 2-point shooting was in this past February’s inaugural Championship Series when Atlas made it to the championship after averaging more than eight 2-pointers per game in the four games prior. 

The Cannons also lead the league in assists, and the lack of long poles in Sixes will only augment Coach Mitchell’s synergistic offensive scheme. As far as pace of play is concerned, the Cannons are the most efficient fast break offense in the league. Defensively, they’ve also allowed the second fewest goals in transition (12).

Marcus Holman

Marcus Holman is playing at an MVP level in his age 32 season. He’s scored the most goals in the league (26) and trails only his teammate Asher Nolting in points. Holman performed well in the 2022 Championship Series with the Archers, scoring an OT game-winner in one game and adding four or more points in two others. More shots for one of the greatest shooters of all time is never a bad thing. 

Asher Nolting

As a second year pro, Nolting is the PLL scoring leader heading into the season’s final week. He has double the assists and half of the turnovers that he had as a rookie, and is deserving of a finalist spot for the Eamon McEneaney Attackman of the Year award. Nolting and Holman have been a particularly fruitful collaboration, with Nolting having assisted on double digit goals of Holman’s this season. Besides – don’t we all want to watch Asher Nolting torment shorties for full games?

Matt Kavanagh

In his first season with the Cannons, Matt Kavanagh has played some of the best lacrosse of his illustrious PLL career. He’s found a home on the left side to the tune of 24 points and 10 assists, two PLL personal bests. One shouldn’t expect the extra dose of defense to be a problem for Kavanagh, who is known for doing damage on the ride and tied his overall career high with four caused turnovers. 

Chris Aslanian

In his first full season as a weekly starter, Chris Aslanian has established himself as a threat from distance with three 2-pointers (T-3rd). The shorter 2-point arc in Sixes will only help that cause. Combine that with his speed and knowledge of the game and Aslanian is a particularly daunting cover on a smaller field. 

Ryan Drenner

Ryan Drenner is the ultimate offensive weapon. He is shooting 37 percent this season, his third consecutive season eclipsing the 30 percent plateau, and just cashed in on his first 2-pointer last weekend. Perhaps the more impressive streak is that Drenner will complete a fifth straight season with less than ten turnovers this year, and the sixth overall in his seven year career. 

Matt Campbell

Matt Campbell has been reliable for the Cannons this season, and proven his ability to initiate offense from out of the box. He has a chance to be the fourth midfielder on the Cannons to score 20 or more points this season with a big performance against the Whipsnakes. The rookie is shooting just under 30 percent and went scoreless for the first time of his career last weekend. His size, athleticism and shot prowess will likely lead to a lot of goals come February. 

Jeff Trainor

Jeff Trainor got picked up by the Cannons in free agency partially because Coach Holman was so impressed with what he saw from Trainor in the Championship Series with the Archers. Trainor is the ideal asset for Sixes. He’s an above average defender who plays with an incessant motor and can do it all offensively. 

Zach Goodrich, Bubba Fairman, Pat Aslanian

Allow me to give long overdue credit to the Cannons short-stick group this season, which has been critical to the team’s success.

Zach Goodrich and Bubba Fairman are both worthy of winning the George Boiardi Short Stick Defensive Midfielder of the Year award, and Pat Aslanian is that player who often flies under the radar and goes unnoticed because he’s always doing the right thing.

Goodrich has played his entire career as a Cannon and blossomed into one of the best shorties the game has to offer. He was one of the primary short-sticks for Team USA on their gold medal run in June. This season, opponents have scored just five goals on 23 shot attempts (22%) where Goodrich has been the closest defender. He has the strength and technical ability to shut down middies and attackmen alike. 

Statistically, Fairman has been even better. He is third in the league in caused turnovers (13) and the only short-stick that ranks in the top ten. He’s been the closest defender on 33 shot attempts and only six have resulted in goals (18%). Plus, he’s racked up five assists pushing the pace in transition. Fairman plays with a noteworthy physicality that is effective across formats. 

Believe it or not, Pat Aslanian has conceded the fewest goals of the group as the closest defender, giving up only three makes on 26 tries (11.5%). He’s also been valuable in the substitution game for the Cannons, putting opposing offensive players in precarious situations as one of the leaders of the Boom Squad’s clears. His skills in the sub game and as a cover man will be important for Sixes. 

Colin Kirst, Adam Ghitelman

The Cannons have two goalies who are both capable of excelling in Sixes. In Colin Kirst’s first season as a starter, he’s posted the fourth best save percentage (55.9) and third best scores against average (11.0) in the league. While Kirst has struggled giving up rebounds at times, he has steadily improved throughout the season both in finding his voice in net and setting up transition chances with good outlet passes. It’s helped more than a little to have Adam Ghitelman as a teammate and mentor.

Ghitelman’s calling card is his liveliness and communication style. He is great on the ground and has been one of the best in the PLL at creating opportunities going the other way. Since 2019, only Blaze Riorden (40) and Tim Troutner (20) have created more goals off of saves than Ghitelman (15). Ghitelman will be able to get the ball up and out even quicker without any faceoffs after goals in the Championship Series.

To be sure, the Cannons’ focus is entirely on their regular season finale with the Whipsnakes this Saturday. But, winter is coming, and when it does, the Cannons will be locked and loaded.

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