Baptiste’s 83% day leads Atlas over Cannons, 16-8

By Sarah Griffin | Jun 12, 2022

The Atlas’s “everybody eats” family style of play continues to pay off as the Bulls recorded eleven different goal scorers in their 16-8 victory over the Cannons in Week 2 in Charlotte. 

The first quarter started off in the Cannons’ favor. Jake Richard opened the scoring for the Atlas, but the Cannons’ offense responded firing with four goals in a row, including two from a late roster addition in Christian Cuccinello, inserted into the lineup for Lyle Thompson (upper body injury).

Down 4-1 in the first, rookie Chris Gray began what turned into a ten-unanswered goal run for the Atlas over the course of the late first quarter all the way into the third.

In their ten-goal run, Gray and Jeff Teat accounted for four of those goals, and assisted on three of them. 

In just two games, we’ve seen the two young Bulls blend their sharp shooting skills and playmaking abilities as individuals into one to create a lethal two-man game. Both serve as a spark plug for offense to generate chances not just for themselves and each other, but everyone.

Teat recorded a five-point game with three goals on five shots on net and two assists, and Gray also with five points with two goals on five shots on net and three assists. 

Of course, there’s no better spark plug to an offense than the versatile faceoff man that is Trevor Baptiste

Baptiste dominated at the stripe versus Stephen Kelly, who was coming off a strong debut performance as a Cannon last weekend against the Waterdogs. Baptiste went 20-for-24 (83.3%) at the stripe and grabbed twelve ground balls. Kelly had just five wins on 23 faceoffs against the reigning Paul Cantabene Faceoff Athlete of the Year.  

Baptiste also recorded a goal himself that Atlas head coach Ben Rubeor viewed as the tide-turner for his team in the early first, as he tied the game up 4-4 after quickly going down 4-1. 

“He’s a lacrosse player, he’s not just a faceoff guy. The balance is how much time do you give him in the offensive end?” Rubeor said.

Jack Concannon had a strong game between the pipes for the Atlas, as he held the Cannons to just eight goals with eleven saves for a 61% save percentage.

For the Cannons, the score sheet does not tell the entire story. 

In Lyle’s absence, it was on everyone on the Boom Squad to step up and contribute. 

Rookie Asher Nolting had another great game with a goal and two assists. His vision on the field is unparalleled, and in turn makes him an excellent feeder, as he recorded back-to-back assists on Cuccinello and Drenner’s goals in the first.

“Our possessions were limited but we took advantage of our opportunities. Asher had a different role tonight, and he did a good job with it,” said Cannons head coach Sean Quirk. 

Given the dominance by Baptiste at the faceoff stripe, it was tough for the Cannons to play the ball in the midfield and gain possession. However in settled six-on-six play, their offense looked very similar to how they did in Week 1, even without Thompson.

“It’s a game of possessions. We won five or six faceoffs and that’s it. But the clean possessions we had we did a good job.” 

Cannons’ SSDM Zach Goodrich echoed the same. “Throughout the game we played a really good six-on-six offense. We’ve just got to be better and clean it up in the middle of the field.” He emphasized working on transition in specific for next week.

“Collectively, offensively and defensively we competed. You can’t forget about [the loss], but you do reflect on these things for the next week,” Quirk said. 

The Cannons look to bounce back in Week 3 versus the 1-1 Archers on Long Island next Saturday at 4 ET, as the Atlas try to earn their third win as they stack up against the Whipsnakes Friday at 8:45 ET.