Next Up: 5 players who could crack the 2022 Players Top 50
By Austin Owens | Dec 23, 2021
The PLL Player’s Top 50 was wrapped up last week, with Blaze Riorden continuing his scorching hot 2021 by nabbing the first spot on the list.
The 2021 edition was the most competitive yet, following the merger with MLL and an influx of talent led by Lyle Thompson (voted #3 by the players), and a highly anticipated rookie class including MVP candidate Jeff Teat (voted #6 by the players).
With the current list cemented, why not take our first way-too-early look ahead to 2022, namely, the 2022 Player’s Top 50.
There were a number of individuals who showed flashes on the PLL scene this past summer, and we’ll highlight just a few of the names you could be seeing in the Top 50 once next season is wrapped.
Jake Carraway, A, Atlas
Lost somewhat in the hype that was Jeff Teat’s rookie campaign was the performances of fellow first-year star Jake Carraway.
The 10th overall selection in the 2021 College Draft was a threat no matter where he was on the field. Coming from off the wing, he was able to use his athleticism to free up his hands for shots, and from up top, he found that same success, making good on the stepdown opportunities he created off of cuts and dodges.
Carraway finished the year fourth in scoring on the team, finishing the year with 14 goals, a pair of 2-pointers, and three assists.
Paired on attack with two adept playmakers in Teat and Eric Law, this trio looks poised to take the league by storm in 2022 and beyond. The re-tool by Ben Rubeor saw Atlas become one of the best teams in the league this summer, and the youth infusion is a large reason for that.
Chase Fraser, A, Chaos
When Andy Towers and his staff were constructing their roster ahead of the 2021 season, the Chaos head coach leaned on the advice of Josh Byrne and Dhane Smith to decide on who would be best to rock the red and black.
Chaos’ first addition of the 2021 off-season was attackman Chase Fraser, who was relatively unknown to field fans at the time. The Vancouver, BC native had been tearing up the box ranks since turning pro, but Fraser hadn’t played field lacrosse since his college days at Division III Neumann. So it had been a few years since he had given field a go. Although you wouldn’t be able to tell that from his play with Chaos this past summer.
Fraser got into his first PLL game in Week 4 against the Cannons, potting a goal and adding a helper in the victory. He had five points through his first three games before going for eight combined points in the team’s final two games of the regular season.
The 26-year-old was crucial in Chaos’ run to the title, as he had four points combined in the team’s quarterfinal and semi-final games against the Archers and Atlas, respectively. Arguably his finest performance of the year came when it mattered most. Fraser had four goals in the PLL Championship game against the Whipsnakes.
Heading into 2022, Fraser’s position on this roster is cemented. He already has built-in chemistry with the likes of Byrne, Smith, Chris Cloutier, and Ian MacKay from playing with them year-round. Depending on how the off-season shakes out, Chaos could look to run him out of the box or scheme him to get open off the twins and trips sets they ran this past season.
Ryan Terefenko, SSDM, Chrome
One of the trademark moments in 2021 happened before the opening weekend of the PLL season even took place. With Chrome on the clock in the 2021 College Draft, teams had passed up on standout short-stick defensive midfielder Ryan Terefenko, leaving him to be selected at 12th overall.
Chrome head coach Tim Soudan couldn’t contain himself when on camera making the selection, as he was chuckling to himself while making the pick. He knew what a steal he had at that point in the draft, and Chrome got a Swiss-Army Knife on the field.
Terefenko admitted that it took him a few games to get used to the speed and style of the PLL game. But once he got comfortable, he was a menace on the defensive side of the ball. By the end of the regular season, Tim Soudan was comfortable putting the Ohio State product up against any player on an island. He was a monster in one-on-one situations and stood out for all the right reasons in his own end.
Terefenko had six caused turnovers and 24 ground balls along with seven points on the year. Across his final three games of the season, he was a vacuum, nabbing 15 ground balls in three games.
Terry was a finalist for the George Boiardi Hard Hat Award, which was won by Atlas’ Danny Logan. Despite that, he and Will Haus provide the Chrome with a great duo to combat opposing midfield units. Terefenko has the ability to lock players down, he can hurt you in transition, and he can even take draws to alleviate some pressure from Connor Farrell. The sky is truly the limit for the Sinking Springs, PA native in year two.
Latrell Harris, SSDM, Archers
Another individual who made a name for himself in the PLL this summer, Harris was one of the first player pool pickups following the 2021 Entry Draft.
The 23-year-old proved his versatility with Team Canada at the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships as a 20-year-old. With the ability to play long pole, close defence, or short stick, the 6-foot, 215-pounder fit what Chris Bates was looking for last off-season.
Harris’ athleticism and hard-nosed defensive ability was a perfect fit for the Archers, and he stood out from the first game onward. He was able to notch his first career goal in his PLL debut, giving fans the now famous snippet, “This team is so f****** sick,” once he got back to the sidelines.
Learning under veterans Dominique Alexander and Mark McNeill, who he refers to as ‘uncles’. Harris finished the year with six caused turnovers and 11 ground balls while chipping in five points for the summer. What separated Harris from many other SSDMs in the PLL this past summer was his ability to pick spots and jump into the transition game, providing an extra factor for the defense to think about.
“The two things that stand out about the way he plays and the way he carries himself are that he’s an incredibly smart player and he’s an incredibly humble player,” Archers defender Matt McMahon said of Harris this summer. “The first thing that stood out was that he had great instincts but he was also a high-IQ player. When you combine that with the reps he’s had playing box for such a long time, you have a player that’s in the right place at the right time a lot of the game.”
The St. Catharines, Ontario native was a finalist for the George Boiardi Hard Hat Award. He came from out of nowhere and quickly cemented himself as one of the best up-and-coming talents in the league by the end of the season. The Treezy Train is going to keep chugging along come 2022.
Nick Marrocco, G, Cannons
If not for the second-half heroics in the cage from Dillon Ward, we would’ve likely seen Marrocco as one of the finalists for the Oren Lyons Goalie of the Year award.
Sean Quirk was able to land his guy in the 2021 Entry Draft, giving the Cannons a surefire starting goalie in the PLL to build around. And the 2020 MLL champion came just as advertised in the cage.
Marrocco finished the year second league-wide in saves, behind only Jim Brown MVP and Oren Lyons Goalie of the Year winner Blaze Riorden, with 137 on the year. The Cannons finished last in the league in face-off percentage, meaning that Marrocco was seeing an increased number of offensive chances, which makes his performance even more impressive.
Appearing in all nine of the Cannons’ regular-season contests, Marrocco had double-digit saves in all but one game and had 15-plus saves in six of those outings.
He also produced one of the saves of the season against the Archers, denying Marcus Holman point blank on the crease in the dying seconds to seal a victory for his team.
With the all-around talent in the league that made the Top 50, it was going to be hard for a number of players. If Marrocco has another season like he did in 2021, it’ll be hard to deny him a spot next summer.