By Quinn Magner | Jul 2, 2021
Where to Watch
- Sunday, July 4
- 12:30 p.m. ET
- Live on NBCSN & Peacock
Head coach Jim Stagnitta will lead his 3-1 Whipsnakes into battle with Chris Bates’ 3-0 Archers this Sunday, July 4 for what most would agree is the most hyped showdown of the 2021 PLL season. After this past Sunday’s eye-opening 16-6 loss to Chrome, the defending champs are going to be chomping at the bit and ready to unleash on Archers’ high-octane offense.
Captain America (Tom Schreiber) vs. Michael Ehrhardt
Independence Day holds a marquee match-up between two of the league’s best players in their respective roles: Archers captain and midfielder Tom Schreiber and Whipsnakes captain and LSM Michael Ehrhardt. These two veteran stand-outs make the tempo-shifting plays between the lines for their teams, and it’s only fitting that “Captain America,” who leads Archers midfield unit with 5 goals on the season so far, will have to literally get through the 6’5 Ehrhardt on July 4.
Ehrhardt, on the other hand, has the uncanny ability to force the turnover, get the quick groundball and push the fastbreak for Stagnitta’s Whipsnakes. The former Maryland LSM has two 2-point goals on the season so far, and Schreiber will have to use his sheer speed to evade Ehrhardt’s on-field presence.
When the ball is in #26’s stick on Sunday, lean in, move closer to the screen, and watch the action from the midfield line between these two leaders.
Archers’ Depth at Offense
The expression is “Defense wins championships.” History has proven this with most team sports. The same will be true for Sunday’s Whipsnakes/Archers showdown. For Coach Bates' undefeated Archers, it’s been the offensive firework display of attackmen Will Manny, Marcus Holman, Grant Ament and Connor Fields who have been carrying a lot of weight. Through three games, just Ament and Manny alone combine for 27 points. With Schreiber, Christian Mazzone and Ryan Ambler sparking Archers midfield, the depth down at attack is arguably the most threatening in the league this 2021 season. Bryce Young, Tim Muller, Colin Squires and Matt Dunn who combine for 8 caused turnovers on the 2021 season so far will have their hands full with the Archers layered offense.
Ghitelman vs. Bernlohr
Archers veteran keeper Adam Ghitelman struts into this game with the best save percentage in the league at 76 percent while tallying 34 saves so far with just 13 that have slipped past him. Last weekend against Waterdogs, he redefined “athletic goalie” after his 2-point endline-to-endline goal as well as his assist to LSM and captain Scott Ratliff jumpstarted from a loose ball pick-up in front of his own goal mouth. The former national champion hailing from the University of Virginia should feel confident as he warms up against Whipsnakes’ offense in Long Island this Sunday. Zed Williams was absent versus Chrome, and Ghitelman will have to match sticks with the 2020 Championship Series tournament MVP on Sunday.
Kyle Bernlohr, the former Maryland 1st Team All-American, comes into this titular match-up with a 55 percent save percentage and 55 total saves on the season so far. If the swift lefty keeper can get inside the heads of sharpshooters like Holman, Ament and Manny early on, he’ll be more likely to have a game similar to his 21-save Week 2 performance against Cannons. Bernlohr makes the saves every head coach needs their goalie to make, but he always tends to come up huge with a handful of doorstop saves with his good positioning and quick hands.
A hot goaltender in this game can very much decide the outcome of this Independence Day showdown between the best and second best teams playing the game right now.
Tune in, crank the volume, and buckle up for a lacrosse match-up you do not want to miss this Sunday, July 4 at 12:30 PM ET on NBCSN and Peacock. Shuart Stadium will be home to an unprecedented level of talent on America’s day, and Whipsnakes/Archers will not disappoint.