Archers LC Preview with Coach Chris Bates
By Chris Bates | Jul 7, 2020
Like most people these days, the Archers are going a bit stir crazy and simply just want to get back to business. For us, this happens in a big way in less than three weeks in Salt Lake City, Utah. To say our squad is excited to play is a huge understatement. It’s been hard three-plus months of uncertainty, but we’ve got our arrows aimed at what is sure to be an unbelievably competitive lacrosse environment with the very best players in the world.
Let's rewind to last season when our Archers’ championship aspirations were cut short in Ohio during a close semi-final battle with the Redwoods. After a soul-searching stretch of four one-goal losses in July, we believed we were starting to peak at the right time to take a run at the inaugural PLL title. Losing Tom Schreiber early in the game and followed by Jackson Place’s scary injury in the 4th quarter helped keep the sting of a tough loss in perspective for us all. Needless to say, though, our group felt our season was cut too short and we all left 2019 hungry for our next chance to compete together.
Now, fast forward to our prep for this summer’s Championship Series. There will be lots of new faces in the line-up, but the Archer core remains solidly intact. Building from the back, our dynamic duo returns in cage as both Drew Adams and Adam Ghitelman provide a strong presence in goal as well as exceptional leadership for our team. We won’t have Jackson this summer, but we were thrilled to pick up Eli Gobrecht in the Entry Draft. I am certain fans will fall in love with Eli’s game quickly as he helps anchor our close D with All-Star Matt McMahon and Curtis Corley. Up top, our defensive midfield group is as good as anyone’s in the league with Scott Ratliff, our energizer stopper and O initiator at LSM, along with the great SSDM group of Dominique Alexander, Mark “Moose” McNeill, and Tyler Pfister. Veteran Mike Simon, with six professional championships under his belt, Evan Connell, and rookie Jack Rapine give us strong depth on the defensive end.
On offense, the big three are back and ready to roll. Led by Tom Schreiber, the PLL’s Gait Brothers Midfield of the Year, and goal-scoring extraordinaire, Marcus Holman, and Will Manny, the Archers have consistent scoring threats on virtually every possession. Ryan Ambler is ready to have a breakout summer and the always dangerous Joey Sankey and lefty sniper Ian MacKay return, as well. We can’t wait to see the new additions suit up in Orange and Blue. #1 pick Grant Ament gives us a strong feeding and dodging presence below GLE and I’m confident he’ll make everyone around him better on O. I think our fans are also going to appreciate playmaker Christian Mazzone, our other Entry Draft pick, for his versatile game all over the field. And lastly, we expect Josh Currier, an NLL stalwart forward for the Philly Wings, to fit in very well to our offensive scheme and hopefully fill up the net for us a bit. Returners Davey Emala and Austin Sims are both experienced and skilled veterans who round out our O roster nicely.
This PLL Championship Series can’t come soon enough. Frankly, we don’t care who we play in Pool Play. We want to focus solely on developing our Archers group so that we come together as a team and peak in early August. Salt Lake City here we come!
Arrows up – go Archers!
- Chris Bates, Head Coach of Archers LC