Projecting the Redwoods LC Roster for the 2024 Championship Series
By Jerome Taylor | Nov 6, 2023
Redwoods LC may have fallen short of capturing their first Cash App Championship in 2023. Still, they did achieve something they missed out on in the previous season — qualifying for the Championship Series.
That brings on a new but welcomed set of challenges for Redwoods’ Head Coach Nat St. Laurent – narrowing their normal 19-player active PLL roster to 12 players.
In many ways, the 2023 roster evolved to be a glove fit for the Championship Series. Before any midseason moves, St. Laurent had already built a versatile team. That was amplified this year, with players like Sergio Perkovic and Nakeie Montgomery taking on more responsibility as two-way midfielders, with Perkovic predominately playing SSDM most of the year.
Then there’s Brian Tevlin, whose versatility was why he was the ‘Woods’ second draft pick, and he started getting into a groove later in the season. Oh, and let’s not forget last year’s Golden Stick Award winner, Romar Dennis, whom the ‘Woods acquired via trade during the middle of the season.
Let’s look at the projected roster for the Redwoods for the Championship Series broken down into two tiers: Definites and Probables.
Definites: No Question About Joining the 2024 Championship Series Roster
Definites: Romar Dennis, Nakeie Montgomery, Brian Tevlin, Sergio Perkovic, Ryder Garnsey, Jules Henningburg, Jack Kelly or Tim Troutner
Let’s start with the easy picks.
Romar Dennis showed just how deadly his skillset is in the Sixes format last year. The uber-athletic midfielder took full advantage of the 13-yard two-point arc, ripping 15 two-pointers en route to a 34-point tour de force during the tournament. Enough said, one spot down, 11 to go.
What immediately jumps off the screen for anyone watching Sixes for the first time is how much faster the game is. Now throw in Nakeie Montgomery, and those fast-paced games just got a dose of nitrous. This season, Montgomery was a bit of a do-it-all middie, with St. Laurent even calling him ‘old school’ in that regard. Because of his versatility and speed, Montgomery’s probably the player most people are anticipating to see in this format. Pairing Montgomery and Dennis in Sixes might be the closest thing we get to seeing Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner on the lacrosse field.
Brian Tevlin’s and Sergio Perkovic’s proven flexibility make them invaluable assets for the upcoming tournament. While Jules Heningburg offers a different type of versatility as an attackman turned midfielder, his ability to create for himself and others should also get him a call.
The only uncertainty in the Definites tier is Ryder Garnsey. As a volunteer assistant coach at Notre Dame, Garnsey does have a prior obligation, and that would be the only reason for the league's most creative goal scorer not participating in the fastest version of the fastest game on two feet.
As for the goalies, with a limited amount positions, St. Laurent and Co. will likely either dress Jack Kelly or Tim Troutner. In training camp, there was a question about who would handle the starting goalie duties. Kelly locked that spot up and carried the load in between the pipes throughout the year, which would make him the choice. On the other hand, the staff might want to get a look at Troutner due to his limited time during the 2023 campaign.
Probables: Likely Joining the 2024 Championship Series Roster
Probables: Rob Pannell, Garrett Epple, Arden Cohen, Chris Merle, Kevin Rogers or Anthony DeMaio
Throughout the year, Rob Pannell was open in acknowledging the questions around whether the 2023 season would be his last. However, he was understandably tight-lipped with the answer. That’s the only reason he’s in this tier. After 11 professional seasons, if Pannell opted to sit out the Championship Series, whether to mull over what he will do next year or just to continue to rest his body, it would make sense. On the other hand, if Pannell decides to suit up for Sixes, the Redwoods’ offense just got a lot more potent.
Garrett Epple, Arden Cohen and Chris Merle would represent the defensive-leaning players on the roster. Despite there being no poles in the Championship Series, Cohen and Epple’s knowledge of angles and leverage will help force tough shots in an environment where there’s no backup for missed opportunities.
Kevin Rogers or Anthony DeMaio would round out the roster, and there’s a good chance it’s Rogers. Like Dennis, Rogers brings experience to the Championship Series as he was a part of the Chrome group that won the inaugural tournament. Rogers gives the Redwoods another ambidextrous dodger, which is crucial in the Olympic format.
The ‘Woods’ combination of versatile midfielder and top-tier specialist players makes them one of the favorites in February.
Final Roster Projections
- Romar Dennis
- Nakeie Montgomery
- Jules Henningburg
- Brian Tevlin
- Sergio Perkovic
- Ryder Garnsey
- Rob Pannell
- Arden Cohen
- Garrett Epple
- Chris Merle
- Jack Kelly
- Kevin Rogers