From Fourth Round To Fan Favorite

While it’s not uncommon for rookies to make significant impacts on their teams, Connor Farrell and Tim Troutner are not only making impacts on the field, they’re becoming household names off of it. As the Premier Lacrosse League continues to put players first and shine the spotlight on them both on and off the field, these two rookies are primed for long, successful careers.

After finishing a football season during which he ranked second on the team in total tackles, Connor Farrell looked ahead to what he thought would be his final lacrosse season. While preparing to improve upon a junior year season that landed him sixth in the country in faceoff percentage, Farrell sat down with his faceoff coach, Chaos faceoff specialist Tommy Kelly. Kelly looked at Farrell’s 6’2”, nearly 240-pound frame and told him, “If you work hard and dominate this season, you have a good shot at making it to the next level.”

After a record-setting season in which Farrell shattered the all-time Division II faceoff win percentage in a single season by nearly five percentage points, his name started to rise as a potential draft pick in the inaugural PLL draft. As the fourth and final round wound down, Chrome Head Coach Dom Starsia, a football and lacrosse player himself during his time at Brown University, took a chance on the two-sport athlete out of LIU Post, much to Farrell’s surprise.

“To be honest I was completely shocked because I saw all the big D1 schools getting drafted before me and didn’t think anyone would risk a pick on a Division II player.”

Fast-forward to Week 1 and Farrell had already started to become a household name. After becoming a star on the PLL’s vlog, Farrell showed that there is more to him than just luscious locks and a big smile. While winning nearly 65 percent of his faceoffs and scooping up nine ground balls, Farrell also delivered one of the biggest hits of the season when he laid his shoulder into Archers defender Jackson Place.

This season, Farrell has continued to have success, winning 55 percent of his draws, the third-best mark in the league, and picking up 43 loose balls, the fifth most in the league. However, Farrell’s success hasn’t come easily. When asked about the biggest difference between college and professionals, he said,

“I wish I would’ve known how fast these LSMs were going to be.”

 Farrell, smiling from ear to ear, continued,

“I definitely know now.”

Farrell’s success has led him to consider lacrosse as a career long-term. As he trains youth faceoff athletes during the week while rehabbing and training for the upcoming game, Farrell can envision himself using the platform the PLL has provided him with to pursue a life as a full time lacrosse player.

While Farrell’s emergence from Division II lacrosse into a star in the league was a little more unpredictable, fans of Division I college lacrosse saw goalie Tim Troutner burst onto the scene earlier this year. In Troutner’s final season at High Point University, the goalie was overcoming consecutive losing seasons as the Panthers struggled against the upper echelon of Division I college lacrosse. However, his senior year’s script would be written much differently, as Troutner led the Panthers to wins over Duke and Virginia on their way to a 13-3 record, the best in school history. Although Troutner’s senior season didn’t end the way he had wished, as High Point fell short in the Southern Conference championship game against Richmond, Troutner’s play had drawn the attention of PLL coaches

As Head Coach Nat St. Laurent looked at his roster and saw Team USA starting goaltender Jack Kelly, he was elated. While Kelly continued to rehab a knee injury sustained in the World Games last summer in Netanya, Israel, St. Laurent knew he needed depth at the goalie position. In the fourth round of the inaugural PLL draft, Troutner’s name was called.

While battling with Bryant graduate Gunnar Waldt throughout Training Camp, Troutner earned the Week 1 starting role against an Atlas team loaded with shooters. Troutner answered the bell by racking up 17 saves and led a defense that held Atlas to single digits.

Troutner continued to turn heads as he posted save percentages over 50 percent in every game, except for their Week 2 loss to Chaos. After being voted to the All-Star Game and earning a spot at the skills competition, Troutner went on to win the goalie competition.

Behind Whipsnakes’ Kyle Bernlohr and Chaos’ Blaze Riorden, Troutner’s 54 percent save percentage is good for third in the league. Troutner has quickly built chemistry with his Redwoods teammates and fits right in with the Notre Dame quick sliding system with which his defenders are comfortable. He is expected to make low angle saves and use his 6’1”, 195 pountd frame to not allow shooters to see much of the net.

As Redwoods make their final push for the playoffs, they will lean heavily upon the rookie goaltender. Surrounded by veteran leadership and the calm, cool, and collected guidance of St. Laurent, Troutner should have no problems meeting, and exceeding, expectations.

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