Fields finishes OT winner to push Archers past Whipsnakes, 15-14
By Quinn Magner | Aug 18, 2021
Albany was rocking this past Sunday, August 15, when head coach Chris Bates’ 5-4 Archers avenged their July 4 weekend loss to Whipsnakes by topping head coach Stagnitta’s crew 15-14 in an overtime thriller right before diving head-first into playoffs.
Archers had Whipsnakes’ number for the entirety of the game until the 4:28 mark of the third quarter when Whipsnakes’ defense locked down and held the PLL’s leader in points, Grant Ament, and Archers’ offense scoreless through almost the entire fourth quarter. During that time frame, Whipsnakes and 2019 MVP, attackman Matt Rambo, went on an unanswered 6-0 run to put the Whips up 14-13 for their first lead of the game at the, coincidentally, 4:28 mark of the fourth quarter.
“We feel good,” said Coach Bates about Archers’ regular season revenge win. “We had a tough win on Friday. This felt like it had playoff intensity, although there wasn’t a ton on the line. I think we just wanted to play well and get a little momentum.”
Enter Drew Adams
Former Penn State standout Drew Adams has mostly served as a back-up to Adam Ghitelman, who currently holds the league’s save percentage with 62 percent on the season.
This time around, Coach Bates wanted to give Ghitelman a breather heading into their first playoff game against Chaos and give Adams the reigns. He came up huge with 18 enormous saves that really drove the pace of Archers’ lead throughout the entirety of the game until that first go-ahead goal by Whipsnakes’ Zed Williams at the fourth quarter’s 4:28 mark.
The sight of seeing another stud of a lacrosse goalie between the pipes is refreshing as it is to see any back-up get their time to shine on the professional level. Adams absolutely proved that Archers have a capable athlete to look to in the event of Ghitelman being out of commission. Nonetheless, Archers’ depth at goaltender is deep.
Archers Run & Gun
Connor Fields was welcomed back to his alma mater of the University Albany with some aggressive checks from from Whipsnakes’ close defense that was averaging 12.6 goals against per game going into Sunday. Fields ran away with 3 goals and 1 assist including the OT game-winner, dunking on Whipsnakes Kyle Bernlohr, and he was supported by the usual suspects of Ament, Marcus Holman and Will Manny.
“I was planning on going underneath, and Will Manny did a great job clearing through and occupying the defense, and I got lucky, got a step and it worked out,” Fields said when describing how he managed to tuck away the game-winner for Archers. “And just doing it here too - obviously, I’ve had so many memories here,” referring to the University of Albany. “This one is definitely one of the top ones too. It means a lot, and it’s just great to have been in front of all these fans again.”
Captain and speedy midfielder Tom Schreiber quarterbacked the offensive onslaught throughout the bout and came away with just 1 goal and 2 assists on 6 shots against Bernlohr in cage. Whipsnakes 6-0 run to tie up and then take the lead with a little four minutes to spare in the fourth was finally halted when Schreiber ran downhill at Whipsnakes d-middie Charlie Hayes. Schreiber swiftly rolled back to his right on Hayes with his eyes up the entire time and ripped a no-look pass to a cutting Manny who pinged a high bouncer past Adams on the doorstep to tie Whipsnakes 14-14 with 2:40 left in the game. Bates’ offense’s ability to sling the ball around the perimeter with confidence while knowing every person is capable of scoring when the ball hits the stick is uncanny.
“You know, at the end of the day, we’ve stayed consistent, this group has high goals, and now it’s win or go home,” Coach Bates said. “You know, it’s business time, but I think this group is just excited to get the opportunity to stay together and hopefully continue to advance.”
Poised for Playoffs
In regards to Whipsnakes and their near storybook comeback on Sunday, led by the household names of Williams and Rambo, the now #5 reigning champions will square off against the #4 Redwoods this Saturday, August 21 at 6 PM ET. Archers come in at #3 facing off against Chaos who’s ranked #6 Friday at 8:30 PM ET. Both playoff showdowns will unfold in Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT, which is home to the MLS’ Real Salt Lake.
“It’s always a battle playing with them,” Rambo said regarding the upcoming Redwoods game.