Whipsnakes put together full 48 minutes in 13-11 win

By Joe Keegan

PLL Analyst

Aug 7, 2022

In their throwback uniforms the Whipsnakes put together a throwback performance -- dominating Archers for a full 48 minutes.

Joe Nardella (1G, 20-for-26 FO, 77%) set the tone at the stripe, continuing to build his case for the Paul Cantabene Faceoff Athlete of the Year Award. Nardella is now facing off at 68% on the year. Archers LC attack Marcus Holman called him the best player in the league in his postgame press conference.

With those offensive possessions that Nardella provided, the Whipsnakes turned to an old but familiar set, moving Matt Rambo (4G) and Zed Williams (2G, 2A) to X.

"We changed up the set this week. We've gone back and forth over the years and within the same seasons," said Whipsnakes LC head coach Jim Stagnitta. "We wanted to get some more long dodges from the midfielders. We feel like with [Wheaton] Jackoboice up there and we were using Keegan [Khan] a little bit today, and Brad [Smith] is so athletic when he has room to run. We didn't necessarily go to that set just for Zed and Matt. We went to that set to open up our long dodges from up top. I thought that we were able to create some opportunities getting them to slide."

The set emphasizes on-ball picks into the rotation of the ball. As Smith dodged in the second quarter, Jay Carlson pointed Smith to swing to Zed -- then proceeded to set a slam pick on GLE for Zed. The ball spun from Zed to Mike Chanenchuk and back to Smith for the finish.

When the ball swung clockwise around the perimeter, those slam picks were set for the left-handed Rambo. All four of Rambo's goals were unassisted. After being challenged by Stagnitta earlier in the week, Rambo attacked his matchup early and often.

"I just think I'm a little bit bigger than Ratliff. And they weren't sliding a lot so it gave me a lot of opportunity to get topside or get underneath. With no slides the field is so small and a lot of things can go," said Rambo.

Defensively, Michael Ehrhardt (1A, 3GB, 3CT) and Tyler Warner (4GB, 2CT) led a lockdown effort in front of Kyle Bernlohr (12 saves, 55 SV%).

With the win, the Whipsnakes clinched a spot in the Championship Series in February 2023.

The Archers have now dropped two in a row. Though they've clinched a spot in September's playoffs via the Cannons LC loss on Friday night, the Archers are now on the outside looking in for February's Championship Series. They have some questions to answer at the faceoff stripe and between the pipes.

Will the Archers start rookie goalie Brett Dobson (St. Bonaventure) down the stretch? He settled in, and after seeing a flurry of shots from close range in the first quarter, Dobson turned aside 60% of shots following the weather delay. Adam Ghitelman (49% on the season) is expected to get the nod against Chaos LC in Utah.

Archers LC will faceoff against Chaos LC on Saturday, August 13th at 3:00PM ET. Whipsnakes LC will have a chance to clinch a first-round bye against Atlas LC on Friday, August 12th at 8PM ET.

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