Patriotism and the Premier Lacrosse League have gone hand-in-hand all season long. In addition to holding events like Military Appreciation Day, the PLL will treat lacrosse fans in Washington, D.C. to three exciting contests this Independence Day weekend at Audi Field.
The action kicked off Saturday evening at 5 p.m. Eastern time, with the Archers facing off against the red-hot Redwoods, who would unfortunately be without their key faceoff man Greg Gurenlian due to a nagging hamstring injury.
While the deficiency at “the X” would lead to dominance by the Archers (who at one point captured eight draws in a row), a staunch Redwoods defense would keep the game close. Kevin Rice opened scoring for the Archers with his third goal of the season, but he was answered by Brent Adams and the Redwoods three minutes later. In a half that featured a frenetic pace and up-and-down the field play that resulted in four ties and two lead changes, the teams headed to the locker rooms with four goals each.
The pace continued into the second half, with the Redwoods opening up an 8-5 lead on three straight rallies, while the defense continued to buckle down and hold the Archers to a single goal in the third.
In keeping with what we have come to expect in PLL contests, both teams would trade goals through an equally frenetic fourth period, which would end tied at eight points each and force a familiar sudden-victory overtime period. In perhaps the most entertaining of the many “bonus lacrosse” offerings of this inaugural season, fans were treated to more than six game minutes of back and forth action including heart-stopping shots and miraculous goalie saves. But today it was Jules Heningburg’s turn to be the hero, burying a one-timer at the 5:21 mark to send the Archers to their fourth straight loss.
The second game of the evening featured a contest between the 4-1 Whipsnakes and the 2-3 Atlas, but on-the-field action would have to wait nearly an hour, as nearby lightning strikes delayed the opening faceoff. Once action began, there was plenty to go around. The Whipsnakes went on a five-goal run to take an 8-5 halftime lead.
In addition to getting off to a late start, another lightning delay paused the game at the 4:45 mark in the third quarter, with action resuming around 10:30 p.m. Eastern time. This second delay visibly cooled down a frustrated Atlas team just as they were beginning to heat up the scoreboard.
Despite a four-to-one goal run by the Atlas, the Whipsnakes took a 9-7 lead into the start of the fourth quarter and held off their opponents to earn a 5-1 on the year with an 11-9 final score.
With Sunday came sunny skies and an offensive explosion as the winless Chrome squared off against the red-hot Chaos, winners of four games in a row. Coach Andy Towers would play his Brown University mentor for the second week in a row (he and coach Starsia had marked success in the collegiate game as All-American midfielder and head coach respectively).
Although the two teams battled to an overtime that saw the Chaos emerge victorious a week ago, today’s game would play out much differently. Aided by an explosive transition game, Chrome attackman Jordan Wolf had a breakout game, dazzling the crowd with explosive dodges and crease-crashing goals that earned him a hat trick early in the game. On the other side of the ball, coach Starsia’s stingy defense stifled any comeback hopes. Despite a hat trick and some highlight reel goals by Connor Fields and his fellow Chaos players, it would be the Chrome’s day to shine — and shine brightly.
Aside from earning their first win of the season, coach Starsia’s squad set a PLL record for most points in a game (19) while defeating the Chaos 19-11.
The PLL heads into a break and will be back in action in two weeks as the league travels to Los Angeles for the All-Star game and skills competition. The action can be viewed commercial-free on PLL Pass via their NBC Sports Gold subscription.
(All photos courtesy of NBC.)