Waterdogs get scoring in bunches to nab first win of season
By Austin Owens | Jun 12, 2021
Five different goal scorers lifted the Waterdogs to a 14-12 victory over Chaos, securing their first win of the 2021 campaign in the process.
A five-goal second-half run from the Dogs was the difference in the game, as Mikie Schlosser (2G, 1T), Connor Kelly (1G, 1T, 1A), Ryan Brown (3G), and Ben Reeves (3G) led the way offensively.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t really convert in that first game, but I just think sometimes, there’s so many new pieces that it takes a little bit of time to develop chemistry,” Waterdogs head coach Andy Copelan said post game. “A lot of that comes from Mikie...He hit that two early on in the first quarter to tie it up and I think everybody just took a deep breath and built from there.”
Schlosser was able to get the Waterdogs on the board with a 2-pointer to tie it up after rookie Mac O’Keefe hit a 2-bomb of his own.
Four 2-pointers were hit in the first quarter alone -- all eight PLL squads combined for just six in Week 1. But after the Waterdogs took a 6-5 advantage into the second frame, the scoring dried up.
The defenses started to settle down, however, the Waterdogs were able to break through with a pair of goals, but on the other side, Chaos was held scoreless and also didn’t register a shot on goal in the second.
With an 8-5 deficit to come back from out of the half, Chaos got back-to-back goals from Josh Byrne and Kyle Jackson.
Chaos eventually brought the game to within one goal at the tail end of the third, but the Waterdogs went on a five-goal run, which was emphasized with a hat trick from Brown.
“Having guys like Mikie and Ben really make my job a lot easier when they’re just running by guys left and right and putting the ball in my stick,” Brown said. “So having (Mikie) from up top and Ben from behind the net, they really got things going in that second half.”
Chaos would win the final quarter of play, but it wasn’t enough to pull out a victory, as they came up a pair of goals short.
Reeves was coming into this game after not playing in the season opener. Copelan tasked him with taking over as a facilitator from behind the cage with Michael Sowers being placed on the Injured List earlier this week.
He was able to play a massive role in the win by finishing plays and also putting teammates in positions to succeed with his passing.
“We wanted to replace speed with speed, and people sometimes forget about Ben Reeves,” Copelan said. “He’s won a National Championship and a Tewaaraton so he didn’t just forget how to play lacrosse. I’m really genuinely happy and proud of Ben. We made the decision to go with him and he certainly stepped up in multiple ways.”
Eli Gobrecht (3CT, 3GB) led the way defensively while Zach Currier (1G, 2CT, 7 GB) was amazing in the two-way game. Dillon Ward got the win against his former club, making seven saves on the night.
Jake Withers also held a slight edge in the face-off battle, winning 14 of 25 against Max Adler.
“We had a really great time tonight. I think we had an energy that we never really found last week,” Schlosser said. “I think that helps the whole team and the whole defense get a bit of swagger. There are still some things offensively that we can clean up, especially in transition going the other way. That’s going to be a big focus for Sunday, but all in all, we just had a blast.”
As for Chaos, they drop to 0-2 on the year.
They will have to bounce back against the Archers to avoid losing their first three to open the campaign.
“I think we did a much better job of staying disciplined in the second half and generating high-quality shots,” Chaos head coach Andy Towers said. “Wardo played a good game and had some big stops for them. It’s kind of like a four- or five-goal sliding range between these two teams where you could win by three just as easily as you could lose by two.”
A theme for Copelan and the team has been to build from every experience, whether it’s a win or a loss. The performance was night and day from the team’s first game, and they’ll be able to carry that momentum into the second half of their weekend doubleheader against Chrome on Sunday.
If they’re able to pull out the win, they’ll be leaving Atlanta at the top half of the league standings.