Kieran McArdle sets three Championship Series scoring records in debut

By Wyatt Miller | Feb 15, 2024

Kieran McArdle shattered just about every single-game Champ Series scoring record in the Philadelphia Waterdogs’ sixes debut. 

Before the tournament, McArdle said he’d pull up from 13 yards “if I get my hands free.” But that doesn’t do his range justice. Among Champ Series players, McArdle ranks sixth in 13-yard goals since 2019 with eight. And to start the second quarter, he found twine twice in the span of a minute-and-a-half, accounting for two-thirds of the Waterdogs 2-point goals. 

On the first possession, McArdle went to work out of the box, sweeping to his left to find a step-down lane and slot his shot into the bottom left corner. The placement was pristine. On the next one, also from the top, the veteran used a screen from Ryan Conrad to get a sliver of space, and then fired just inside the right post for his fourth scoring point (and second 2-pointer) in 85 seconds.

12 points. Nine scoring points. Seven goals. Those are all single-game Champ Series records. McArdle did it on just 27 touches while shooting 58% from the field, resulting in a 21-18 win over the Archers that the Waterdogs never trailed in. His elite IQ, honed by the box game, was on full display in the Dogs’ Champ Series debut. 

McArdle said his sixes style was “very similar” to what he does on the field, as Copelan stuck to his word and put forth a familiar, fast-paced, screen-heavy offense that played to the vet’s strengths.

In the first half, McArdle scored eight points on 12 touches, which is .67 points per touch. He finished the game scoring .44 points per touch, which leads the tournament after day one. McArdle’s brain is what makes him so infallible in this format. He and Michael Sowers connected on two easy goals in the late stages of the game just by playing off each other’s movements. They didn’t even need the short-stick advantage.

In the fourth quarter, as the Dogs tried to shut the door and enact their revenge on the defending champs, their dynamic duo carried the load. With Sowers threatening up top, McArdle’s backdoor cut went unnoticed, and he faked out Nick Washuta on the doorstep before finishing the dunk.

Minutes later Sowers split left, taking both defenders, which left McArdle in a field of green on the right wing. Another low-to-high banger off the crossbar made it 21-17 late and put the dagger into the Archers. I guess that’s why you don’t bring medieval weapons (or a slow offense) to the modern sword fight that is sixes lacrosse.

When asked about his approach to containing Sowers and McArdle with short sticks, Archers head coach Chris Bates laughed, saying, “obviously, (it was) not a good one.”