Atlas Leave Colorado 2-0, Escape Cannons 13-12

By Quinn Magner | Aug 3, 2021

What a rematch.

Head coach Ben Rubeor and his now #1 Atlas LC edge Sean Quirk’s Cannons in another nail-biter filled with raw talent across the board. Atlas sit at 6-2 after the win, and Cannons drop to 2-6 with their playoff hopes depending on a win over Chrome next weekend.

Both teams scrapped whistle-to-whistle, and the back and forth goals in the high-scoring event. At the end of the day, Atlas took advantage of captain and faceoff guru Trevor Baptiste’s earned possessions going 19-25 (76%) on the day at the stripe, and Atlas, in turn, won the groundball game 35-28 and outshot Cannons 50-34. 

No Sophomore Slump for Costabile

Coach Rubeor corralled a handful of offensive sharpshooters prior to the 2021 PLL season, and Atlas undoubtedly needed the bulk-up having finished 1-4, last place, by the end of the 2020 Championship series.

Former Notre Dame standout Bryan Costabile turned up the heat from the midfield on Sunday firing on veteran Cannons keeper Nick Marrocco from the first quarter on. It was Costabile’s 2-point blast within the first 7 minutes of the game that put Atlas up 3-1. Costabile’s rip from behind the 2-point arc pinged off of Marrocco’s crossbar and in. The leading scorer from the midfield for Atlas (13G, 3T, 7A) leaned on rookie midfielder Dox Aitken and captain Eric Law as rookie attackman Jeff Teat was covered closely by Cannons’ Jake Pulver.

Teat, the point leader for PLL rookies, wouldn’t get on the board for Atlas until he saw an open Law on the crease and slung a cross-field pass to Law at the 10:48 mark of the 3rd quarter. After Teat put away his first of the game, Costabile would catch a fading pass from Aitken after setting a pick, hesitating, stepping in from nine yards and ripping a shot on Marrocco that the Cannons goalie had little to no chance of stopping at that distance. Costabile put Atlas up 10-7 at that 8:34 mark after miraculous, high-flying efforts by Cannons’ leading scorer, attackman Ryan Drenner, as well as captain and all-time great Lyle Thompson. 

The moral of the story in regards to #26 for Atlas is that one does not just simply give that man time and room. Bryan Costabile is an athlete who will make you pay with a smidgen of creativity provided.

Cannons Individual Efforts

Atlas’ energy and fluid chemistry was just too much for Cannons’ scraps play after play.

“I don’t think we should get into the story-writing game. Right? We have one job, and our job is to play the best lacrosse we can each week,” Coach Rubeor explained after the win. “So, I haven’t really reflected on what this season really is, I just think it’s like--the next thing is the Waterdogs, and the Waterdogs are extremely good, we are neck and neck with, they have some of the best players in the world, they are red hot, and so it’s like ‘Can we play our best against them?’ It’s about playing our best.”

Lyle Thompson would score his fourth of the day when he sprinted, power-cradling in his right hand, around the perimeter of Atlas’ defensive territory, beat defenseman Michael Rexrode on his way to JD Colarusso’s goal mouth and dove over the crease while scoring high-to-low and rolling to the turf. Plenty of slick box fakes were thrown by the Onondaga Nation native throughout the course of the game. After scoring Cannons’ final two goals of the game and walking away with 4 goals and 2 assists, Thompson can certainly have some solace knowing that Rexrode left Thompson scoreless during their first matchup in June. This time around, Thompson, Drenner and company took Atlas’ defense to the brink and proved their chemistry is a work in progress.

“I think Coach [Sean] Kirwan has a great mind, and our offense has been able to put up a lot of points, so I feel pretty good about it, but it’s a playoff game,” Paul Rabil proclaimed when asked about Cannons’ next showdown with Chrome in Albany under the lights on Saturday, August 14. “So, I feel like we’ve been saying that the past few weeks, and the way that this league has panned out is--you know, the final game of the season will lead in, so we might as well call it a playoff game now.”

Week 8 in Albany

The now #1 Atlas will go head-to-head with the second-newest expansion team in the league, the #2 Waterdogs, on Saturday, August 14 at 4:15 PM ET. Tune in to Peacock then for one of the most hyped up matchups leading into the second half of this summer.

Coach Rubeor put it simply during the post-game presser last Sunday when asked about his general thoughts on Waterdogs.

“They are very good. They are red hot and playing some very good lacrosse, and you’ve got a lot of different pieces that we'll have to prepare for.”

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