Premier Lacrosse League Redwoods takes on the Atlas at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia on June 12, 2021.

Concannon’s 17 saves, Carraway’s 5 points help Atlas upset Redwoods

By Andrew Crane | Jun 12, 2021

Jack Concannon swung his head right as Ryder Garnsey’s pass flashed across his face. Just feet in front of him, Redwoods defensive midfielder Jack Near, in the offensive zone to wind down the final seconds of a penalty kill less than one minute into the fourth quarter, had cut in front of Brent Adams toward the cage, sensing a window opening as Garnsey curled around the net and using his positioning to ensure that window opened.

But Concannon moved his stick high and left as Near directed his shot toward that corner, knocking the ball aside, preserving Atlas’ 9-7 lead and sending the ball upfield for a clear. On the next Redwoods possession, after they prevented the Atlas from extending their lead any further, Rob Pannell dodged from X, swung a shot high and Concannon leapt to knock the ball down and gathered it for a clear — which ended outside the two-point arc in the stick of Danny Logan, whose step-down shot sunk into the Redwoods cage and, this time, provided the Atlas with an insurance goal they needed.

“I think I did a good job of just sitting and reacting, not trying to waste any movements,” Concannon said. “I was seeing the ball well today, and I did a good job of trusting my hands and just being patient.”

Last week, Concannon’s 2021 season began with a goalie switch at the five-minute mark of the second quarter. He allowed 12 goals against the Archers and the Atlas trailed by 10, the final dagger that prompted the switch coming off a skip pass and a bouncing shot that trickled by his left foot. But one week later, his 17 saves provided the defensive lift they needed against the Redwoods, holding a potent power play scoreless and limiting the impact of a midfield featuring Myles Jones, Sergio Perkovic and Jules Heningburg. He implemented his mantra of “Sit, wait, react,” and turned aside multiple close-range opportunities if defensive lapses still surfaced. And when that combined with rookie attack Jake Carraway’s four goals, it resulted in the Atlas (1-1) rebounding for their first win and handing the Redwoods (2-1) their first loss of this year, 12-9.

“We knew coming off the first week we played very selfish and not our typical offense as we did during training camp,” Carraway said. “So it was come out, dodge-pass-pass-dodge and be super unselfish. And that's what we did.”

It was the exact outcome Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent worried about early in the week, the same one he described to his players on Friday when reviewing the scouting report. During the 2019  season, St. Laurent and his Redwoods team found themselves in a similar scenario to the Atlas, when the Whipsnakes blew them out, 17-4, in Ontario. Their season reached a low point. They were “embarrassed on national television,” St. Laurent recalled. But then the Redwoods returned to Albany the following week, won by double-digits, and then rattled off three more wins before falling to the Whipsnakes again in the title game.

This time, though, the Atlas used Concannon’s rebound and Carraway’s emergence to hold the Redwoods to single-digit goals for the first time since July 29 of last season and flip around a 12% shooting percentage from June 5. Jones’ swim move toward the left side, and his ensuing shot that beat Concannon, provided an early road block, though. So did the dropped passes from Carraway and Pannell’s tally to close the first quarter — a shooting lane that opened when no Atlas slide followed his dodge from X.

But even in those opening 12 minutes, Concannon flashed sharpness he didn’t have the previous week. He stopped a cutting Ryan Lee off a restart, and that allowed Eric Law’s tally with 5:39 left to tie the game at 1, when he faked an inside roll, pivoted the other way, turned back again to the inside roll, with Redwoods defender Eddy Glazener draped over him, and snuck a shot in.

Then the emergence of Carraway started, perhaps a more accurate depiction of the Georgetown rookie’s potential than the zero points and three turnovers that defined his PLL debut. Bryan Costabile dodged and drew a double-team, which opened up a low-angle shooting lane from outside for the Redwoods when they over-rotated with 7:44 left in the second quarter. Forty-one seconds later, he added a second goal, this time taking his defender from X and finishing past Tim Troutner with a crease dive.

"I thought (Carraway) was a little more aggressive," Atlas head coach Ben Rubeor said. "For whatever reason, the matchup switched. He ended up with a short-stick, and I was proud that he kind of took charge and decided to actually take that matchup on."

That, along with Concannon’s eight saves, allowed the Atlas to claw ahead by one at half. Three consecutive goals to open the third stretched their lead even further. But then the Redwoods mounted their first multi-goal comeback attempt, something they succeeded at in their first two games, using a Matt Kavanagh goal that formulated from a Pannell dodge at X. They pulled within one goal when Garrett Epple intercepted a pass that Mark Cockerton telegraphed, raced up in transition and used a face dodge to create an opening for a bouncing shot that beat Concannon.

Carraway’s two-point goal with 2:30 left in the quarter, though, stabilized the Atlas. Logan’s goal in fourth quarter — and Law’s and Cockerton’s — took that stabilization, and the foundation Concannon gave them from the net, and inched the Atlas closer to their first win of the season. It all came to fruition when Concannon made one final save on a high, uncontested shot from Pannell, snagged one final rebound and initiated one final clear, setting them up for a final timeout that ticked the last 20 seconds away.

“It was pretty much just going 1-0 with everything you did, every ground ball, every shot, every possession,” Carraway said. “Everything we were doing, just go 1-0.”

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