Atlas did not have the season they were hoping for, but the club's best moments transcended the sport of lacrosse. Their season was filled with spectacular individual performances and unbelievable highlights. Here are the Top 10 moments of Atlas’s season.
10. Ryan Brown’s Moonwalk Goal
At No. 10, a Top 10 goal of the year. Ryan Brown is one of the best shooters on the planet. He makes incredibly difficult shots look routine. Don’t try this shot in the backyard kids, you have a better chance at breaking a neighbor’s window than pinging the top right corner. Check out Brown doing his best Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods impression in the same shot here.
The high level of difficulty combined with the low to high release and pinpoint placement makes this shot absolutely absurd, as noted by Ryan Boyle in his analysis of the goal.
9. Jack Concannon’s 20-Save Performance
Goaltender; the most difficult job in sports. The Average Joe would be lucky to save one shot from professional shooters. PLL goalies, on average, saved 54% of shots on goal this season. Jack Concannon’s 21-save Week 1 performance put the league on notice.
Concannon starred in his first professional game against the Redwoods at Gillette Stadium. He saved a mind-boggling 65% of the shots he faced. The herculean effort was not rewarded with a win but the performance can not be forgotten. Concannon cemented himself as the Atlas’ keeper for the rest of the season and seasons to come, even being named the All-Star Game's MVP.
8. Trevor Baptiste’ Dominate Performance
Atlas had an undeniable competitive advantage with Trevor Baptiste on the roster. Baptiste took the most faceoffs in the league this year (285). He won a whopping 62% of the time; 10% higher than the average of the other five primary faceoff athletes. He won the majority of draws in every single game this season but his Week 5 performance against the Archers was literally unfair.
The faceoff is designed to give each team a 50/50 shot after a goal. Baptiste took 25 draws in Atlanta; Atlas gained possession 20 times (80%). I’ll repeat… 80%!! This man was playing on another level. He had a Mariano Rivera moment and became an automatic closer for Atlas.
Midway through the third quarter, the game was tied 8-8, Baptiste won 11 of the last 11 faceoffs helping his squad win the game. The ultimate weapon in a close game.
7. Buczek’s Record-Breaking Day
Atlas met Chrome in Columbus for the first-ever first overall draft pick bracket game. Connor Buczek came to play. He became the first player to hit three two-pointers in a game. He also set the league record for most points in a single game (9). The historic performance helped Atlas dominate Chrome 17-8 to advance straight to the first overall draft pick game in Philadelphia.
6. First Win in Club History
Atlas entered Week 3 with an 0-2 record. The stop in Chicago was an important week for the club’s season. There is a big difference starting 1-2 compared to 0-3 in a 10-game season. Their opponent Chrome was in a similar situation; both desperate for a win.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter. Atlas trailed by one and needed one of their star players to step up. Connor Buczek scored two goals in 100 seconds of game time. Ryan Brown followed shortly after with his signature low to high shot, extending the Atlas lead. Chrome battled back to tie the game with under two minutes to play. Atlas had the classic “Who do you give the ball to with the game on the line” scenario. Buczek answered the call with his fourth goal to seal the game.
5. Sell Out Game at Albany
Atlas’ final game of the regular season was played in front of an energetic, sold out, Albany crowd. Their opponent Chaos had several Albany alum playing in front of the hometown fans. They were essentially an away team in this game, and tied with the Archers and Redwoods, Atlas needed a win to have a chance at making the playoffs.
With their backs against the wall, Atlas played their best game of the season easily defeating the No. 1 team in the league 12-9 and putting up back to back wins for the first time all season. They looked dominant in each phase of the game and lived up to their preseason hype.
4. Eric Law’s Homecoming
In Week 7 the PLL stopped in Denver, Colorado; home to Atlas star attackman Eric Law. Walking off the bus Law introduced the world to the Cowboy Hat-Airpod combo; a fashion crossover that would make Kayne jealous. Along with the mustache, he was guaranteed to score a hat trick.
His pregame fit served Law well who had five points and four goals on five shots in Atlas’s win over Redwoods.
3. The Shot Heard Around the World
Stars shine bright in Los Angeles. It was only fitting the league’s first All-Star Game was held in Hollywood. Atlas was well represented with eight Bulls suiting up for the league's showcase game.
All-Star Games are a platform for players to show off their elite skills. Paul Rabil put that skill on full display and created a highlight worthy of a Dun-na-na-na-duh-na-na-na!! His around-the-world pass to Will Manny landed him No. 2 on SportsCenter’s Top 10. A viral clip that served as a jolt to lacrosse’s mainstream momentum.
2. Home Game at Homewood
Week 4 was special for everyone involved. Atlas played Whipsnakes under the lights in front of the first-ever sold out crowd in league history. A team with several Hopkins alum returned to Homewood Field. The Atlas walked away with the L but also a memory of a lifetime. The picture below is what the lacrosse community has been yearning for and an early sign of things to come.
1. “That's Speed Boy”
Pro lacrosse is a physical and fast-paced game with players that have gravitating personalities. This season we got to experience lacrosse and a professional sport like never before. The in-game mic’d up sessions have caught the attention of the sports and broadcast world.
Trevor Baptiste gave us an unforgettable moment in Week 10. NBC made a brilliant decision to stay with Trevor after an on-field interview as he went to faceoff. What happened next couldn't have been scripted any better. Baptiste won the ensuing faceoff, took it down the field and scored. Ryan Boyle promptly asked him what made the difference during that play. True to brand, Baptiste responded with the now-iconic, “That’s Speed Boy”.
The sport of the future is here.