‘Every single play matters’: Carlson’s goals and groundballs lead Whipsnakes over Waterdogs

By Joe Keegan

PLL Analyst

Jun 12, 2022

The Whipsnakes didn’t lead in Week 1 until 5:28 remaining in the third quarter. They didn’t lead last night against the Waterdogs until 1:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.

But they led each game when it mattered most.

“A win is a win,” said Whipsnakes LC attackman Matt Rambo (1G, 3A). “In this league, it’s tough to get wins.”

Close victories are an accumulation of hustle plays. Connor Kirst (1G) fighting through contact to set picks for Rambo. Joe Nardella (22-for-26, 85%) fighting for every win against Jake Withers and Zach Currier at the stripe. Kyle Bernlohr (12 saves, 2 run outs) diving toward the endline to steal a possession. And Jay Carlson (5G, 1A, 2GB) grabbing rebounds on the offensive end.

“Every single play matters,” said Carlson. “Every groundball. Every little play. Every cut. Every shot just means a lot.”

Carlson’s putback in the fourth quarter gave the Whipsnakes their first lead, 11-10. He has an uncanny knack for finding rebounds and finishing before the defense collapses.

“Guys really rip it so it’s hard for goalies to have a clean save,” said Carlson. “And I’m always the garbage man trying to pick up those loose balls or pick up those extra possessions. A goal is a goal and I’m going to do whatever it takes to put the ball in the back of the net.”

The Whipsnakes had a huge advantage at the stripe after Withers left due to injury in the first quarter. Currier scrapped back some losses, but Nardella’s ability to turn wins into offense drove a huge fourth quarter comeback.

The Waterdogs’ early lead was powered by Michael Sowers (1G, 4A) operating pick-n-rolls at X. Sowers looked more comfortable quarterbacking the offense, swinging the ball from the strong side to the weak side to set up goals for Ryan Brown (1G) and Jack Hannah (3G).

With the game on the line down 11-10 in the fourth quarter, the Waterdogs put the ball in Sowers’ stick – and he found Connor Kelly (2G) to extend the game into overtime.

Despite the differential at the stripe, the Waterdogs had multiple chances to end the game in overtime. They couldn’t beat Bernlohr – and it was Brad Smith (2G, 1A back in a midfield role) who eventually buried the game-winning goal for the Whipsnakes.

The Waterdogs (0-2) face off against Chrome LC (2-0) on Friday at 6:00PM ET on Long Island. The Whipsnakes (2-0) will take on Atlas LC (2-0) on Friday at 8:45PM ET with first place potentially on the line.

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